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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £12.84

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Is Falling ..., 8 Dec. 2014
To paraphrase Frodo Baggins: It has been 11 years since The Return of the King, and the wound has never fully healed. When all will have been said and done about the Middle-Earth sextology, Howard Shore will be remembered as one of the few members of the creative team who has never, ever lost sight of the heart in Tolkien's stories.

For Battle Of The Five Armies, the same scoring process was put into motion as on Desolation Of Smaug. Howard Shore penned his thematic ideas, had them approved by Peter Jackson, and then proceeded to put down the score onto paper in New York, which was then forwarded to Conrad Pope, who finished the full orchestrations according to Shore's sketches, and conducted the music in Wellington, New Zealand, with Peter Jackson in the booth. Sessions took place in September, with a few pick-ups in October. As with Desolation Of Smaug, the score was locked at that point, and was then editorially conformed for the final cut of the film. The result in Desolationof Smaug was a film version of the score, which was in major parts chopped apart and dialed out, hurting the pace of the movie in some scenes, which could have been avoided, had Jackson and the studio scheduled additional scoring sessions for rewrites, as it was the case with every Ring film, including An Unexpected Journey.

The film result is less chaotic this time, but you have to decide for yourself if the eradication of scoring up until the last minute, which is also what made Lord of the Rings so refined, and the channeling of Peter Jackson's demands to the conductor's podium through someone that is not Howard Shore, is hitting a problematic spot with you, since there undoubtedly are small orchestration choices in these final two Tolkien scores that are not Shore's, and I think you can definitely hear it to some extent.

The flipside of the whole process is of course that the early finishing of recording sessions allows for a more straightforward album presentation, and a more accurate picture of what is actually in the film, whereas the Lord of the Rings albums (on just one disc too) featured mostly alternates, since the albums had to be locked while scoring was moving into the hottest phase.

The Battle Of The Five Armies album presentation is the same as the previous two albums. Two discs, two versions, with expanded tracks for the limited edition, and an additional booklet. The movie is the shortest of all six Rings films, but it's still surprising that the album is the shortest of the three, with around 95 minutes of score (excluding bonus tracks and Boyd's song) on the special edition. The film is scored almost wall to wall, so there is a good amount, maybe 15 minutes, missing. The tone of the album is mostly very grim, dark, and brutal, and differs from the past two in this regard. There is also significantly more choral work in this score - sadly still without featured soloists, but grand nonetheless.

The album opens with a real stunner, Fire And Water, scoring Smaug's attack on Lake-Town, and his demise. Also shorter on album, it is still a six minute powerhouse with a chilling choral climax, and one of the biggest highlights on the album. We get an intermezzo of reprised Tauriel and Kili music in Shores of the Long-Lake, followed by a new and utterly beautiful theme on solo string and flute for Bard's leadership, before the album shifts into martial mode, and, save for a few breaks, doesn't leave it until Courage and Wisdom.

Highlights are the opening minute of Beyond Sorrow and Grief, which must be some sort of definition for "epic", the way Shore mingles his themes "House of Durin", "Erebor", and "Thorin", backed by resounding male chorus; then a militaristic incarnation of "Erebor" in The Ruins of Dale, and of course any statement of the Woodland Realm theme, which leaves its etheral self behind and shifts, much like everything in this score, into battle mode, accompanied by other recurring motifs, most notably the one playing when the dwarves are thrown into their cells in DoS. Speaking of recurring motifs, it is once again amazing to hear Shore weave his carpet of themes, as if they were always meant to culminate in this, and no other, way. You think you've heard it all every time, and every time you're proven wrong. Guardians of the Three is especially fascinating in this regard. Shore reuses the evil motif from Sauron appearing in DoS, and the Witch King appearing in Minas Morgul in Return of the King, in an eerie fashion, and turns it into a sort of "Sauron Rising" theme. Lothlorien is mingling in counterpoint with the Necromancer skip-beat, the Rivendell arpeggios are heard under a worn statement of Gandalf's theme, and the "Power of Galadriel" music from Fellowship of the Ring reappears. In this regard, BOTFA is similar to Return of the King, in that it doesn't mainly introduce new themes, but develops and mingles the established ones. One should, however, not make the mistake and expect a score in the tone and scope of Return Of The King. These scores are a build-up to LotR, they aren't meant to top them in magnitude. It doesn't mean there are no magnificent moments in the battle, or no choral highlights, but not in the style of Return of the King's grand finale(s).

The Darkest Hour, The Fallen, Sons of Durin, to name some, are all absolute highlights, and will give you chills up and down your spine, but if you look for eruptions of unabashed orchestral and choral grandeur with Wagnerian magnitude, you need to listen to Return of the King, not Battle of the Five Armies. The finale of Lord of the Rings is epic and emotional. The finale of Battle of the Five Armies is brutal. That's the difference. To The Death brings harsh brass, and relentless rhythms (think of the music for Aragorn fighting Lurtz, paired with Legolas fighting Bolg, amped up times ten), before it gives us a martial, and wet-your-pants awesome, statement of Nature's theme, followed by the Eagles' music from the film version of An Unexpected Journey, and finally a tormented choral piece, with soprano, that could possibly creep you out, which ends with some massive chords.

There are countless other details to mention: the goblin motif from An Unexpected Journey Returns, there is a new motif for Gundabad, a new theme for Bard's family (on gorgeous sopranos in Fire And Water), Bilbo's sneaky theme returns, and there is a new amazing theme for Dain Ironfoot, featured in the fantastic Battle for the Mountain, giving the dwarves a Celtic flavour with bagpipes, one of the few remaining colours Shore has not explored already for these films. The theme from An Unexpected Journey for the conflict between elves and dwarves also makes a poignant return.

The real genius in this score is the way Shore closes out the story of the Hobbit, and segues into Fellowship of the Ring in the last two score tracks. There And Back Again closes with a familiar Ring theme statement, and the Shire theme on strings, which brilliantly finishes on the first chord of the Fellowship theme, teasing it, and creating its conclusion in the finale of Fellowship of the Ring. Some may find it too subtle, I think it's brilliant. The closing song is given to us by Billy Boyd, and even though I found it somewhat boring at first, it grew on me immensely, with its touching lyrics, and finally some orchestral dignity instead of strumming street artists and Jackson's friends. The two bonus tracks are a theme presentation (Dragon Sickness), and music from the Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition, which wasn't even featured mostly, and even includes music for a cut scene, namely Gandalf looking into the Palantir.
A bit curious is the drier mixing of the score, especially the percussion, compared to its predecessors, but it's nothing that will be noticed by most people.

I will say that the three Hobbit albums, disregarding the chaotic film version of An Unexpected Journey, present us a fluid work that is, in terms of complexity, skill and execution, on par with Lord of the Rings. It may not be as popular as Rings, which is sadly a byproduct of the films not reaching old heights, and the fact that you cannot recreate the surprise factor, but the feat is just as impressive. Special credit must be given to Howard Shore that he didn't go the obvious road, and made this trilogy, and especially The Battle Of The Five Armies, so epic that it's on the same scale as Return of the King, but that he retained artistic integrity and treated it as what it is, namely a precursor to Lord of the Rings.

Thank you, Howard, for 16 hours of incredible music that can rightfully be called the best in cinema history.


Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Original Soundtrack
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Original Soundtrack
Price: £5.99

6 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unacceptable, 10 July 2009
When I first prepared myself to listen to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I secretly hoped that Nicholas Hooper would improve upon Order of the Phoenix, which admittedly took very little. Or so I thought. Instead, what I heard, was baffling, especially when you consider Hooper may never get to score such a big picture again. It was worse - much worse!
I regretted greatly that Williams left after hearing Goblet Of Fire. Then, after hearing Order of the Phoenix, I would have rather had another Doyle score. And now, after listening to this bomb, I would pretty much prefer anyone to Who-per.
Basically, Half Blood Prince takes any real merits of Order of the Phoenix, as little as it had in the first place, and throws them all overboard.
And I do not intend to make any more excuses for Hooper just because he is "new here". This is the movies, not music school.

Hooper simply does not understand Harry Potter. In fact, he does not even have sensibility for the medium. As it is well known, Hooper never scored a theatrical release until Order of the Phoenix - he came from television. Well - this is the movies! And not BBC, where it does not much matter whether a piece has the depth of a lake or a mid-sized teardrop.
Movies have bumps and edges that, if the composer picks them up, give the music structure, diversity, highs and lows, and exciting turns. And this is a big movie, a dramatic one! Where is the excitement in Half Blood Prince? The highs and lows, the flow and structure, and the diversity? None of that, and I mean none, is put to any effect here.
A cue that could, and should, offer something remarkable, like "When Ginny Kissed Harry", tingles on and on, uniformly, without any sense for pace and style, and I don't even mention a sense for the moment. Cues like this, or "Malfoy's Mission", or "The Unbreakable Vow", or numerous others, just start, ramble on in a totally irrelevant way, and end. This is not even competition for any sort of competent music, and least of all is it effective film music - it's musAc at its worst.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is music that is so fluffy and light, that I would consider it too much even for the lightest moments of Philosopher's Stone, and is woefully inadequate for what should be a serious movie.

Now I hear people responding, that this is meant to fit the film, and that's only what it's meant to do. This is a poor excuse, and I assume it also suggests a healthy amount of self-betrayal. There is an inherent mediocrity and carelessness about Half Blood Prince that goes far and beyond functionality.
The excuse that the music is only there to fit the mood of the film and not more holds no candle, not even a matchstick, for the entire history of film music classics - to which Philosopher's Stone belongs - proves otherwise.
Great film music has always lifted their respective films by showcasing classy, not necessarily classical, music with a distinct touch and style, and enough guts to take center stage from time to time.
Film music was born with the entire attention of the audience on it, and later became an offspring of opera - film music is supposed to be heard and to be recognised, and to be REMEMBERED.

This disc of filler music is not even on par with the video game score!

Every single minute of Half Blood Prince oozes incompetence. Actually, you couldn't even call it amateurish, since that would insult every serious amateur out there. An amateur has the desire to create something worthwhile, he would pay respect to the series' roots, and develop its original main themes to satisfying climaxes, while injecting and maintaining a unique style, new to it.
Hooper showcases nothing of all that.
He cheaps his way through every cue, and the few brief intermezzi of John Williams' themes (Hedwig's Theme and the Quidditch fanfare) only serve to cruelly expose the nonexistent qualities of Hooper's score. What would be considered merely a bypassing moment in a Williams Potter score sounds like a major highlight here. It is truly breathtaking how a few seconds of old Williams material are able to discredit a whole score. And apart from these few snippets, there is not a whisper in here that would indicate "This is a Harry Potter score".
I would really like to tell you about the themes Hooper wrote for Half Blood Prince, but there are none. Oh right, there is "In Noctem", an airy choral piece for Dumbledore's demise. Well, even though it's a reworking of Hedwig's Theme (like every faintly thematic moment in the score is), it's so terrifyingly undefinite and intangible that it barely registers; which is also the case with Hooper's "Possession" theme, heard in the "climactic" cues (meaning the usual boring underscore is layered with heavy violins in octaves). It is so amateurishly done that it just doesn't resonate out of its Adagio context.
Moreover, offering a nothingness of a cue like "The Friends" as the finale is nothing but an impudence towards the audience. Can you imagine an even more reduced version of "Loved Ones And Leaving"?

Can you imagine what it would have sounded like, had Eric Serra been allowed to write for another Bond movie? Well, welcome to the world of Half Blood Prince!
I never thought I would say this about a Harry Potter score, but Half Blood Prince is not only deeply boring, it's often downright unpleasant to listen to.
And to any studio executive, producer, director or otherwise, trying to defend this stale nothingness of a film score: enough! I seriously did not expect Harry Potter music to take this much of a dramatic turn for the worse. This far and no farther! Just send Hooper back where he came from, where he manages to survive with his meagre abilities. Nicholas Hooper reportedly was very close to being rejected, if only!
I'm usually someone who hates it when studio executives enforce their will, but in this case, it would be a blessing to the entire film score world!

There are very few scores that actively make me angry, but Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince just moved right to the top of my list.
Comment Comments (18) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2016 12:23 AM GMT


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Complete Recordings)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Complete Recordings)

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White shores are calling ..., 19 Nov. 2007
Four years it has been now; four years since The Return Of The King graced our theatres, destined to become the second most successful film of all time, garning eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson. And, not least of all, two for Howard Shore and his never resting mind. Four years full of studying Tolkien, labouring over dozens of different cuts and scrutinising every thematic approach in each scene, making absolutely sure it relates correctly and pushes all the right buttons, Howard Shore's labour of love comes to a glorious, and well- deserved end.
The End? Not really. For three years now, Howard Shore himself supervised the production of these Complete Recordings, and it speaks for his character that he didn't give this project out of his hands.
So, here we are, holding The Return Of The King in our hands, and the question is today as relevant as it was four years ago - maybe even more, since we can now judge the full vision of Howard Shore: does it hold up? Did Shore do justice to his own brilliance, did he actually manage to bring the full spectrum of themes to a logical, conclusive, satisfying end?

If the last 20 years of film making have taught us anything, then it's certainly a strong reluctancy to set our hopes for sequels or prequels too high. How many times did we have the highest hopes for a single project, and it didn't only fail, but also had that uniquely ability to not only tarnish the film itself, but all previous entries as well?
That is the most important lesson, and it also reveals a very important aspect of creativity: dazzling the mind with a lot of flash is easy; illuminating the mind with structure demands far more from any artist. That today's movies fail to give us amazing eye candy can't be expected anymore, but amongst all the FX artists doing their magic and sound effect guys blasting the theatre's speakers, where's the story, the gravitas, the ingenuity?
So, am I trying to ease you into the message that Howard Shore actually didn't really deliver this time? No. I want to show you the vast deepness of the chasm on whose edge Howard Shore stood.

Obviously, Lord Of The Rings is not the first movie series with sequels that are better than the original. Motion picture history is littered with improved second parts. The difference, however, is that usually, when a composer delivers an improved sequel, it feels like revisiting the previous score. The composer develops themes by reconsidering the first installment. He might take the score from film one from A to B, and the second score from A to C.
In Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, Shore went from point A to B and B to C, respectively. Themes continued developments without a recap, drawing fresh connections while pushing the old in new directions; the palette widened, incorporating a grander sense of scope and advanced realisations of the styles.
Return of the King takes us triumphantly to point D, which logically expands the compass even further. Shore has built his emotional arc through nearly eight hours of music before reaching this score, and now, as we reach the destination, everything is touched with a sense of gravity. We've earned this voyage; we've come to its conclusion naturally, and the effects are nearly overwhelming.
Nowadays, it's an easy task to find film scores with beautifully soaring themes and powerful action. Nearly every film score today appears to see its task in creating music that is soaked with emotional highlights, moments of pathos and orchestral clashes of almost orgiastic proportions. But in 90 % of those cases, an essential element is lacking: the music and the film don't *earn* these moments, resulting in an atmosphere of fakeness and emotional pretentiousness.

This isn't the case with Lord of the Rings, and especially not with Return of the King. Two scores and six hours of music steadily, subtly and systematically build into this archetectural masterpiece.
Return Of The King has a different vibe from the very first bar. Orchestrations and compositions are a lot more diverse and intricate, and even the palette of soundscapes is more elaborate.
This is largely due to the fact that in Return of the King, Howard Shore combines and collides his themes to bring them down to a common denominator, to bring the stories to their logical climax. For instance, in "A Coronal Of Silver and Gold" or "The Land Of Shadow", the 5/4 beat of Isengard meets the Fourth Age Of Mordor theme, and the Orc theme of Isengard meets the Threat Of Mordor motif, indicating that Isengard's power and creatures have now been fully consumed by and integrated under the eye of Sauron.

From the very beginning, Return of the King builds on The Two Towers' maturity, and adds an amazing layer of thematic and textural developments. The bridging is absolutely seamless - the first 30 seconds of "Roots and Beginnings" sound like a direct continuation of Two Tower's end credits.
This score has a distinct touch of understated grandesse, which roots in Howard Shore's inherent subtlety, and which is perfect because the movie isn't about heroic, uplifting battles, it shows a world in decline and its hope of revival.
Everything builds into this, and the true meanings of all themes are revealed. Right in the opening sequence, "Roots And Beginnings", the essential meaning of the Ring's Seduction theme is presented. Or the ringwraiths; listen to Fellowship's "The Nazgul", Two Towers' "Wraiths On Wings", and then "Shieldmaiden Of Rohan", and you will not only see, you will understand. That's also a feelings very few scores can create.
When Aragorn bows to the four hobbits during the coronation scene, you hear the exact same short piece that plays when Frodo says "I will take the ring" during the Council Of Elrond; these are the moments that reveal a true genius of musical storytelling.
And amongst all these intricacies, Howard Shore never loses the focus on the heart of the tale. That is why the emotional climaxes reaches their full blossoming in the listener's mind, and each one stabs right into your heart, unfolding a deep satisfaction.
As you know by now, this gem includes four CDs, one DVD with the score in Surround Sound, and a more than intriguing booklet by Doug Adams, who guides us through the soundscapes of Middle-Earth.
Also, like Two Towers, this release includes countless additions that didn't make it into the film. These additions are sometimes of bigger, often of shorter nature, but they all glue together some score parts that appeared incoherent in the film. In the best sense of the word, they give the score even more time to breathe and to shine.

I don't think there has ever been a film score that lived and breathed quite like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and The Return Of The King especially. Every piece of music has its meaning, talks to you, and leaves you deeply satisfied.
Unlike the Ring films themselves, their scores, or more precisely their themes, may never become part of popular culture, and in times where this is considered the knighting for any film score, Lord Of The Rings doesn't need to, since it has an entirely different goal, and works on an entirely different level.
If you wanted to place "The Return Of The King" in film music history, you will have to go back to the glory days of film music in the 50s and the 60s, when there was no difference between classically trained composers and film composers, when those great musicians didn't need to worry about sales or becoming part of pop culture, but instead created music through which their films lived, breathed and acquired true greatness. Spartacus, El Cid, North By Northwest, Ben Hur, Jason and the Argonauts, that is the royal company in which The Lord Of The Rings does not need to feel ashamed.
You could even say that The Return Of The King goes back to 18th/19th century opera in terms of how dozens and dozens of meticulously interwoven motifs not only shape the actors' performance, but also tell the story on their own. In this light, Shore's Ring trilogy has even an advantage over scores like Ben Hur or King Of Kings.
Howard Shore's masterpiece combines genuine opera with a glimpse of Golden Age, and this is an achievement for the ages.


Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3)
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3)
Price: £3.99

26 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it possible for Williams to drop the ball?, 13 April 2005
Three years have passed since George Lucas released his horrid "Attack Of The Clones", and I swore that I'd never touch one of his abysmal movies ever again.
I doubt that "Revenge Of The Sith" will be significantly better than the other two prequels, but there was absolutely no reason NOT to look forward to John Williams' score.
Although some cues made you sadly look back to 1977, his last two Star Wars efforts reached from "very good" to "brilliant", and that was reason enough to expect ROTS to be the best of the Prequel- scores.
Frankly, it isn't. It's marginally better than Attack of the Clones and up to par with Phantom Menace.
Atmosphere- wise, the best word to describe this soundtrack is: dark. Dark and sad with a touch of epic scoring.
The main reason for this is the heavy use of a choir and thick string writing. "Anakin's Betrayal", "The Immolation Scene" and "Padme's Destiny" depict a scenario full of grief and loss.
It's very different from the other two Prequel scores, but stunningly beautiful.
However, there are several things that really bother me.
First of all, the huge gap between stunning music and forgettable elevator music.
"Palpatine's Teachings" and "Padme's Ruminations" are uniformly bland and almost embarassing for a Star Wars score.
Every Soundtrack has its ups and downs, but this is a first for a Star Wars/ John Williams score.
Secondly, the amount of music that John Williams seemingly lifted from other scores is astounding. Of course, these moments last only about two or three bars, but it is amazing if you consider that the composer is called John Williams.
The first 15 seconds of "Anakins Dark Deeds" are straight out of "The Treason Of Isengart" from LOTR (with no changes in the orchestration and only little variation thematically), the battle cue from "Revenge Of The Sith" is a little too close to the Orc music from LOTR (5/4 rhythm, bass drums, low brass) and there are "references" to the Black Rider theme in the string section as well as in the choir writing.
By far the biggest surprise, and also dissapointment, however is the new main theme, "Battle Of The Heroes". I expected a new lengthy theme, like "Across The Stars" or "Leias Theme".
What we get in the end is a fairly short fanfare- like choir/ brass outburst. This theme walks on a very thin line between "genius" and "amateurish". Either you love it or you hate it, I believe.
In a way, it strongly resembles Vangelis' thematic material. Sure, Vangelis is alot less playful with the orchestra, but he treats his themes similary: short, intuitive melodies with little or no variation.
The most painful thing about "Battle of the Heroes" is that it remains dramatically underexplored. It's either performed by the french horns or the choir, and always in the same pattern. There's one hightly enjoyable moment in "Anakin VS Obi- Wan", where the strings get the theme: a bright spot in an otherwise repetitive use of the main theme.
What's also remarkable is the prominence of old (pre- Episode I) thematic material and the lack of fresher (post- Episode VI) music.
If I didn't know better, I'd say that the "Force Theme" is the main theme of Episode III. It appears more often than BotH and with far more variations, including two awesome statements played by the strings and a full choral background in "Anakin VS Obi- Wan".
Worth mentioning are two cues from Episode I/II: The Duel/Clash of Lightsabres and Princess Leia's Theme. Both are featured here with slight variations.
On the minus side, Williams seems to completely ignore his previous two scores. Across The Stars appears in "Anakins Dream" accompanied by Solo Violin/ Solo Viola, but Anakin's Theme or Duel Of The Fates are missing entirely.
The CD closes with a 13 minutes "Star Wars" suite, including virtually every important element from all movies, and I couldn't help shedding a tear or two during these wonderful moments.
Nostalgia fans will certainly embrace a re- recording of the "Throne Room Finale" from 1977!
Now, you've read a lot of positive things about ROTS and quite a few bad things; so, the bottom line is what?
I hate me for saying this, but yes, this Soundtrack is a mixed bag.
On one side, you will certainly find some of the best tragic cues Williams wrote during the last years on this CD.
Additionally, if you want to hear old cues (from Episodes IV-VI) going into a new direction, this will be the score for you.
On the other side, ROTS is completely devoid of memorable outbursts of new thematic material.
Of course, when John Williams drops the ball, he's still knocking out 99 % of his competitors with it, but nevertheless, my opinion is this: for the final installment of the Star Wars Prequels, this is a big dissapointment.


Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £3.88

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People should understand ..., 22 Jun. 2004
First, and above all else, I'd like to point out that Howard Shore possibly wrote the most complex, the most enjoyable, the most suitable and the most atmospheric movie score you can find out there.
The amount of thematic material that Shore juggles around with without losing his concept is nothing less but breathtaking.
But before I dig deeper into this Eldorado of film music, I want to make clear one thing: The Lord Of The Rings is one movie, split into three parts, and so is the score.
They don't RIVAL each other, they COMPLEMENT each other and they are meant to be heard as ONE score. So, if somebody tells you that Fellowship of the Ring is everything you need is simply wrong.
Now, The Two Towers takes a special place in the trilogy, for it being the middle part of it. As the linking piece between Fellowship and Return Of The King, it has to fulfill unique tasks. First of all, it has to continue the first part, but it has to introduce us to the culture of Rohan, too.
Howard Shore does this masterfully. Here and there, he incorporates thematic ideas from Fellowship and takes them to the next level by using slightly different orchestrations.
Rohan is represented by three main ideas: the Hardanger (a celtic fiddle), the Rohan motif and choral pieces written in Old English.
The new location of Fangorn forest is represented by the track "Treebeard", which hasn't really got an own theme, but creates a fairy-tale like atmosphere by using a light choir (almost Danny Elfman style), woodwinds, and lots of wooden percussion.
Gollum gets two themes; one appears in "The Taming Of Smeagol", played by a hammer dulcimer to represent the instabile, scyzophrenic side of Gollum. The second aspect of Gollum can be found in "The Forbidden Pool". It's the oboe-piece that also appears in "The Prophecy" (from Fellowship) and is alot more pitiful.
Also worth mentioning is "The Hornburg", which brings back a thematic thread of "Lothlorien". The main Lorien-theme is played in a very militaristic, brassy way to represent the army of elves that support the Rohirrim at Helm's Deep.
Another beautiful aspect of The Two Towers are the haunting solo voices. Ben Del Maestro brings tears to your eyes in the epic "Forth Eorlingas" and "Isengart Unleashed".
"Evenstar" is a theme for Arwen and her evenstar, which reappears in The Return Of The King, and so beautiful that it takes your breath away. "Breath Of Life" is alot more mourneful and Elizabeth Frasier sings Haldir's Lament in "Isengart Unleashed" in order to draw a parallel between Haldir's lament and Gandalf's lament from Fellowship.
The two hobbits, Frodo and Sam, get the well-known, soft sound of woodwinds.
Of course no Lord Of The Rings score would be complete without a reference to The Breaking of The Fellowship and Frodo's theme, and so these two are combined in Samwise The Brave.
Howard Shore introduces many new themes here and alters his already established motifs in a way that it prepares us for Return of The King, in which these changes are alot more prominent and also stronger.
However, the score makes clear that the musical journey isn't over yet and leaves you begging for more.
The range of emotions this score creates, is enormous; it makes your adrenaline rush, your hair raise and your eyes wet.
And most important: it enhances, complements and accompanies the movie as brilliantly as you can only imagine.


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