Jump to content

SOUNDTRACK: The Fellowship Of The Ring - Howard Shore (2001)


Recommended Posts

f5UZlP0.png

 

The Fellowship Of The Ring - Howard Shore (2001)

 

The Original Album Release.

Just like the theatrical cut of the film, I haven't listened to that one since the Complete Recordings have been released, and the score's 15th anniversary today was the perfect opportunity to give that one a spin. I always find it interesting to revisit the OST presentation after a score has been given a complete release/recording sessions leak, as it allows you to focus less on what's missing and more on what's there. And in this particular case, it's been quite a revelation for me.

 

As I said in another thread, when I first listened to the OST, I wasn't won over by it. I only really liked the most "obvious" stuff, so to speak (Concerning Hobbits, The Council Of Elrond, The Breaking Of The Fellowship...). It wasn't until after I watched the film that I started appreciating it more. But even then, I wasn't a huge fan of big sections of it (especially the dark first half of the album), nor of the cues selection. There was so much good stuff missing, like the music for the Long-Expected Party, or the music for the Hobbits and Strider leaving Bree (my most wanted unreleased cue for a long time!), or the music for the battle between Aragorn and Lurtz! Plus, there were some tracks I simply couldn't connect with, like The Prophecy, if only for the stupid reason that it was nowhere to be heard in the film (so I couldn't put pictures on it!). Still, as time went on, I appreciated a bit more, but I was more than glad to toss it away when the Complete Recordings were released, so I never returned to it. Until this day...

 

So, how do I feel about it now, now that I have all the unreleased material I wanted? Well, I love it! It really is an excellent album program! I love how to-the-point it is, meaning Shore cut all the crap to really get directly into the highlights of each musical sequence: "Quick! Put the Arwen & Aragorn Enya song. Quick! Directly go into the big Fellowship theme statement! Quick! Go directly into the Mithril music, then the Hobbit's Understanding statement! Quick! Go directly into the Moria music, then directly into the Gollum's theme statement, then directly into the Dwarrowdelf theme!" it all flows so well! I'd even dare say that from Flight To The Ford up until the last track, you have probably the most perfect OST program one could make, within the limitations of one disc. Now, that being said, I still stand by what I said in a previous post of mine: the first half does suffer from being too focused on the Nazgûl material: you have The Shadow Of The Past, and then the sequence The Black Rider - At The Sign Of The Prancing Pony - A Knife In The Dark - Flight To The Ford, all featuring the Nazgûl theme in very similar-sounding statements, which makes for a very repetitive section on the album, all gloom and doom, while it could have benefited from being a bit more varied and have some lighter moments. But I realized that could easily be fixed: just replace the second half of At The Sign Of The Prancing Pony with the music for the group leaving Bree (basically, take the Strider track from the CR and make it segue directly into the track Out From Bree from the Rarities Archive and end the track right after the Fellowship theme statement, as I did in one of my edits), and replace the first half of A Knife With Dark with the heroic Aragorn music at the beginning of The Caverns Of Isengard, and you're good to go! Maybe I'd also just add another Shire track at the beginning of the album to have more innocent music before going into the darker stuff (but that's really just personal preference here).

 

Apart from these nitpicks, it really is a stellar presentation of the score we got on this album. All the (most?) themes are well-represented and get to shine here (thought it's interesting that what would become the main theme of the trilogy, the History Of The Ring theme, is only featured once on the album!). Listening to the OST also reminded me of a time when this was all the music from the trilogy so far, when we really had no idea what to expect in the following two scores. If I remember correctly, I had no expectations whatsoever regarding the sequel scores. I simply didn't know what to expect, though I was really excited about the prospect of more good stuff coming our way!

 

Another thing I'd like to mention: funnily enough, just like I made a U-turn regarding how I feel about the album program, I also changed my mind a lot regarding the opening and closing tracks on the album. As I mentioned above, I originally didn't like The Prophecy at all, for a stupid reason really, but now, I love it, for the same reason that made me hate it in the first place! The fact that it wasn't used in the film and thus I don't have pictures to associate it to makes the music heard in that track even more special and truly evocative. Absolutely gorgeous music, some of the best Shore has written for the trilogy. And then there's May It Be: originally my favourite of the three end credits song (most likely because it's the most easily-pleasing to the average listener), I've slowly come to realize the problem others have with it. It is definitely the one of the three that feels the most detached from the rest of the score. It's not really jarring, but it doesn't mesh flawlessly with the rest of the score either. And the lyrics are fairly generic, too. I still like it, mind you, but now it's at the bottom of the 3 end credits song ranking.

 

So, quite a change of mind: going from not caring at all about this OST to loving it to bits! If I ever get around making my own edit of the score, I'll probably use that album program as a framework, because it's so well thought-out. The perfect OST? Maybe, maybe not, but it's definitely a strong contender!

 

Score: 9.5/10

OST Presentation: 9/10

 

 

 

Random thing I noticed: as you all know, for the track titles on the OST, Shore used the chapter titles from the book, except for a few select tracks, namely: The Prophecy, The Treason Of Isengard, The Black Rider, Amon Hen and May It Be. While it makes sense for three of them (The Prophecy, The Treason Of Isengard (which still comes from Tolkien, anyway) and May It Be), since there are no corresponding chapter titles, it is a bit odd he didn't use A Shortcut To Mushrooms as a track title instead of The Black Rider. I don't see any reason for that, while I can see one for Amon Hen being used instead of The Departure Of Boromir (the chapter title was not used simply to avoid a spoiler).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 96
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I wish we had a "theatrical cut" complete recordings.   The FOTR soundtrack album is one of my all time favorites. I prefer it a little over the complete recordings because of how well assem

The CR isn't repetitive if you're like me and love every second of the music.

Oops sorry! The excitement clearly gave me a rush of blood to the head!   @Kühni?! Thanks!

I very much agree with you on most points here, especially that the opening half's over-emphasis on the Ringwraiths's theme. And of course I missed the History of the Ring theme after I saw the film. It is perhaps my favourite theme from the whole trilogy and its single use was just too little! I wanted more! 

 

Luckily we got more. But this single disc is a pretty good at distilling the highlights of the first score into 70+ minutes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had a problem with the History of The Ring only showing up once, since it was never one of my favourite themes from the trilogy. My favourites from this score were A Hobbit's Understanding, The Journey There and the Fellowship theme, and they were all well-represented on the album, so I was fine with that (though I really wanted that unreleased Out From Bree cue).

 

Thinking about it, there really doesn't seem to be any theme from the score that was left off the OST. If they were all featured, that's quite an accomplishment, given how thematically rich the score is. So many scores with far less themes still have themes omitted on their OST release...

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been a while since I've played the OST. I largely abandoned it after getting to know the CRs, and have largely had ill feelings towards it. Should check it out again.

 

But "The Prophecy" is definitely one of the most Tolkien pieces of the whole trilogy. He really nailed it with that one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, it fits into the world fine. But I skip it whenever it's on. I prefer Shore's songs, which seem more an inherent part of the musical fabric of these films.

 

The Enya love theme (Aniron) is beautiful though, and Shore's subtle arrangements certainly help. I love that those high strings transitioning into the theme. It's as close as LOTR gets to high romance:

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Shore achieves the high romance quite well in TTT with Evenstar. The EE version, One of the Dúnedain, where the Gondor theme flows into the Rivendell arpeggios that give away to Evenstar is one of my favourite little moments in the score.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2016 at 6:58 PM, KK said:

Yea, it fits into the world fine. But I skip it whenever it's on. I prefer Shore's songs, which seem more an inherent part of the musical fabric of these films.

 

You know, it feels like In Dreams is the "official" FOTR end credits song, while the Enya song is more of a "forced addition", so to speak.

 

To put it differently: it feels like Enya was added to the project to help drive the sales of the OST, and she wasn't necessarily PJ and co's choice for the end credits song. I previously had never thought of that, and it was only after reading the Filmtracks review (where Clemmesen mentions a controversy surrounding Enya's participation to the score) that I paid attention to the way Enya's contribution is presented. I mean, not only is her name shown on the front cover, with the mention "Including 2 new songs from Enya!", but they also added a sticker with a big fat "Enya" logo on it! They didn't do that with the other two end credits song, and I'd argue Annie Lennox is more well-known than Enya (in fact, I had never heard of Enya before FOTR. Didn't even know she was supposed to be famous).

 

Add to that the fact that Shore didn't contribute in any way to the song (unlike with Gollum's Song and Into The West), and it really feels like In Dreams was written as an opportunity for Shore to come up with his own end credits song.

 

61YYrty7T5L.jpg

 

Looking at Into The West, and how nice it is to have the song's melody being included into the score as a theme, I really wish Shore had been given the opportunity to do that with both FOTR and TTT (well, at least, he participated in the creation of Gollum's Song).

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2016 at 1:21 PM, Incanus said:

I think Shore achieves the high romance quite well in TTT with Evenstar. The EE version, One of the Dúnedain, where the Gondor theme flows into the Rivendell arpeggios that give away to Evenstar is one of my favourite little moments in the score.

 

I agree! Just this is one of the first few moments the music goes into that realm imo.

 

Just to make it clear, I much prefer the Evenstar theme. It's one of my favourite tunes. It's alto flute rendering makes it beautifully Delerue-esque, and there could be no greater compliment for a melody!

 

 

On 12/20/2016 at 1:25 PM, BloodBoal said:

You know, it feels like In Dreams is the "official" FOTR end credits song, while the Enya song is more of a "forced addition", so to speak.

 

Indeed. Speaking of which, I forgot how beautiful In Dreams was until I heard it live at the LOTR concert (will post review soon....).

 

And yup, Enya's role in the whole affair is as you say. But once Shore got a mainstream name for himself, it was great to see him involved in the songs. And at least Gollum's Song is a natural evolution of Gollum's thematic material, so it very much feels at home in Shore's musical lexicon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

 

61YYrty7T5L.jpg

 

Looking at Into The West, and how nice it is to have the song's melody being included into the score as a theme, I really wish Shore had been given the opportunity to do that with both FOTR and TTT (well, at least, he participated in the creation of Gollum's Song).

The original version that was sold here (including collectible covers) didn't have any stickers on it. The later version in that picture mentions Enya on the cover. The original one with the four Hobbits on Weathertop with swords in hand doesn't. Only Music Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Howard Shore.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not, like, a sore thumb power ballad or something like that.  I think it sounds very "of a piece" with the Lord of the Rings score, even though Howard Shore didn't write it.

 

I am much more likely to skip over Flaming Red Hair and The Pissing of the Elves

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, mstrox said:

It's not, like, a sore thumb power ballad or something like that.  I think it sounds very "of a piece" with the Lord of the Rings score, even though Howard Shore didn't write it.

 

I am much more likely to skip over Flaming Red Hair and The Pissing of the Elves

 

He he he...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite. Plus Enya has never been a personal favourite. The material for Aragorn and Arwen is great though, very much in tune with the scene just as KK above said.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Incanus said:

Plus Enya has never been a personal favourite. The material for Aragorn and Arwen is great though, very much in tune with the scene just as KK above said.

 

Always find it funny how they brand Aníron as "the love theme for Aragorn and Arwen" when it is never used again in this film or the next ones.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

 

On 12/21/2016 at 3:07 AM, BloodBoal said:

Always find it funny how they brand Aníron as "the love theme for Aragorn and Arwen" when it is never used again in this film or the next ones.

 

Just like Williams with Star Wars, every new Middle Earth score includes the series' first love theme.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/28/2017 at 2:27 PM, Jay said:

I mean, was it Reprise Records, New Line, WB, Shore's camp, Enya's camp, etc.

 

Since I wouldn't want other people divulging the details of my contracts, I probably should offer them the same courtesy.

 

That said, my contracts are deadly dull! ;) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...