Well, what is it? Is it a symphony? Well, not really in the traditional sense. Is it a symphonic poem? Closer, but at over two hours, and with double chorus and soloists, I don't think so. What about 'a symphonic synthesis' - a sort of Stokowski treatment? Closer still.
Whatever category one cares to put it in, the Lord of the Rings Symphony is a magnificent achievement. Howard Shore, aided by John Mauceri, has created one of the great musical works of our time. The use of motifs is superb, binding together the disparate elements of the score into a unified whole.
The live performance is excellent, as is the recording.