Friday, April 25, 2008

Book Update: April, 2008

Hi everyone,

There’s been so much happening lately, I’ve somewhat neglected this blog’s original purpose: to keep everyone updated as The Music of the LOTR Films book progresses. Since we’ve got a number of new visitors from Winnipeg and form TheOneRing.net this week, this may be a good chance for just such an update.

March’s trip to New York got me essentially through the CD archive in Shore’s offices. There’s still some potential material on hard drives, so I’ll have to give that a shot later in the spring or early summer. But, by and large, the audio researching is at a good resting point.

As you know, we were also examining video on this past NY trip. However, as we found, there wasn’t really a whole lot of video documentation on this project. This wasn’t an oversight; priorities were simply elsewhere… as well they should have been! The majority of the video was generated by Elizabeth Cotnoir, and a good portion of that was released on the DVD that came with the deluxe version of the ROTK OST back in 2003.

…”A good portion,” but not all. Elizabeth and I are currently in discussions regarding the rest of the footage. If you haven’t seen the original DVD piece, it’s great. Easily the best behind-the-scenes footage you’ll get of Howard as he in the midst of the scoring process. And, as far as I’m concerned, the best portrait of the man yet committed to video. (Elizabeth is his wife, so you get to see Shore in very comfortable, personal settings.) I’m thrilled to have a chance to present the rest of the footage… I hope it all comes together soon. I imagine it should.

We will probably cap off the video end of things this summer. We’ll likely do a bit of shooting when Howard and I meet to record a couple of audio-on-audio commentary tracks for The Rarities Archives. Speaking of which…

I’m currently going through the Rarities material culled from NY to create an accessible form. Right now, all materials are organized by film, and placed into story order so that those who have committed large swathes of the final scores to memory will immediately note the alternates being presented. And where things get a bit more detailed, those audio-on-audio commentaries should come in quite handy.

Recently, I’ve been trying to decide the best way to present alternate takes versus synth mock-ups. Should everything be placed in story order as, or should the synth material stand alone in suites? (This is not a rhetorical question! If you have thoughts on the matter, please leave a comment below.)

When I break away from the Rarities, I’m still writing in the book: revising, pruning, supplementing. The FOTR Annotated Score has been greatly expanded to match the style and detail presented in the TTT and ROTK versions. And of course, I’ve gone back to address the themes and choral texts that (purposefully) weren’t discussed in the liners.

This week I’ve been speaking with the publishers, discussing layout (both text and DVD) and how these elements will be handled. The coffee table / textbook hybrid is very much the guiding philosophy – the layout needs to support the function, much as it did in the liner notes, but it needs to retain a Tolkien-esque elegance. In many ways, this is the fourth and final release in the Complete Recordings sequence.

And as I’ve hinted in the Ongoing Discussion threads, we are inching closer to making a public announcement of the publisher and release timeframes. When there’s more to announce on that front, you can bet you’ll be able to read it here first.

So that’s where we stand! I’d like to invite any interested parties to chime in on the comments here: What does everyone think? What, if anything, is missing? One of two of you have seen rough versions of much of the above, so feel free to add anything you like… except, you know, secret details. ☺

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