Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ongoing Discussion Thread [January, 2009]

I'm typing this from my office in the U.S. where we still have a good 13 hours of 2008 left. But since many of you around the globe are already welcoming 2009, I don't feel too bad about posting early.

Looks like it's time to start reaching for the "9" rather than the "8"... another new year is upon us. 2008 was certainly full of surprises--some amazingly wonderful, some frustrating. But such is the way of all years, and I wouldn't have 2009 any different. I will say 2009 seems particularly rich with promise... the LOTR Symphony will reach Abu Dhabi and Prague (and likely other places), FOTR Live will come to London, France and New York, TTT Live will debut once again in Lucerne before heading to Munich and Wolf Trap. And of course, there's the little matter of a long expected party next October, and the release of the The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, the Master Box... and I solemnly promise to come up with a better name than "The Whole Enchilada" before then!

This is all to say nothing of the behind-the-scenes scurrying on projects that will reach past 2009. ROTK Live will soon be in the works as will, of course, The Hobbit!

I'm glad we have our little Hobbit-hole here, and I'll do my best to keep it as interesting as ever in the coming year, if not more so. Believe me, there are still big things in the works!

So Happy New Year, everyone!


[EDIT: Click here for this month's magnet!]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back In Action

Hi all,

After a few days of holiday downtime, I'm going to start working my way through the backlog of posts and emails this afternoon. So if you've attempted to contact me recently, expect a response soon!

Thanks for your patience,


Thursday, December 18, 2008

FOTR Live @ Radio City Music Hall [Oct 9 & 10, 2009]

Big news below! This is what I've been alluding to for the past couple of weeks. Please see my comments following the release:

OCTOBER 9 & 10, 2009


Tickets Go On-Sale Friday, December 19th at Noon for This Two-Night Only Can’t-Miss Event!

December 18, 2008 — New York, NY — Devoted fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings have read the books, they’ve seen Peter Jackson’s Academy® Award-winning films, and now they will have a chance to experience composer Howard Shore’s Academy® and Grammy®-winning score to The Fellowship of the Ring live at Radio City Music Hall on Friday, October 9th and Saturday October 10th. For this extraordinary event, 300 musicians—a 75-piece orchestra and a 225-member choir—have been gathered to perform the complete score to 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring live with the motion picture on a massive screen towering above the stage. 

Switzerland’s 21st Century Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Ludwig Wicki and featuring The Collegiate Chorale, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and vocal soloist Kaitlyn Lusk, will perform Shore’s epic score synchronized to picture. Shore will introduce each evening’s performances, which take place at 7:30 p.m., in a pre-concert lecture with Doug Adams, author of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, and will be available to greet fans at additional events scheduled throughout the weekend. 

This once-in-a-lifetime, family-friendly event, held at the most prestigious concert venue in the world, is a milestone affair not to be missed by fans of The Lord of the Rings and classical music lovers everywhere! Tickets go on-sale Friday, December 19th, at noon, and make the perfect holiday gift for a family outing over the Columbus Day weekend. Don’t miss it! 

Tickets available online at: www.radiocity.com and www.ticketmaster.com

Tickets to The Fellowship of the Ring at Radio City Music Hall are available beginning on the first day of sale through Ticketmaster Charge By Phone and all Ticketmaster Outlets, and beginning on the second day of sale at the Garden and Music Hall Box Office. All tickets purchased for Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall events contain a Facility Charge. TicketMaster purchases are also subject to their service charge. The telephone number for Madison Square Garden Event and Ticket Information is (212) 465-MSG1. The Group Sales number is (212) 465-6080. The telephone number for the Madison Square Garden Disabled Services department is (212) 465-6034; for the Radio City Music Hall Disabled Services department, (212) 465-6115 for tickets and information. The TicketMaster information and TicketMaster Charge by Phone number is (212) 307-4111.


This is really big, folks! It will be a weekend-long series of events celebrating Howard Shore's work in Tolkien's world. Nothing quite like this has been done before. Particularly relevant to readers of this blog, although we still have some details to work out it's not yet official, the current plan is to release both The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films book and The Master Box box set--including The Rarities Archives--at this event. And yes, we intend to do so in high style... with a little long expected release party! Many of you have been here with me since this all started. It would be wonderful to have you there with me and the end of this thing!

Spread the word and make your plans--I would love to see you all there!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book Update: Minor Notes

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I promised you a small book update, and so you shall have one. It's getting progressively difficult to do updates on the book, only because it's easier to write about conceptualization than about execution. But I'll do my best!

Yesterday I did another review session with HS. Between holiday and travel schedules (he'd just returned from Montreal where he recorded a new piece for the upcoming Winter Olympics), it's hard to make time to sit down, but were able to manage an hour or so, and that was all we needed. At this point, we're mostly going through Shore's quotes with a fine-toothed comb to make sure he's happy with everything he said. His assistant, Alan, joked that HS could change any quote he wanted, as long as he spoke the revision out loud--that way we could could still claim to be quoting him accurately. 

With these edits incorporated, the text is now set to ship to the publishers, which it will later this week. Like most of us, they'll have some down time at the end of December. But come January, we'll begin the layout process. I think we're providing a pretty good template with our mock-up, but I'm very curious and excited to see what real layout artists can do with this. It'll feel strange to have someone poking and prodding something that's been my sole property for so many years, but such is the way of things. As the axiom goes, creative efforts are never finished, they're just set free. 

And anyway, I should have my hands full with The Rarities. The waveforms posted here last week were indeed commentaries in mid-edit. I don't want to say too much about how we're using them just yet, but that probably surprises very few. It looks like I'll be back in NY in late January/early February to finish up recording material for TRA, but there's still plenty to be done after that.

So between the book and The Rarities--and deleting the unending posts from Car Insurance Susan--life is busy! But, I'm not ready to finish off the year just yet...

If all goes according to plan, we should have one last big announcement for everyone before 2008 goes down for the count. I hope it'll be in the next couple days, but that's not in my hands. As ever, stay tuned...

See you on the boards!


'Tis the $eason

To those Tolkien fans still tending to last-minute shopping, may I humble (and impracticably) submit the following.

Minor book update's tonight. See you then.

Monday, December 15, 2008

THR's Oscar Watch: Composers

The Hollywood Reporter has just posted a fun piece for which they congregated five composers they believe to be Oscar frontrunners this year: Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Jan Kaczmarek, Howard Shore and A.R. Rahman. It's rare that composers get together like this, so it's particularly interesting to see these gentlemen bounce off one another.

Read the six-page article beginning here.

Reminder: LOTR Symphony in Kuala Lumpur this Weekend

I'm not sure if any of the blog's readership hails from the Kuala Lumpur vicinity, but I'm extremely interested to hear how the Symphony is received there this weekend. Should anyone be in the neighborhood, please drop a line!

As I understand it, this concert hall is nestled between the Petronas Towers. For sheer spectacle, this performance will be hard to beat.  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lucerne Flashback

Tickets for this year's TTT Live performance in Lucerne, Switzerland are going fast. Saturday evening is now sold out and the others dwindling. Still undecided as to whether or not you should attend? Perhaps the video below (in which my hair looks very odd) will help you decide. Hope to see you all there!

Friday, December 12, 2008

HOWE Do You Do

Since this is mentioned briefly on Shore's own page, I guess it's now safe to reveal: As you know, the scores to Doubt and The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) are soon to be released. What you don't yet know is that these will be the debut releases on HOWE Records, a new label Shore has just started up.

This is a very promising development for those hoping to get their hands on unreleased materials from the composer's back catalogue.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Rarities' Progress

Apologies to Mssrs. Stravinsky and Hogarth for the title appropriation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa Fe Film Festival

It's come and gone already, but should be noted that Shore was honored this year with a Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Santa Fe Film Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Co-awardees include cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and actor James Cromwell. Congratulations to all!

You may visit the Festival's site here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ongoing Discussion Thread [December, 2008]

For quite some time now, I've been hoping to find a better system for the Ongoing Discussion threads. Blogger is not really designed for such things. I've done a little poking around, and think I've found a system that's vastly more appropriate. So this month, I'm asking everyone to give it a shot. If it's a disaster, I'm happy to revert... but let's give it until the end of December or so before making a decision.

Here's the deal. Please head over to www.disqus.com and register for a free account. It takes about 4 seconds and, from the research I've done, is completely secure and not at all apt to open you up to any extra spamming. After that, come back to this post and chatter to your heart's content. You'll now be able to respond (and link) to individual posts, use avatars, etc. You know, real message board stuff!

So please, try it out, won't you? I think it'll make our discussions here far more engaging and rewarding. I've always loved the give and take discussions, and this new technology should improve the flow.

See ya on the board!



I have no reason to post this, other than to alleviate a little holiday-induced stress. Musicians will love the inside jokes. And the rest... if you're not laughing at Beethoven's eyebrows by day 12, I can't help you!

And just to maintain a semblance of relevance: there was a quick mention of the upcoming LOTR Symphony performances in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia's The New Straits Times today. It's not much, but see here to check it out. It's always great to see the Symphony expanding to new parts of the globe.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CR Update

Hi everyone,

Christmastime is busy! This will, therefore, be a rather brief update. As noted, ROTK: CR and FOTR: CR are now both back in stock at Amazon. I've just been told that TTT: CR is taking longer because it needs to be reprinted. So, it's on its way. Just hang in there a bit longer! We don't know the production timeline yet, but good things come, and all that. Updates soon...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nerakhoon Shortlisted

Award-watchers may wish to note that The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) has made the AMPAS shortlist for Best Documentary. Congratulations and best of luck to director Ellen Kuras!

Incidentally, this film will air in the U.S. on PBS in 2009, though the date has not yet been announced.

Monday, December 1, 2008

2 out of 3 CRs Back in Stock

FOTR: CR and ROTK: CR are now back in stock on Amazon.com

Click the links at right and order to your hearts' content!

(Still awaiting word on TTT:CR. I'll update as soon as I hear something.) 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Update: Late November, 2008

Thank you so much to everyone that sent in birthday wishes yesterday, both through the blog and through email. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You all are the very best!

So it seems most appropriate that I return the kindness. How about an update, eh?

You’ll note I’m leaving the word “book” out above. This isn’t just a “book update.” Things are progressing on a number of fronts now. Believe me, we’re taking every imaginable advantage of the recent delay to create thing(s) like no one has before.

Take, for example, our long-established goal of providing “multimedia” material. That’s been one of the toughest nuts to crack, conceptually speaking. The rub? To maintain relevance within the confines of our overall approach, a documentary piece should be both procedural and analytical in nature. That’s great, but two risks arise: 1) We’d end up presenting material completely redundant to the book’s, thus negating the documentary’s reason to exist… or 2) If we specifically left material out of the book so that it would be unique to a documentary piece, we’d end up with a purposefully-incomplete book hardly fitting the comprehensive mold we’ve always envisioned.

We could always just plop ourselves in front of a camera and give you a 10 minute fireside chat, allowing audiences to put faces with the music and book, but that’s fluffy and insubstantial… and I can’t seen publishers being very happy about having to author and package a DVD that’s as useless as that.

So what happens? Should this “multimedia” idea be scrapped? No, not at all. We know that people respond to the personal side of things; we’ve seen it repeatedly in speaking engagements. And I think it’s important to show people that, look, all this music was created by a very real person.

We headed into last week knowing this—knowing that there was something of worth to be created, but unsure of what our angle should be.

A camera was set, we arranged a makeshift set, stashed away a few Altoids (talking heads are much closer in real life than they appear to be on camera!), and sat down to… just do some general work. It seemed the easiest way to find a piece was to let it find us. We had plenty of other work to tend to, so why not simply introduce the camera to the room. 

We started with a few book notes. As the text has moved from liners to full-fledged book, it’s become increasingly analytical. This means that there’s been more back-and-forth between Shore and me so that I can be certain I’m presenting his concepts as he imagined them. Example… I referred to recurring G-minor and E-minor chords as being a sixth apart. Howard actually thought of them as being a third apart. Same concept, different terminology, but it’s important to me that my language reflects his mind.

The book review only lasted a little while. We’d planned on managing the bulk of it the next day anyway. The Rarities were next on the docket. This was incredibly exciting for me. I’ve been rummaging through archives for nearly two years now, and though we’ve always discussed the findings, this was the first time we’d sit and listen through the music together.

And a funny thing happened here. In the process of reviewing this material I think we found our multimedia piece. Talking about the Rarities with Howard was incredibly interesting. Even though the conversation was ostensibly about a single topic, it proved a revealing way to touch on a number of subjects: the history of the project as a whole; Shore’s creative process, the collaboration with Peter, Fran and Philippa; alternate edits of the film; alternate musical concepts… we even found the very first mock-up Shore created for LOTR. Yes, the very first music he wrote for this project.

I suppose I should have known it would pan out this way. In order to discuss the unused music in the Rarities, we’d have to discuss the process at its deepest level. It’s the perfect device for these types of conversations.

And suddenly, everything clicked. By the next morning we were no longer just talking with a camera in the room, we were crafting a very specific piece. It would be something entirely different, something that, as far as I’m aware, no one has really tried before.

Now, don’t think I’ve gone senile in my newly advanced age! I’m not giving everything away here. Our plans for this video material are, as I say, anything but straightforward. I’m not yet ready reveal how exactly this will all be assembled. If current plans are realized, it’ll be very unique, very accessible, and (with a little luck) incredibly immersive.

The above also means we have some reconsidering to do. Obviously creating a piece around the Rarities is combining the Multimedia and Rarities concepts. This may mean that the book will not need a DVD component. (No fretting here… This doesn’t mean less material for you next year. We’re still talking all the same materials, simply bundled differently. In fact, this may mean you’ll ultimately see more content for less money!)

So within the next few weeks I should be getting my first glimpse of the footage from last week. We’re also very close to re-locking the book text with HS’ edits incorporated, and that needs to be in to the publishers very soon. Oh, and I also heard the very first ideas for the Master Box packaging, which should progress soon as well. Personally, I loved what I heard. It's a very sophisticated concept, much more than a cardboard sleeve!

In early 2009, I’ll return to NY to continue (and probably conclude) filming. Thank goodness the airlines didn’t lose my luggage since I now have to wear the same brown sweater every time we film so that it can be edited together. It began the morning of Nov 20 as a comfy pullover, and finished the day as a costume!

Oh, I almost forgot: We also discussed this past week how exactly to debut all this material next year… a long expected release party as it were. If current plans hold, I defy anyone to surpass what we’ve got in the works!

…That reminds me, I have a press release to assemble.

See you soon,


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Hi everyone,

A very happy Thanksgiving to all the U.S. readers out there! Due to a schedule chock full of rewrites and holiday responsibilities, the upcoming Book Update is lagging a bit behind, but will be along shortly I promise. As long as I'm chiming in, however, I thought I'd let you know that albums for both Doubt and The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) are officially on the way. Label and date info is still to come, but at least we all have two more things to be thankful for now.

Again, all my best to those celebrating this week. Updates will come soon, I promise.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lettres Letters

FrenchCulture.org has a nice write-up on last week's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres reception. You'll already know the Shore details, but the co-awardee's biographies are quite interesting.

Side note: Dr. Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt, who was feted that evening, gave a long detailed speech about her passionate quest to prove that the cupid statue in Cultural Embassy's foyer was the work on Michelangelo himself, and not just some anonymous artist. She, of course, made her case, and the little Cupid is now accepted as the master's work. As the event was ending, I stood in front of the statue and locked eyes with the little fellow. Famed dancer/choreographer Douglas Dunn, who also just received the honor, sidled up to me and similarly looked at Cupid. After a few seconds he gently poked me in the ribs, leaned in and jokingly whispered, "I don't know, I still don't think it is..." With a dancer's timing he winked, turned and walked out into the night.

Look for a book update coming soon. This past week was huge, and some long-gestating major decisions have finally been made!


Complete Recordings Availability Fall, 2008 Edition [UPDATE]

I'm told we should have definitive word on this issue very shortly. It's been stressed to me that these sets are NOT discontinued at all; the problem should be resolved directly. If you were planning to pick up a box set or two for the holidays, be good for goodness sake: don't turn to price gougers or unsavory sources! Hang in there a little longer.

More to come... 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Complete Recordings Availability Fall, 2008 Edition

Haven't we done this dance before?

I'm beginning to get reports that Amazon is intermittently listing the Complete Recording sets as being "out of stock" or "discontinued." I'm already looking into this and should have details--and hopefully good news--soon.

Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Pictures

For your enjoyment, a couple of hastily snapped phone pictures from last Wednesday's reception. Click any to see a larger version.

Getting Pinned: Shore's honor is bestowed. 

Howard was awarded at the Officier level, the second highest of three potential levels. Via Wikipededia, here's a better look at the ribbon, rosette and medallion.

Les Trois: Howard Shore, past Ordre des Arts et des Lettres recipient (and Naked Lunch collaborator) Ornette Coleman, and co-awardee George Avakian.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've been up since 3 a.m. Details (such as they'll be) coming soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lingering Doubt

I lied! One more post before I sign off. This is from Jon Burlingame's terrific Variety piece on two stage-to-screen scores from 2008:

Shanley's "Doubt," starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, is set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964. "I wanted to capture a feeling of that period," Shore says, "using folk instruments," including hammer dulcimer, recorder, Celtic harp and harmonium.

Shore, the "Lord of the Rings" composer who was overseeing the L.A. production of his opera "The Fly" while scoring "Doubt," used only 17 musicians. "It's a really intimate story," he says during a break on the Warner Bros. recording stage. "The dialogue is fantastic, and you want to work carefully with it."

And with the principal characters being a nun and a priest, the score often takes on a vaguely liturgical air. "I was trying to create an older, specific sound for the Catholic Church," he explains. There is already considerable organ and choral music in the score (traditional material, not written by Shore), so a cohesive fit was a must.

"Organ music is essentially string music," Shore explains, "so I have the strings playing in these long chords. I'm working off the sound of the church. Voices are used, but just for the color, their sound; they're not singing in Latin."

Shore -- who last worked with "Doubt" producer Scott Rudin on the Paul Newman film "Nobody's Fool" -- says "there are very strong thematic pieces that connect characters. The music is really used like another means of expression to tell the story. It's a pretty pure way to do it."

In the News

Thought I'd post a couple of quick news items as I pack up for NY.

indieWIRE has a nice piece here on The Betrayal, including a little background on Shore's initial involvement.

And Fiji-based composer and conductor, Igelese Ete, who acted as choirmaster for the New Zealand LOTR: FOTR recording sessions, has received one of this year's Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards. Read more at NZ's Scoop.

Finally, Doubt played in LA last night with much of the crew in attendance, including Mr. Shore. Word is the film is extremely powerful, as is Shore's score, and was a huge hit with the crowd.

...And now I'm going to finish cramming my suitcase. I'm told the ENTIRE catalogue of LOTR multitrack sessions is awaiting me in NY this time. ProTools, here I come.

Expect reports on Rarities, Embassies and Documentaries soon!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making It Official...

Hi everyone,

I'm happy to announce that I'll once again be attending the concerts in Lucerne in 2009. Right now, I can confirm that I'll be present for The Towers Live performances on March 14 and 15. Still working out the details on March 13... due to prior commitments, I may have to miss that one, but I'm still trying to work something out.

Just as last time, Howard Shore and I are planning to speak before the concerts. 

Thanks to the Lucerne staff for their patience while my schedule was assembled. Hope to see many of you there!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Anyone else find this picture--NASA's first-ever shots of a planet outside our solar system--slightly disconcerting, or I have I just been working too hard on the book this week?

Lucerne announcements tomorrow. Sleep now!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meeting of the Rings

Now on display at the Richard Wagner Museum in Lucerne, Switzerland:

That's Shore's guestbook signature from last March's visit. Thanks to Sabsi for the picture!

Speaking of Lucerne and Rings... stay tuned for announcements coming soon.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

THE BETRAYAL (Nerakhoon)

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) tells the story of Thavisouk Phrasavath and his family's journey from Laos to New York. The film is the first pure documentary Howard Shore has scored. The original music primarily features solo cello with a handful of graceful orchestral touches throughout. Posted here is the film's theatrical trailer, in which you can hear some of Shore's music.

The film will open November 21 at the IFC Center in New York. Tickets will be available here.

City Choir of Washington Set for TTT Live

As with Fellowship last year, the City Choir of Washington has been tapped to handle choral duties for Wolf Trap's performance of The Two Towers Live.

Congratulations one and all! And start your warm-ups now... the Last March of the Ents awaits!

Thanks to Lynne Price for the news.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

TTT Live Poster

Wolf Trap's website has revealed The Two Towers Live's official poster. Thanks to Timdalf for the heads-up!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Those anxious to hear Shore's work in the upcoming Doubt will be interested to know that it's already earned its first positive notice:

"Howard Shore’s score provides unobtrusive strength."

Yes, that's the whole thing. But that's as about as much space Variety ever dedicates to film scores, so it's still nice to hear.

Read the full review here.

Lucerne: TTT Live Update

Only a few tickets remain for the world premiere of The Two Towers Live in Lucerne, Switzerland. Order yours here before it's too late!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Notes on Notes

The first batch of Music of LOTR notes is in from Shore's office New York. I plan to work my way through the material during the course of the week, so if it seems that I'm even more sluggish than usual with posts and emails, I'll at least have a valid excuse this time... 

-Doug (currently watching election results while adding music example captions)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ongoing Discussion Thread [November, 2008]

It's November now, time for the weather to cool off and the book work to heat up! This month I'll take a final pass at the book's text as I begin to incorporate editorial notes from Howard Shore's office. The notes will come in from New York next week. I'll have a month to get material reconfigured and set for delivery to the publishers December 1.

Also this month we'll begin work on the book's DVD content and continuing work on the Rarities Archives. I'll be in New York the week before U.S. Thanksgiving tending to both.

So stay tuned throughout November, there's sure to be plenty of news!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Earnest congratulations to Howard Shore who, on Wednesday, November 19, will receive France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres at the French Embassy in New York City. 

As it happily turns out, I'll be working with Shore at his office during this week, and will be able to attend the ceremony.

This is, of course, an enormous honor for Maestro Shore. Bravo!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Counterfeit Continued

I hate to start a week of posting on a negative note, but it seems the inauthentic Herr der Ringe von Howard Shore in Concert are once again beginning to make the rounds. For the unacquainted, these are concerts that have been organized without the participation or consent of New Line, Warner Brothers or Howard Shore. Shore's music was taken down (inaccurately) by ear by an arranger, who has decided to incorporate his own additions in order to "improve" the composer's music. It is as if a student painter decided to re-paint Picasso's Guernica adding dabs of color and smiling faces to make up for the creator's shortcomings.

Nothing about these concerts is designed to honor the music or its creators.  

Please help spread the word. The concerts listed here do not feature the music that we care about so deeply. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Del Toro on Shore

The following is excerpted from a piece theonering.net is running as part 3 of a transcribed talk Guillermo Del Toro gave at the New Yorker Festival. I thought the below would likely interest this blog's readership:

Anthony: Some of the work which has begun, I understand Howard Shore is actually already at work on the music - is that correct?

Guillermo: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right.

Anthony: And how …

Guillermo: … I’m meeting with him tomorrow.

Andrew: Oh, OK. And is that you’re first?

Guillermo: Ah, no. I met him before. And I’ve admired him for even longer. But, my feeling is one of the most fortunate things that he’s back because if you have to single out the most important pieces of continuing that Universe, he certainly is one.

Anthony: Absolutely. So thus far what are your conversations with him like? I mean down to Do you feed him pages? Or are you..

Guillermo: No I think the best way to go about this is to keep the pages to ourselves and just allow people to come from different places – where it be designers, you know. We have conversations – I’ve had a great couple of conversations with John Howe and Alan Lee. And John has been feeding me reactions – reaction sketches to those conversations. And I try not to react to those sketches yet. I try to allow him to feel he’s free to try anything he wants; ‘cause then you are surprised. The same thing is with Howard. I think the parameters are pretty clear. And that is it has to belong to the same Universe, and the music of the three movies – so.

Read the full piece here.

By the way, I expect to be in New York in approximately one month to resume Rarities/Multimedia work... and perhaps take an exciting side trip. Details soon.


Monday, October 20, 2008

TTT Live at Wolf Trap!

Wolf Trap has just made it official, The Two Towers Live will see its US premiere this coming August:

Wolf Trap Filene Center
Friday, August 28 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 29 7:30 pm
Ticket Price: $25 - $55

This coming year looks to hold an amazing wealth of live performances...

...and there are still more to come!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dallas Symphony Review

The Star Telegram provides a quick review/overview of last night's DSO concert with Anthony Hopkins.  Sounds as if Silence of the Lambs opened the show. Click here to read the full piece.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Friends, raise your glasses to wish a very happy birthday to Howard Shore, who was born on October 18, 1946.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fellowship Live in London: Tix on Sale Friday, Oct. 17

FYI: Tickets for the April, 2009 London Philharmonic performance of The Fellowship of the Ring performed live to picture will go on sale this Friday, October 17 at the LPO's official website. Look lively!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from Beantown

Hi all,

Spent an amazing weekend in Boston. If you've not been on the Ongoing Discussion page lately, you may wish to stop by. The book made a sneak preview appearance on the East Coast, and some very kind readers have been generous enough to post their reactions. Click here to see what they had to say. Perhaps they'll even answer a question or two!

Thanks so very much to those who spent their time with me this weekend. Your company was treasured!


I Already Knew This...

...and, if all goes according to plan, you will too in a year or so.

Read here. Scan for the name Bar Scott.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Silence of the Lambs with the DSO

Those in the Dallas, Texas area may with to attend the following: 


Spend an evening with Anthony Hopkins in the world premiere performance of his original compositions, along with musical highlights and video clips from his illustrious film career, including Silence of the Lambs and Remains of the Day, as well as premieres of his original compositions including August, Slipstream and The Masque of Time, performed live by the Dallas Symphony and introduced by Anthony Hopkins. 


Sounds like a fun affair! See additional details here.

Incidentally, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has just hired a new president named Doug Adams. It's not me!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Additional Dates

Greetings concertgoers!

A few more LOTR-related performance dates have just been confirmed. See below:

Fellowship Live:
Lyon, France
Orchestra National de Lyon
June 17 - 20, 2010

The Two Towers Live:
Munich, Germany
April 6, 7 & 8, 2009

FAQ Updated... Feedback Request

Hi everyone,

I've just updated the blog's FAQ to keep it up to date with recent developments. If you have a spare moment, please run your eyes over it and see if I'm leaving anything out. I obviously can't hit everything, but I'd like to make sure I've addressed all the big/recurrent questions.

The new FAQ is here... or available via the menu buttons at right. Thanks!


Too Many Words?

In the philological spirit of Tolkien, I read with great interest Time's article on words Collins English Dictionary wants to remove from from its listing. Here is the article, and here is the list.

...And yes, one of these words (in a different form) has been used in the revamped Annotated Score!

Ongoing Discussion Thread [October, 2008]

The Riddles Unraveled thread ended up generating more discussion than last month's Ongoing Discussion thread. In order to keep the conversation easily accessible, I'm porting it over here. Immediately below are the last handful of posts from Riddles. New postings will appear below that.

Oh, and when you're done picking over the bones of this demanding conversation, why not treat yourself to a hot, refreshing cup of coffee from a Music of the LOTR Films mug! Wow, that's the most shill-like sentence I've penned in a long time! :)


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reminder: LOTR Symphony in Calgary this Weekend

Stop by the Calgary Symphony's website to purchase tickets.

The Canadian press is getting in on things too. Read pieces here (Kaitlyn Lusk interview) and here (Doug Adams interview).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fellowship Live Coming to London in 2009!

The headline says it all. Tickets aren't yet available, but following are current details:

Fellowship Live
April 14 & 15, 2009
Royal Albert Hall
London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Voices 

That's both the original orchestra and original chorus from the film soundtrack.

Mark this as developing. I'll let you know more as I hear it.


The Two Towers Live Tickets Now On Sale

Art Production's site now has tickets on sale for the March, 2009 performances in Lucerne. See here!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The BOBs

Markus, one of the blog's regular readers, has thoughtfully nominated us for The BOBs, the worlds largest international weblog awards. He's put a lot of though into the matter, so if you have a moment, please consider checking out his nomination page. And heck, feel free to vote while you're there!

Thanks, Markus!

I need to do a bit of writing right now--reworking a bit of material at the book's conclusion--but will try to address some of the many questions that have popped up over the weekend later tonight. See you soon!


Wanamaker Concert Review 2 [Updated]

This time Lindsay Warner of The Bulletin provides the impressions. A few weeks back I flipped through the score of Shore's Fanfare, but haven't heard the completed piece.

Would love to hear from anyone out there who personally attended. Drop me a line. 

UPDATE: A third review has surfaced, this one in the New York Times.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wanamaker Concert Review

David Patrick Stearns' review of Saturday night's Wanamaker Organ concert, which featured the world premiere of Shore's Fanfare, is up at philly.com:

"The new Fanfare by Shore came out of protracted, intense study of the organ's possibilities: Though Shore is said to have intended an hour's visit to Macy's to hear what he was writing for, he stayed for at least four..."

Read the whole piece here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Riddle #4

Bilbo's week
Flew much too fast
The clues must end
With this, the last.

Groups of birds
Move massed in flocks.
Groups of these:


Solutions tomorrow...


Reminder: Fanfare this Saturday

Remember Fanfare, Shore's new work for organ, brass (4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones (optional bass trombone) and optional percussion, will receive its world premiere this Saturday in Philadelphia, PA.

If you're in the area, don't miss it!

U of Eye

I'm so proud of my alma mater right now. Glad to see that the University of Illinois is still turning out LOTR fans/pranksters. Read here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Riddle #3

the   couple   at the table sat.
eagerly his fingers rapped.
"i've little patience. less than   none  ."
"i've less," she cried. "a   zero   sum."

the table set, they yearned to dine.
yet there they sat, 'til half past   nine
they waited while the world turned round
and autumn's leaves twice met the ground.

they stayed there calm for months and more
until their guests arrived on shore
old friends' familiarity
now sweetened by their rarity.

LOTR Symphony in St. Louis: Review

Ryan76 sends in his wonderful review of the St. Louis performance of the LOTR Symphony:

I haven't had a chance to see the LotR Symphony, I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and in 2004, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performed the symphony on the one weekend that I absolutely could not attend. Much stress, many tears, huge amounts of frustration. I had convinced myself that at some point the symphony would return to Dallas, or even better, that the Ft. Worth Symphony would decide to do it a the grand Bass Hall in downtown FTW. Alas, nearly four years later...no such luck. I was beginnig to think that I had missed my one opportunity and that I would somehow have to find a way to live with the notion that i would not get to see it (okay, I being a little dramatic). The scheduling of the Symphony in STL, the release of Kaitlyn Lusk's version of Into the West, and the opportunity to get a very good-deal on a flight and hotel suddenly changed my fate. So I decided that I would just "go for it" and travel to the "gateway to the west" (somewhat appropriate don't you think?), and finally see The Lord of the Rings Symphony.

The performance was held at Powell Symphony Hall on the 19th and the 20th. I purchased a box seat for the Saturday performance. Powell Symphony Hall was built in the 20s and has been very well-preserved. I could be wrong, but it didn't seem to have had any major renevations since the 60s. I felt like I was in an old church, or more accurately (or strangley I should say), it reminded of the theater where The Muppet Show took place, at least that's what I thought of as I climbed the grand staircase. In the lobby, there were a few props displayed (very few). Full size reproductions of Lurtz and a Ringwraith, as well as Strider's sword, Eowyn's sword, Gimli's axe and Sting. As I stated before, I had a box seat taht was somewhat to the right of center stage. It was an excellent seat, but I din't really see how any seat could be bad in that venue. The box held 18 seats and I was in the back left corner, the area was very spacious I thought.

The Powell Symphony Hall holds around 2,600 people, but once the show started, I might as well have been the only person there. iwas in a faraway place during the duration of the Symphony...2 and a half hours of complete bliss. The sound was amazing, I could hear everything so well, and so clear. I could see everything very well, and as always, I was so fascinated and impressed by the intense playing of the strings section...the equivalent of "shredding" on the violin. Now I know that most evryone that keeps up with this site has experienced the Symphony live and/or has seen the Creating the lotR Symphony DVD, so I don't need to go into the exact details of what actually made up the six movements. I myself have watched that DVD several times and in my opinion it doesn't do the actual live experience justice. It was a powerful, moving, emotional experience for me. from the first notes of The Prophecy...I got teary-eyed, but when the loan Irish whistle ushered in Concerning Hobbits, the tears were rolling down my cheeks. It was such a great feeling, and it conitnued throughout the enitre performance. The Ring Goes South, The Bridge of Khazad-dum, The Breaking of the Fellowship were especially powerful for me during the first two movements, but every note seemed to resonate through me, forcing an emotional reaction. If anybody near me was paying attention, they probably thought I was a little nuts, but I didn't care at all, like I said, I was in a different place. I was also very impressed by the vocal performances during the performance. They were all executed flawlessly, and the two boy soprano's were simply amazing.

I was suprised that after the intermission, Kaitlyn lusk accompanied conducter Ludwig Wicki on stage at the beginning of movements 3-6. i guess I assumed that she would be only performing the two "songs", but she actually performed all of the the vocal parts for the pieces from the Two Towers and Return of the King...and her vocals were breathtaking! Forth Eorlingas, The White Tree and the enitre 6th movement once again brought me to tears...but during Kaitlyn's performance of Into the West, I experinced the most moving and emotional sensation of the evening. I know i've already used the adjective...but it was powerful.

I found the art of Alan Lee and John Howe projected on a huge screen behind the chorus to be very well done and an excellent companion to the orchestra. never too distracting. Conducter Ludwig Wicki was energetic and fascinating to watch. It should be noted that not one word was said during the Symphony. Not at the beginnig, not between any of the movements, not at the end. Wicki was all business.

It was quite frankly the greatest concert experience of my life. This music is so incredibly important to me (as I know it is to all who contribute to this site) and to hear and see it performed live was something I will never forget. Saturday, September 20th was one of the happiest days of my life. A dream came true, and I find it hard to put the emotions I felt into words. I only hope that others have had or will have similar experiences. 

Two Towers Live Confirmed for Lucerne

The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra has now officially confirmed: The Two Towers Live will premiere in Lucerne, Switzerland on the four following dates:

Friday, 13 March 2009, 7.30 pm
Saturday, 14 March 2009, 7.30 pm
Sunday, 15 March 2009, 11 am
Sunday, 15 March 2009, 6.30 pm

Tickets will be available beginning September 30 at Art Production's official site.

Howard Shore and I both hope to reconvene for pre-concert lectures, if schedules allow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Riddle #2

re the update of september:
'twas incomplete, you'd Best Remember.
just two-thirds there – a partial view.
those two from me chase 2 of U.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Riddles in the Dark

Don't be blu,
Can't say much more.
'Tis always deepest,
Betwixt the Shores.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tolkien Linguist in St. Louis

Riverfront Timesspeaks with Paul Hahn, who helped prepare the St. Louis Symphony Chorus' pronunciation for this weekend's performance on the LOTR Symphony.

Choice quote:

What does the ring’s leitmotif sound like? 
[after whistling the piece] I read somewhere the composer has it rising-falling, as if it were breath because he wanted to convey that the ring was a living thing.”

Gee, wonder where he got that! :)

Click here for the entire piece.

Book Update: September, 2008

Since 2001 I haven't taken a many leisure-based trips. Generally I go somewhere to get some work done, then see a few sites if time permits. I don't mind that equation at all. After all, it's not as if my "work" is digging ditches.

However, it is certainly nice to invert the ratio once in a while. Last weekend's trip was more along these lines. I don't think I'd seen Howard and his wife since last spring in Europe—though we'd spoken often. So it was lovely to simply catch up and talk about the world of opera, recent films, old SNL stories, Shore's upcoming Fanfare for organ and brass… and of course a good deal about The Hobbit. (No, I'm not divulging!) And of course, every good weekend trip should involve a couple of improvised campfire songs strummed on a ukulele. (I'm not going to divulge about that either… wouldn't know where to begin!)

Interspersed here and there was a bit of work related to the book. Shore visited the publisher's offices a few days before I arrived, and of course had been going through the mock-up I sent him a few weeks earlier. He had a few solid suggestions related to one section of the book, which I'm now working on incorporating. But past the nuts and bolts, we also had a few large-scale decisions to make.

As I mentioned a little while back, some new opportunities have arisen related to the book. We now have the chance to tie it in to another major release. This has the potential to help us on all fronts: the legal side of things (licensing costs, to be specific), the marketing side… and (most importantly) the creative side. The downside was that we'd have to delay the book's targeted release date in order to allow this "other release" time to assemble.

I did some informal polling, both around here and elsewhere, and the vote was unanimous: delays stink… but delays that improve the final product are forgivable. Taking this to heart—as well as the improvements a delay would bring to the book—made the choice pretty clear. As of right now, we're no longer considering November, 2008 as a potential release date. We haven't pinned down a new release date because we're waiting to hear from the "other release." We should know soon.

However, what's very important for everyone to understand is that the book is not being shifted around in such a way that it will get lost in the mix. This is a step up with just a tinge of frustration—a tinge due to nothing but impatience. In other words, deluxe just deluxe-er… again… heck, even standard got deluxe-er this time! Once I've made the latest set of revisions (during which I'll probably try and track down a few more interviewees), Shore and I will plan out three or four upcoming four trips to his office. Each of those trips will be filled with a bit of research, a bit of planning, and a bit of filming. We may also do a little filming in Europe.

Oh, and if you're still not convinced, let it be noted that you're also likely to get significantly more unused music in your hands this way. Yes, I said "significantly."

I hope the above doesn't strike anyone as Pollyanna prose. I'm genuinely excited by these new possibilities… well, honestly the filming thing terrifies me ever so slightly, but I'll manage to screw my courage to the sticking place, I'm sure. I'm also ready to take a few knocks from people who have had their Christmas lists tossed into disarray by this announcement. It wasn't an easy choice to make. And I feel a bit of that frustration as well. I've been hammering away at this book since 2002. I used to gasp in amazement when I heard how long the Jacksons spent in Middle-earth in order to bring The Lord of the Rings to the screen. Now I grin in empathy. I'm about to push year six into year seven. And yes, I'll be hopping right on to The Hobbit. I'll easily spend over a decade in Middle-earth. But the point is: I want to show off what we've created! I'm impatient too! But I feel confident that this choice will make the Big Reveal even more momentous. I'm incredibly proud of this project, and it's only getting better!

Heck, if nothing else, I'll still get the obnoxious thrill of teasing you guys for a little longer. That's always a plus… ;)

Please, if you have any questions at all, post them here.

All best,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

LOTR Hardangers: An Untold Story

I'll let Magpie introduce this one:

I was contacted by Andrew King who said he could provide me with a little information about some of the Hardanger fiddles involved with the LOTR score that his father had made. I was interested and he said he'd get back to me in a week. Well that turned into a few months as he tried to do some fact checking among those involved. Finally, a few weeks ago he got back to me with a short article.


The use of the Hardanger fiddle in parts of the LOTR score sparked a lot of interest in this Norwegian folk-version of the violin, with its unplayed 'sympathetic' strings under the fingerboard adding a ghostly resonance to the sound, and its characteristic patterned decoration.

If you were to encounter two of the Hardangers involved in the recordings however, you might be surprised. Neither was made in Norway, or by a Norwegian maker, nor are they decorated in the traditional style. Both were in fact made by my father, Mr J E King, an English luthier. Now retired, but still making, Mr King has produced a wide variety of stringed instruments for classical, folk and early music players, all with his own distinctive sense of design. An instrument-maker with an engineering background, he has an intuitive sense of the mechanics of sound-production, ensuring that his instruments have strong and distinctive 'voices'.

In the hectic schedule of rehearsal and recording, memory of the details of exactly what happened quickly becomes hazy. What seems certain however is that when the LOTR music-makers were looking for a Hardanger for The Two Towers, they approached English folk-musician Heather Brown with a request to borrow the instrument called 'Martha',... (READ MORE HERE)

The Fly

Excerpted from a piece for an upcoming issue of Film Score Monthly Online:


Much of the criticism lobbed at The Fly seems to have been written before critics made the trek to the opera house. Maybe it’s the result of an overzealous promotional campaign that pushed the star-studded behind-the-scenes roster rather than promoting an understanding of the work itself. Maybe more should have been made of the opera’s place in the Shore/Cronenberg canon – how the work drew from established tones and themes, yet pushed the pair into entirely new regions. Maybe there’s a lack of understanding when it comes to modern opera. I actually read one review that complained that the opera lacked a key signature! There were a couple of very intelligent reviews by critics who didn’t like the work, but still offered articulate insight. Tomasini’s piece in The New York Times was great. I disagreed with his conclusions, but it’s sharply written – and musically accurate! (A lamentable rarity on today’s critical landscape.)

But, methinks I risk protesting too much. The Fly speaks for itself. It doesn’t need me to defend it… though I can certainly tell you what I liked.

Tonal consistency has always been a hallmark of Shore and Cronenberg’s work together. Once they establish the tone of a piece, everything grows out of that tone. The humor, the horror, the joy, the pathos. This opera is no different. Shore’s harmonic language is very specific and very controlled in the work. It’s also very mature… consistently chromatic, very stepwise, rhythmically fluid, through-composed. It maintains this sound through all moods, though the orchestra forever paints it differently, sometimes embracing the winding vocal lines with warm triadic harmonies, sometimes battling the melodic fragments with cackling brass outbursts, sometimes complicating textures with counterlines, sometimes building dread with heart-beat cluster chords. There’s some wonderfully evocative text painting going on if one listens to the voices as contextualized by the orchestra. Shore has always treated the voice as an extension of his instrumental palette. Though the voices are out front here, this is no different. The static choral writing for the computer’s “voice” is particularly effective in this regard as it weaves its way through the writing to create a depth of texture… and yes, build even more dread.

The Fly has no intention of sensationalizing its subject matter. That’s not to say that sensationalistic treatment of lurid material discredits an opera. Look at Wozzeck! But Shore is not interested in replicating the ooky spooky aspects of the story. His score deals with greater themes. David Henry Hwang’s libretto demands no less. The Fly has always been used as a vehicle for deeper subjects. Even the 1958 Vincent Price played into the scientific paranoia of the early nuclear age. In the 1980s Brundle’s transformation was a metaphor for disease and the breakdown of the body. In the opera, Brundle is drawn between his mind and his flesh in a bid to better understand his own nature. Which is the true Brundle? There are also ruminations on the conjoined natures of life and death… birth being the first act of dying, death being the first act of a new state of existence. Twice the phrase “dying to be born” appears. But Brundle’s experiment only draws these questions into sharper focus. He never gets any closer to answering them. Shore’s is the music of these questions. It is not based on prominent recurring motifs or momentary retreats into the safety of familiar harmonic progressions. It searches and searches. Had the music offered any sanctuary, it would have been dishonest. That’s not what this is about. A beautiful tonal aria in the midst of all these unanswered questions would have dishonored the opera’s characters and intent.

The Fly is unforgivingly intelligent. It considers its own integrity as a piece of drama and music before it considers the audience’s comfort. In its refusal to pander it, it creates something so cerebral that it evokes an emotional response… even if that emotion is disquieting horror. Brundle’s tragedy is our own: an awareness of questions too big to answer. I don’t know that we feel bad for him in the end. Hubris guided his hand. But thanks to Shore’s challengingly effective writing, we can empathize. That’s exactly what art should do.

-Doug Adams

Howard Shore Piano Concerto

The spiffy new header frowns at me every time post something non-LOTR related, but this is too good to pass up: Howard Shore is officially composing a concerto for piano and orchestra at he behest of world-renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang. Expect to hear more in the coming months. This work will mark Shore's first effort in the world of instrumental concerti. Very exciting!

LOTR Symphony Coming to St. Louis This Weekend

Playback:stl has got the scoop!

Read here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Checking Out/Checking In

Hi everyone,

I've had limited Internet contact this weekend (I'm posting this on my phone), but will have a full LA report for you shortly.

On my way to the airport now. See you soon!


PS: Loved The Fly! Won't pretend my opinion is unbiased, but I feel the work has been utterly misunderstood by many. Again, more later...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gotta Fly

I'm Los Angeles-bound tomorrow evening. The next couple of days should be filled with CD reviewing, book editing... and apparently a bit of filming! I'll explain once things get rolling out there. I'm just now learning details myself!

If anyone is planning to be the at The Fly Saturday night, please come say hello!

Ok, then. Bags are packed... eyes are ready to close. See you on the left coast!

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