21st Century Symphony Orchestra / Ludwig Wicki

Howard Shore: The Lord of the Rings Symphony

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Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings Symphony draws on the heroic scores he composed for Peter Jackson's films, The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, and is presented as a symphony in six movements. In the strictest sense, the music doesn't follow traditional symphonic form, and there isn't any sense of the developmental logic and long-term formal strategies that are characteristic of the genre. Rather, Shore's music retains the progression of the original films and the narrative of Tolkien's books, so the musical structure is closer to the historical antecedent of the symphony, the suite. Listeners who remember the films will quickly recognize the folk-like music ("Concerning Hobbits"), the ethereal voices of Lothlórien, and the ominous background music of the scenes in Mordor, and magical episodes will spring to mind with each musical selection. The performance by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, led by Ludwig Wicki, is quite close in sound and style to the original soundtrack recordings, and soprano Kaitlin Lusk, bass-baritone Marc-Olivier Oetterli, and trebles Manuelle Polli and Loris Sikora provide the solo vocals that are so haunting in this re-creation of Shore's epic work. Anyone who already owns the Reprise soundtrack albums issued from 2001 to 2003 will find little new here, but newcomers to The Lord of the Rings will find that this package is more convenient for continuous listening.

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