Reading over the other reviews, it's been interesting to note how wary other people seem to have been at the choice of the composer for this score. Rest assured - just as others have said, the score IS very good.
Perhaps this soundtrack does veer a little too close to cliched patterns at times, but then again, given both the epic and the intimate nature of The Lord of The Rings, audiences inevitably will approach a movie like this with certain preconceptions about how the score should sound and feel.
And Howard Shore certainly delivers!
From the folksy and pastoral music which sets the sunny tone for the Hobbits, to Enya's surprisingly effective etheral voice hinting at the world weariness of the elves, to thundering choirs and lone voices roaring out grand themes and sighing out notes of loss, this score immediately defines all of the key points in the film. Grandoise horror and personal loss, peace and anarchy alike come flooding out of your speakers!
In fact, it's hard not to think of The Phantom Menace's soundtrack listening to this, and how once again George Lucas seems to have been outshone by Peter Jackson, this time in the soundtrack stakes. Where everyone can remember the Duel of the Fates theme, it is likely that many will remember various themes from this film instead.
Finally, even though the film and the first part of this trilogy end on a quiet note, it must be said that this soundtrack also ends perfectly, supplementing the dissolution of the fellowship of the ring with an urge to know more of the story, and know more of the musical themes that shall progress as the story deepens...
Perhaps it will be a difficult score for Mr Shore to follow, but based on the quality of this memorable soundtrack, it is to be hoped that he can recapture even part of the terrible beauty of this CD.