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The Fellowship of the Ring COMPLETE RECORDINGS 3CD set

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Howdy -    Stumbled across my own assessment (I'm reluctant to call it a review) of the FotR CR from January 2006; i.e. before half of you were even alive (or thereabouts). Mind, this was wr

As much as various 'authorities' have denied that, I have to concur with you - every edit and mixing decision matches the film. If it weren't the isolated score, then why are there so many oddities li

The Complete Recordings is a somewhat misleading title as to some it suggests that we would be getting every take of every piece ever recorded for the LotR scores (there are about 3000 in all if I remember correctly).Maybe they should have called it the Complete Score Recordings in the first place to avoid the accusations of false advertising. The CR sets are a representation of the LotR scores as they are heard in the Exteneded Editions of the films. And Shore has wanted to make a more fluid and independent listening experience so he has made the slightest edits to the music to help this fact. There are no repetitions of one bar to make the timing in the film or lenghtened sustained string chord to make up for the time that Gandalf takes to come down the stairs.

These sets represent the way Shore wants the audience to hear the scores as independent music away from the film. Of course the music is forever tied to the action on the screen but Shore has tried to tell the story through music on these discs and in my opinion has done a superlative job. To stack a presentation of alternates in the end of the sets would just disrupt the flow of the music.

And the fact that should be remembered is that the Fan Credits are comprised of cues from the original OST and alternate takes on some of the cues from the film so they are not on the CR set. They have no place in there. The music was put there to avoid a 10 minutes of silence after the actual End Credits as the Fan Credits start to roll. The sets form a presentation of the scores as a whole. They do not present us with mountains of alternates for their own sake. Alternates and unused cues (which we are getting with these sets) are very interesting to hear to understand how the scores evolve but they should not become the main issue when a complete score is released and certainly not the major gripe they have become among fans. I love LotR music as much as the next avid fan and always like to hear more of it but to bemoan the lack of alternates or different takes in these sets is ridiculous and ungrateful. We have been presented the best complete score release in history and some still see fit to complain.

And also remember that there is a strong possibility that we get a "Rarities"disc on some later date (Doug Adams has hinted this on many occasions) which will probably have enough alternates to satify our monstrous hunger for them. There might be even some Theatrical version cues on that disc. So I think we are in a pretty good situation as LotR music fans :P

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Really well said Mikko, good to have some sensible comments now and again :)

I do have a few mixing issues with the set, but these are massively overshadowed by the music product that we get, especially when compared to the TPM UE.

I had trouble sleeping the night before FotR was released - that's how much I was looking forward to getting this. I knew there would probably be some differences, but my main concern was that suddenly I had access to all the music that I heard in the film, in a way that the composer himself wanted it to be heard, and even now, I listen through and am amazed at the quality of the product and care with which it was prepared.

Roll on Two Towers :P

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  • 9 years later...

Howdy - 


Stumbled across my own assessment (I'm reluctant to call it a review) of the FotR CR from January 2006; i.e. before half of you were even alive (or thereabouts). Mind, this was written before much information had come our way, and it is overwhelmingly based on how the set plays as a listening experience.


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Well, here it is: my convoluted (is that a word?) and probably quite inconsequent take on what's supposed to be the Holy Grail of my collection. But firstly, I need to make clear the following:


I do not intend to complain. I've been waiting for this thing for the better part of the past four years, and you all suffered from my repeated gushing over the brilliance that is Howard Shore's The Fellowship of the Ring. Finally, all those great moments are there, stuff that to hear until now I needed to watch the movie for; everything's there to be repeatedly blasted at my slowly numbed-down eardrums. I cannot begin to praise the efforts of everybody involved in making of this set (and the up-coming ones); the liner notes are superb, the packaging the most beautiful I've ever seen, and the music with its sheer multitude of facets is naturally beyond any criticism.


I love this score more than anyone could ever imagine (probably even Howard Shore, but thankfully, he'll never read this here...), yet something keeps this set from being the pinnacle it could and should have been for me. I am trying now to figure out the reasons for that. And I am going to keep on defending it against what I perceive ridiculous and unfounded criticism and/or jealousy.



Some people (especially one poster at FSM) would argue there's such a thing as too much music. I have always disregarded that, as I could always press the "Skip to the next track". The Fellowship of the Ring in its complete form plays just as well as a straight 3-hour listen as it does in its original 71-minute album. Sometimes (in fact, very often), I'll just pick certain tracks to play. It may sound silly, but I actually managed to develop some kind of dance routine to the 5/4-Orc ostinato; I (pretended to myself to) know the choral off by heart, and many were the times you could have found me air-conducting and singing along...you're lucky that you didn't find me, though! ;) I sat down with the Extended Version and a stop-watch and made a timing sheet of the entire score. I asked Howard Shore inane questions about the lyrics and so on and so forth.


If I were to guess how much time I spent listening to The Fellowship of the Ring over the past four years and three weeks...it would be quite some time. ;)


Over the years I've bandied many an e-mail with people over LotR, and a very good friend of mine once told you this: "I think I can safely say that Kühni enjoys life a little better because of those movies and scores." That is true to a degree that these scores became something of a life-saver for me in late 2004...


Anyways, with the imminent release of the FotR-set in fall of 2005, my "giddiness" went to almost ridiculous levels, as Doug Adams will probably be happy to confirm. I gathered every bit of information about it I could. First pictures of the set went up, and I was ecstatic. Apart from the ever-delaying release of it and the quite high prize, there was nothing that could ever have prevented me from getting it. It arrived on Dec. 22nd, right in time for Christmas. I even kept the shrink-wrap the set came in!


But to cut all this babble short...in retrospect, my expectations were possibly too high.


When I sat down on Dec. 29th for my first listen, my mind was immediately transported back four years when I first I clapped eyes on the movie and Howard Shore's music literally took me to Middle-Earth. Those forlorn horns, those sorrowful woodwinds, the distant beating of drums... While reading through the enormous liner notes (a pretty hard thing to do with only candle-light), I was visiting Bag End, Bree, Moria, Lothlórien once again. Many times did my face erupt into this kind of grin some of you know, did my hands rise along with a crescendo, did my ears pick up at some nuance I hadn't noticed before, did I turn around to look at my stereo when a previously unreleased piece of music played. And yes, of course there were multiple scoregasms involved.


And yet, all of a sudden, it hit me: the feeling that I wasn't so much listening to the "complete recordings", but only to an Phantom Menace-like Ultimate Edition. Notice I say Phantom Menace-like. I am not talking about this kind of fiasco (a harsh description, I know). Too much thought, love and care had been put into this project to prevent this situation from repeating.


Yet I couldn't help thinking again and again..."this doesn't sound like one fluid piece...there are the same edits as in the movie". And then there were instances were I loudly said "This isn't complete." I had already heard the complete version of this...on the original 2001 CD. These were just tiny instances, a couple of seconds missing here and there, but they made me take offence with the term "complete recordings". Also, the mix is the film-mix, which means for example that the choral outburst for the Nazgûl leaving Minas Morgul early in the film is mixed very low indeed. Very different from what I know, again, from the original CD. It simply struck as quite odd that it was decided to put that out instead of the other (original?) mix. I know, I know, the score was re-mixed for the box-set, but in my ears, it wasn't a good thing to do, really. Probably I am the only one to have issues of this kind, which that is good, because then I am the only one nitpicking.


It's a habit of mine to notice more "blemishes" once I've noticed the first. Some of the longer edited tracks would have been better left "in pieces"; there are two or three places were one piece of music fades into the next one, and I found these to have been quite unevenly done. I would have preferred a simple "stop track 1, start track 2" approach. And with the set being supposed to be complete, I was stumped to find that some unsued and/or unreleased concepts were included while other alternate cuts, such as the DVD version of "The Breaking of the Fellowship", were not. However, this point is likely to become moot, as there's rumour of a final "rarity" disc.


I knew from early on that the diagetic (on-screen) music would be included. I was very delighted to have "The Passing of the Elves", but for some reason, the cast singing, be it at the Green Dragon and Bilbo's "The Road Goes Ever On and On..." took me completely out of my snuggly Middle-Earth. And it does so every time I listen to the set.


I even find fault with the excellent liner notes by Doug Adams. On the official soundtrack site (www.lordoftherings-soundtrack.com), there's a link to the annotated score, also written by Doug. As this excellent pdf document, being a track-to-track analysis and a collection of the choral texts used, directly refers to the music as heard on the three CDs, I completely fail to see the reason why it wasn't included as a part of the liner, especially if a large part of the existing liner notes has been culled from Doug's up-coming book. Please don't misunderstand me, his notes set a new standard in regards to excellence, musical knowledge, readability and presentation (complete with musical notation!), but I believe it would have made more sense to have the track-to-track analysis as a part of the booklet. And yes, I do appreciate that there wasn't any more space to include them without the prize getting even higher.


Also...no track-times anywhere. Wah! :blink:  And the rubber clip to keep the DVD in place is "suboptimal".


Right, nitpicking time is over for now. You can all go home.


So where do all these petty "disturbances" leave me? I am not really sure...I adore this score like no other, and I think the set is a most masterful representation of the score, and I'll be coming back to listen to it again and again until (the hopefully far-off) end of my days. Maybe it will take the sets for The Two Towers and The Return of the King and this promised "rarities" CD for me to see the whole picture.


Right, that's that. If you didn't understand a thing of what I just wrote, no matter, I'm having the same feelings... Ah, yes, in case I haven't made myself clear enough during all these years...


I still consider The Fellowship of the Ring to be the best score ever written! Feel free to disagree, though...


Thanks for reading,



PS: In case anybody wants to send death threats or report me to Howard Shore, please let me know!


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Ten years, really? :o

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I'm glad they exist and they are brilliant in the film.


I wish I had a way of listening to the sets WITHOUT them if I wanted to, though.

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In sum, there really are decisions made with the FotR set that are tough, and near impossible to understand.


I stand by my original assumption that FotR is the DVD score isolated. And I hope I will hear the real, proper intentions, without some hokey "artistic decisions" at some point in my lifetime.

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As much as various 'authorities' have denied that, I have to concur with you - every edit and mixing decision matches the film. If it weren't the isolated score, then why are there so many oddities like that? And someone also would've had to go through recreating film edits and mixes.


Isolated scores on some future edition is the one, single thing that would make me rebuy all the films.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

Weird observation: "Gollum" was just playing. My laptop is a bit on the ancient side, so from time to time its fan will go into "high gear"...and in the cue's second half, when the alto flute comes it, the frequency of the fan was in almost perfect harmonic consonance with the music...


...I swear, I (a) have a life and (b) don't plan for such things to occur.



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On 8/15/2020 at 9:55 PM, gkgyver said:

Does some of the aleatoric stuff match your bowel movements? 


I like your signature. 


Nope on the first, at least not with Shore's music. 


And the signature, for as long as it's allowed, kinda indicates a sentiment similar to your profile picture, I suppose. It's either spaghettification, or any numbers of life ends as experienced by Orcs in LotR. Head taken off by a meteorite? Berlin foundering in quicksand? All of that? *whistles innocently*

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  • 9 months later...

Another (one?) of those fine small moments that mightily move me...the moment the strings start to "tremble". The scenes of Arwen escaping with Frodo had an urgency that I still remember and relive 20 years after I first watched them. And Ringwraiths in d-minor is no longer sufficient...e-minor it is! AND THAT MOTHEREFFIN' ALEATORIC FRENCH HORN ONSLAUGHT!!! :devil:




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