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Twenty years ago today, Howard Shore took to the podium in front of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at Wellington Town Hall for the first Fellowship of the Ring recording session. 

Sorry to interrupt that discussion but I just can't stop marvelling at the way the Minas Tirith theme is played (after equally lovely attacca transition from Caras Galadhon/Lament for Gandalf) by solo

I think composers are rarely as involved as Shore was on all six films. 

50 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

I'd love updated expansions as much as the next LotR fan, but I just can't see it happening. If the CRs were only revisited last year with no musical content change, I don't see the appetite from Shore nor anyone else involved, in making even more music available.

 

I dunno, I could see one of the specialty labels having a go at them one day. They know there's a huge audience of Tolkien fanatics who would eat up huge box sets for each film. Just need to wait for the current rights to expire, I guess?

 

Though from what Adams says, it does appear the rights situation is quite complex on these scores (probably due to all the various mergers).

 

I'm a little surprised the smaller labels haven't come in and tried licensing the Hobbit scores in limited quantities yet (so far as we're aware), so it must be way more complex than your average score.

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I reckon that the majority of people just think enough has been released, and that the smaller labels don't have an interest in it. And to be fair, with LotR it's not an Indy situation where we have actual score cues missing.

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54 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

I reckon that the majority of people just think enough has been released, and that the smaller labels don't have an interest in it. And to be fair, with LotR it's not an Indy situation where we have actual score cues missing.

Well, there was a an unused "cue" not in the film or on CR, for Aragorn and Legolas right before The Palantir IIRC.

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On 1/1/2021 at 3:45 PM, Spider-Fal said:

Well, there was a an unused "cue" not in the film or on CR, for Aragorn and Legolas right before The Palantir IIRC.

This was recorded, but it's also very short. It sounds somewhat incongruous next to Eowyn's Dream (which wasn't in the theatrical cut as scored).

 

Incidentally, this sequence was originally intercut with the first Sam and Frodo scenes. There are a few transitional moments recorded for that cut that couldn't easily be incorporated on the CR.

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I’ve recently been making my personal edits of these scores with the OSTs as the foundation while adding in bits of the CRs here and there where appropriate.

 

The OST for ROtK of course was pretty hard to create a chronological presentation of. And I actually liked some of the suites that Shore created instead. So it’s still not completely chronological. But this includes some of the big highlights (for me) that the CRs had that were absent from the OST. It would make a nice 2CD version of the score at 90 mins. 

 

A Storm Is Coming (OST)

The Road to Isengard ( CR)

Hope and Memory (OST)

Twilight and shadow (OST *edit with snippet of “Minis Tirith” and “White Tree” from OST at the end)

Cirith Ungol (OST never could quite tell where this one went. But it fit nicely here)

Minis Tirith (OST *edited)

The White Tree (OST* edited)

The Ride of the Rohirim  (OST)

Minas Morgul (OST)

Steward of Gondor (OST)

Andúril (OST)

Ash and Smoke (OST* edited into chronological order and inserted applicable section from “Fields of the Pelenor” (OST))

Shelob’s Lair (OST)

A Far Green Country (CR)

The Battle of the Pelenor Fields (CR)

A Shield Maiden of Rohan (CR)

The Passing of Theodon (CR)

Hope Fails (OST)

The Black Gate Opens (OST)

The End of All Things ( Starts with the first 45 seconds of “For Frodo” (CR) and then the rest is from the OST track. Ends with the last 2:23 from “Sammath Naur “ from the Rarities Archive)

The Return of the King (OST)

The Grey Havens (OST)

Elanor (CR)

Into the West (OST)

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What were the first cues they recorded? Did any Day 1 material end up being the final take that we could listen to on the CR to celebrate?

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6 minutes ago, Jim Ware said:

Balin's Tomb (m91) was the first piece recorded. On the CR, it can be heard from 1:13-3:01 in the track of the same name. 

 

Do we by any chance have the orchestra's first reading of the piece on the album, or is it some later take?

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1 hour ago, Jim Ware said:

Also recorded on this day - Gollum (m88) and Orc Attack (m93, appears immediately after Balin's Tomb in the CR track of the same name). 

And now I remembered a table in Doug's book - page 362, it says they also recorded 2 takes of Mithril Vest on the 17th, but then 7 more on the 18th so presumably those 2 aren't released. What a way to finish the first day after 9PM! Spirits must've been high.

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This is what I have in my old notes for the start of the second half of the film

 

47A Gilraen's Memorial     TCR II-9 "Gilraen's Memorial" (0:00-1:08) 1:08
48 Bilbo's Gifts TCR II-9 "Gilraen's Memorial" (1:08-2:03) + OST 11 (0:18-0:46) 1:22 TCR II-9 "Gilraen's Memorial" (1:08-2:40) 1:32
48A The Departure of the Fellowship     TCR II-9 "Gilraen's Memorial" (2:40-3:46) 1:06
49 The Ring Goes South OST 11 "The Ring Goes South" (0:46-end) 1:13 TCR II-9 "Gilraen's Memorial" (3:46-end) 1:15
50 Hobbit Duel TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (0:00-0:12) 0:14 TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (0:00-0:21) 0:21
51 Crebain Spies TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (0:21-1:20) 0:58    
52 To Caradhras TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (1:20-1:50) 0:30    
53 A Strange Fate TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (1:50-2:23) 0:33    
54 Into the Caverns TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (2:23-3:07) 0:44    
55 The Pass of Caradhras TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (3:07-4:18) 1:11    
56 The Ring-Bearer TCR II-10 "The Pass of Caradhras" (4:18-end) 0:46    
57 The Walls of Moria Unreleased 0:33 TCR II-11 "The Doors of Durin" (0:00-1:35) 1:35
58 The Doors of Durin Unreleased 0:56 TCR II-11 "The Doors of Durin" (1:35-3:09) 1:34
59 Speak Friend and Enter TCR II-11 "The Doors of Durin" (3:09-3:49) 0:40    
60 Into The Mines TCR II-11 "The Doors of Durin" (3:49-4:20) 0:31    
61 The Watcher TCR II-11 "The Doors of Durin" (4:20-end) 1:43    
62 A Journey In The Dark OST 12 "A Journey In The Dark" (0:00-1:17) 1:17 TCR II-12 "Moria" 2:27
63 Gollum TCR II-13 "Gollum (0:00-0:13) + (0:32-1:18) 0:59 TCR II-13 "Gollum" (0:00-1:18) 1:18
64 Fate Of Many TCR II-13 "Gollum" (1:18-end) 1:08    
65 Dwarrowdelf TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (0:00-1:12) 1:12    
66 Balin's Tomb TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (1:12-3:00) 1:48    
67 Orc Attack TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (3:00-4:06) 1:06    
68 The Cave Troll TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (4:06-6:42) 2:36    
69 Mithril! TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (6:42-7:26) 0:44    
70 The Second Hall TCR II-14 "Balin's Tomb" (7:26-end) 1:04    
71 The Bridge of Khazad-Dum TCR III-1 "Khazad-Dum" (0:00-3:33) 3:33    
72 The Balrog TCR III-1 "Khazad-Dum" (3:33-5:20) 1:47    
73 Gandalf's Demise TCR III-1 "Khazad-Dum" (5:20-6:55) 1:35    
74 Elegy For Gandalf TCR III-1 "Khazad-Dum" (6:55-end) 1:05    
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Seeing it all broken down into such small cues is always a bit shocking.

 

The CRs and especially Doug's book alongside them make it all feel like an immutable whole, a complete vision that was almost composed standalone as a musical work and a movie happened to be attached to it, a mostly singular vision with only a couple glimpses at how it changed, on the bonus disc. This all works very well of course for the purposes of the book, which wants to guide you along the in-universe story and point out how Shore tells that story musically, not guide you along the story of how Shore composed and recorded it.

 

The actual recording process must be kind of hell - as the composer, you're presenting your vision that you feel works as a whole chopped to bits, asked to alter one bit at a time, by the time you get to RotK, you're scoring half-blind, ending cues in a way that you can pick them up in a month when you can finally see and score the cut that has that scene finished enough, but even back in those first days, you're recording The Second Hall, the big showstopper Fellowship statement on the second day, you have to know where you are in the journey, how big it can be, will it have been set up enough in straight enough renditions by this point in the final film, are you allowed to play with it since the audience knows it well enough, should you do it more straight since it's for the Cannes presentation and will possibly have to be rerecorded in months after the sequence has been reedited anyway? And as the director, how do you give honest feedback for such a piecemeal approach, do you trust the composer enough that it will all work, do you presume to know better since you're the director and tell him this is a piece of nothing, a transition from nothing to nothing (so far), write something better?

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15 hours ago, Holko said:

And now I remembered a table in Doug's book - page 362, it says they also recorded 2 takes of Mithril Vest on the 17th, but then 7 more on the 18th so presumably those 2 aren't released. What a way to finish the first day after 9PM! Spirits must've been high.

The takes from the 18th are the ones used (38/39/44).

 

13 hours ago, Falco said:

If I am not mistaken, Mithril Vest is 5:21-7:26

Exactly right!

 

16 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Do we by any chance have the orchestra's first reading of the piece on the album, or is it some later take?

 

The film uses takes 9 and 11 of Balin's Tomb. 

 

As an aside, if we include the EE material there are over 1700 recorded takes for Fellowship alone.

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4 hours ago, Jim Ware said:

As an aside, if we include the EE material there are over 1700 recorded takes for Fellowship alone.

 

Just orchestra or also solo instruments/bands, soloists, choir, etecetra?

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13 hours ago, Holko said:

Seeing it all broken down into such small cues is always a bit shocking.

 

The CRs and especially Doug's book alongside them make it all feel like an immutable whole, a complete vision that was almost composed standalone as a musical work  ....not guide you along the story of how Shore composed and recorded it.

 

 

Well, IIRC Shore does compose in those longer form pieces with rests for unscored scenes, but breaks it up for recording purposes (as opposedbto Horner, who just recorded long cues as they were)

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11 hours ago, gkgyver said:

Was probably the last project of this gravity the industry will ever see. 

 

I guess you could consider LotR a "perfect storm" of sorts. Incredibly strong source material, a director and crew dedicated (and permitted!) to incredible detail in bringing the story and, more importantly, world to life, a talented composer with a broad-but-as-of-then-not-yet-unleashed spectrum at his disposal...I can't think of other films where the combination of time, planning, execution, re-considering etc. reached such a perfect mix.

 

One could argue that Don Davis' Matrix trilogy was on a similar level of musical craftsmanship, but it didn't have the luxury of a completed (and/or strong) story to write to. 

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