Leaving Rivendell is the fourth and final CD of songs and music to accompany poems from The Lord of the Rings,written by Caspar Reiff and Peter Hall. The CD could be of interest to Tolkien fans -- the music, largely modal and melancholy, gets the tone right for the texts, but most of the music is not strong enough to engage listeners who are not already invested in the characters and narrative. Generally, the simpler pieces are more effective than the attempts at grand tone painting, and Hall's settings are superior to Reiff's. The most successful track, Hall's Song of Eärendil sung by Nick Keir and accompanied by Hall on guitar, sounds authentically rooted in Celtic folk music, with occasional eccentric and unexpected but effective harmonizations. The album is at its worst when actor Christopher Lee intones the text over a musical accompaniment; those tracks are so poorly engineered that Lee's voice is practically lost in the boomy resonance. The Danish folk group the Tolkien Ensemble, the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, and the Danish National Chamber Choir, conducted by Morten Ryelund, sing and play with conviction.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins