Saturday, June 28, 2008

Super Fly

Ok, the headline indicates the wrong timeframe, but how great is this retro poster for Shore's upcoming opera?

Friday, June 27, 2008

TTT: CR - Back in stock!

More good news, folks--Amazon.com appears to be all stocked up on The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings. That means that all three CR box sets are now available in the US. Check the links at right and shop 'til you drop!

If you're not a US resident, hang in there. I'm told that European distribution is coming next. Supplies should be plentiful this time around, so it ought to be much easier for European fans to procure copies.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Fly Preview

The Fly crawls nearer...

ROTK: CR Orders

Good news! If you ordered a ROTK: CR set through the blog, you order will ship to you either today or tomorrow. Be sure to keep your eyes open for a package from "Middle D, Inc.," my production company.

Thanks for your patience through the process. Hope everyone is digging into the music soon!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Update: June, 2008

I haven't done a thorough Music of LOTR book update for quite some time, and since we've now officially reached the beginning of the Summer Solstice, this seems like a good time for some news. As I've mentioned in the Ongoing Discussion threads, the body of the thing is essentially done. Of course, that doesn't mean I've stopped picking at this paragraph break here, that phrasing there. But I am at a point where I feel pretty comfortable showing the full text off. In fact, here, have a look at it...

Click for a better look, but don't lean in too closely, you're apt to do your eyes permanent harm! What you're looking at is the complete book in its mock-up layout... which means it's my own visual assembly, and hasn't yet been pushed to the publisher's art department. Like the liners, the form is pretty essential to the function, so I lay everything out for clarity's sake, even though I know it'll shift down the line. I still have a good number of graphics to insert and, as I say, plenty to text tweaking to do. And of course, those who assemble the actual layout will have a much more artful take on things. 

I'm sure we all remember how much the Complete Recordings liners changed as they went through various drafts. (And if not, see the slideshow here.) Nevertheless, don't let me stop you from wildly speculating what you're looking at above. I know that's part of the fun at it all! ;)

ROTK: CR -- Order Status Clarified

A few clarifying words for those non-U.S. readers who ordered ROTK: CR sets through me: If your order was effected by the WB store's stock shortage, I've already contacted you via email with a couple of options. Check those inboxes and get back to me ASAP. If you've received no such email from me, then your order is good to go and should hit the post soon.

And for anyone yet to order, divert your eyes to the blog's right sidebar; Amazon.com currently has FOTR and ROTK in stock, and TTT should reappear in the near future. 

I'm not accepting any more non-U.S. orders at the moment (but may again in the future). Any questions, please contact me via email.

Thanks, everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Time Magazine on Shore's The Fly

It's not technically LOTR-related, but fans of Shore's work would do well to keep their eyes on The Fly. Time Magazine takes a quick look at the upcoming opera here. Check the bottom of the blog's right-hand sidebar to link to the official site and hear a few bars of the piano reduction. In the meantime, enjoy the unsightly effects of a telepod gone awry:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LOTR Symphony Comes to Tampere, Finland

News is spreading fast on this one, so I'm actually a little behind in announcing it! Nonetheless, see the release below:

The Lord of the Rings Symphony 2009

Composer Howard Shore's masterwork, The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists, gets it Finnish premiere with two concerts in May 2009.  The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra takes You to a musical journey into the realm of Middle-earth, featuring original illustrations and storyboards by Alan Lee and John Howe with over 200 musicians and singers on stage.

Fri 1 May 2009 7 pm Tampere Hall
Sat 2 May 2009 7 pm Tampere Hall
Howard Shore:
The Lord of the Rings Symphony
- Six Movements for Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists
Tampere Philharmonic
Markus Huber, conductor
Ann De Renais, soprano
Tampere Philharmonic Choir
Boys' Choir Pirkanpojat
Produced by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

Tickets 45/40/35/25 EUR for sale from the 23rd of June 2008 at Lippupiste Call Center, tel. 0600 900 900 (from abroad +358 600 900 900), Lippupiste Ticket Outlets and Tampere Hall Ticket Office (Please check the Tampere Hall special summer opening hours here).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

LOTR Complete Recordings Box Sets Update

First, the bad news: due to overwhelming demand, ROTK: CR has begun to placed on back-order at the WB store now. And yes, regrettably, this will effect some of the orders I've placed for non-US customers. I'll be notifying all parties within the next few days.

But the good news: both the ROTK and TTT box sets are currently headed back to press and should be in stock at brick-and-mortar and online outlets very soon. The sets are being produced in high numbers and will be available throughout Europe this time. Your concerns have been heard and every attempt is being made to rectify the first release's deficiencies!

Amazon.com links are at right... others, please feel free to use the comments section to find the best prices once catalogues are updated. 

I hope to have additional details soon. For now, spread the word: The Complete Recordings are back!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Press Release: St. Louis Symphony Takes on LOTR


Tickets Now On-Sale For This Two Nights Only Event Featuring the 
Incredible Howard Shore Score to the Critically-Acclaimed Peter Jackson Trilogy

ST. LOUIS (June 16, 2008) – Tickets are now on-sale for a two nights only Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra special event – the St. Louis debut of Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings Symphony, conducted by Ludwig Wiki. The event kicks off the SLSO’s 129th season with a spectacle that features more than 200 musicians and singers including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, along with projected illustrations. 

The Lord of the Rings is a series of three epic fantasy novels written by the English academic and philologist J.R.R. Tolkien, taking place in an alternative pre-history called the Third Age of Middle-earth that is populated by Men as well as fantastical, humanoid creatures such as Hobbits, Elves, and Orcs. The story follows the quest to destroy the malevolent Ring of Power. 

The Lord of the Rings Symphony, written as the score for movies based on the novels, calls on a vast range of styles and exotic instruments to create the world of Middle-earth. Employing a leitmotif technique – where musical themes are associated with specific characters or ideas, and are developed across the entire series, the six movements are beautiful, haunting and exciting. The Saint Louis Symphony will play selected works from the Symphony, and will be joined by the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus singing in the Middle-earth languages developed by Tolkien, Quenya and Sindarin. Projected original illustrations accompany each of the 6 movements, 2 from each film throughout the performance.

Acclaimed director Peter Jackson picked one of the most respected and active film composers at work today to write the score for his film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Howard Shore. The films were wildly successful, one becoming the 2nd highest grossing film of all time and the trilogy winning 17 out of 30 Academy Award nominations. The Symphony is one of the most popular film scores ever written, taking three years and nine months to compose, selling six million copies of the three soundtracks around the world, and winning two Best Original Score Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004).

“Film music is an emerging branch of music, and it deserves the same in-depth consideration as do concert hall works, ballets, chamber pieces, operas, etc.,” said Doug Adams, author of The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films, scheduled to be published this Fall. “I believe this work offers something new to serious students of the art, and invites younger musicians to continue their journeys.”

Taking the conductor’s spot for this special performance is the man who led his 21st Century Orchestra in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony at the Lucerne Concert Hall in Lucerne, Switzerland. Wicki has collaborated with Shore, Randy Newman, and Martin Bottcher to present many world premiere performances of special film music concerts.

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra has been a source of pride for the St. Louis region since its founding in 1880. The SLSO has earned a reputation as a first-tier orchestra through generations of excellent performances, its mastery of a wide-ranging repertoire, and a tradition of partnering with leading musical artists from around the world. Led by innovative American-born conductor David Robertson, the Orchestra continues to strive for artistic excellence, fiscal responsibility and community connection. 

In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Symphony Hall, the SLSO is an integral part of the St. Louis community, presenting more than 250 free education and community partnership programs each year. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wolf Trap Pictures

It's been a few weeks since the FOTR Live performances at Wolf Trap, but we've got some great pictures sent in from Lis. Click here for the full album.

Thanks so much for sending the pictures, Lis!

Oh, and discriminating eyes will note that I've added one picture doesn't match. Can anyone tell me why? Regular blog visitors should have amassed enough clues over the past week to do a little wizard-like prognosticating. Who's up for a challenge?

Good luck with the guesswork...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

ROTK: CR Back at Amazon... Again

They're really keeping us guessing! The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings is now in stock at Amazon. (See the US site here.) If it seems like this is a permanent condition, I'll add a link to the sidebar. Let's see how long it lasts this time!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reminder: ROTK CR Still Available from WB Store

 ROTK CR is currently available at the Warner Brothers store. A brief caveat however: the WB store only ships to the US. Non-US residents, please click the link below the sidebar headline for additional info. No idea how long this situation will last, so if you sat the last round out, act fast!

FOTR sets appear to still be available through most retailers. Has anyone seen TTT making the rounds lately? If so, drop me a line.

Incidentally, I've begun to form an educated guess as to what's led to the recent supply problems... though I'll keep it to myself for the time being since I could very possibly be wrong. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sabsi & Babsi w Polski

Checking in from the FOTR Live performances in Krakow are long-time fans Sabsi and Babsi. Enjoy the report; click the pics for a better look.


Here is my belated Krakow-report (sorry, the last week was really busy - deadline for my seminar paper and exams - that’s why it took so long…).

Babsi and I arrived on friday morning, so we had plenty of time to explore the beautiful old town (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Wawel Castle. I even managed to get one of the posters they used to advertise the film music festival :-)

The concert on Saturday took place on the Błonia, which is the biggest meadow in Europe. (To give you an impression of its size: In 2002 Pope John Paul II celebrated a holy mass there – with 2.2 million people attending. The second biggest meeting of people in the world's history!)

Before the concert began, they played "A Storm Is Coming"/"Roots And Beginnings," and for a few seconds I thought, they’d perform ROTK instead of FOTR as a special surprise (hey, in the kingdom of hope there is no winter! ;-)). But then Maestro Shore appeared on the screen and told us that he can’t be with us this evening because he’s in Paris working on The Fly, thanked Maestro Wicki, Kaitlyn Lusk, the choir and the orchestra for presenting this music live to projection and wished us "a good evening and happy listening." :-)

The performance was brilliant. The brass section was a bit out of tune during the prologue and the speakers failed in the Shire (from ‘It’s wonderful to see you!’ to ‘What about very old friends’), but everything else was just perfect. The choir was great – the pronounciation of the Khuzdûl lyrics and the Ringwraith-material was particularly good – as was the orchestra. I never get tired of watching the musicians and Maestro Wicki. It was so fascinating, I didn’t even notice that there were Polish subtitles until Rivendell!

And Kaitlyn! Oh my. She just nailed it – especially the soprano solo at the end of Khazad-Dûm. Honestly, this was the best performance of that piece I’ve ever heard. It was so powerful and emotional, I got goosebumps and almost started to cry. Awesome.

This was an open-air performance and the atmosphere was perfect, for it was a bit windy. There was one gust during the prologue at the very moment of Sauron's appearance and an other one at Gandalf’s "Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!" – excellent timing ;-)

The only downer of the evening was the audience. People used their cell phones, talked to each other (and didn’t even bother to lower their voices) and some even started to nibble popcorn and potato crisps (rustling included) during the performance!

As soon as the credits began, about one third of the audience left (chatting loudly) and the majority of those who stayed, started to clap, so we couldn’t hear Kaitlyn’s performance of "May It Be." I was really disappointed, for I was so looking forward to it. I hope, I’ll get another chance to hear her in Europe (London??). Though I’ve calmed down a bit by now, I’m still furious (yeah, I know I have a tendency of getting really emotional concerning this score). I wonder why they even bothered to attend the performance, for obviously they were not interested in the music. That kind of behaviour is so discourteous and disrespectful towards the musicians!

But – again – the concert itself was brilliant, though I still think it would work better as a silent film experience. When the speakers failed, we couldn’t hear the dialogue (of course), just the orchestra and I really loved it – even though the music was a bit low and the nasty audience started to hoot instead of just shutting up and listening to the music. *sigh*

Suggestion for TTT and ROTK: At least one ‘silent film’ performance per movie.

All the best,


Friday, June 6, 2008

Kaitlyn Lusk Site Update

LOTR Symphony / FOTR Live vocalist Kaitlyn Lusk's website has been recently overhauled. Visitors are now greeted by embedded audio from Kaitlyn's performance of "Into the West." Interestingly, this is the arrangement of ITW that Shore penned for Annie Lennox's "Tonight Show" performance in 2004, which has never before been commercially available. 

This track is set to be part of a mini LOTR suite on Kaitlyn's new album FilmSong. (The rest of the suite is arranged by Kim Scharnberg.) Though the album is not yet on shelves, you can already purchase "Into the West" as a high-res MP3 download. Click here for the 192kbps version ($0.99) or here for the 320kbps version ($1.49).

I'm not poised to make a dime off this, incidentally, just presenting it as a public service announcement. I'm sure the completists out there will not want to be without this unique arrangement.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Polskie Radio on FOTR Live

Nothing too heavy, but Polsko Radio has a short piece up on the First International Film Music festival in Krakow, of which FOTR Live was a component. You can read the write-up here. I'm told we should have our own report and pics from the event coming soon.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reminder: LOTR Symphony in Singapore This Week

As discussed here way back in February, the LOTR Symphony hits Singapore this week. I'm not tapped into the ticket scene in Singapore, so while I can't direct anyone towards ordering information, I bet the good people at The Singapore Arts Festival 2008 website can help you out.

Ongoing Discussion Thread [June, 2008]

Though the technical solstice will posit otherwise, I'm officially declaring it summer around here. Why? I always find the long summer days and quiet summer nights to be the most productive time of the year. And believe me, there's plenty to accomplish right now. Besides, the trees are green again, doves are cooing... yes, summer has returned to my little corner of the Shire. I guess the vibrating air conditioner outside my office window sings a song more in line with the industrialization of Isengard, but hey, I'm waxing here...

Plenty to do, plenty to discuss. Have at it!

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