Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Question of Deluxe

Over the past few weeks--months even--there's been a lot of speculation, both here and elsewhere, about just what a potential "deluxe" version of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films could/should offer. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to add my thoughts/rational to the mix.

This book was originally designed with a twofold purpose: One, to examine the creation of Howard Shore's score to The Lord of the Rings and two) to explain its function. Why? Because I believe it's a work of art. I could go into it's utter uniqueness, or into film music's longstanding status as a misunderstood art form, but that's really superfluous. I mean, a excellent tome on Beethoven's Seventh would be absolutely welcome... or Britten's Peter Grimes... or Piccasso's blue period. But it's not as if Classical period symphonies, British operas or Twentieth Century Spanish painting have been marginalized. Shore's work here deserves our concentration simply because it is good. That's enough.

And in fact, I so ardently believe that Shore's score merits examination that I've allowed large sections of my book to be released well before it officially goes to print. You know these excerpts as the liner notes to The Complete Recordings and The Annotated Scores. The book expands both these sections and adds chapters on the score's creation and recording and The Rarities Archives, so it certainly has reason to exist. But that's neither here nor there. My point is this: I want people to understand this amazing music. Inside and out. Backwards and forwards.  

This is why it is of upmost importance to me that the content of both the standard and deluxe editions of this book be identical

This music has an incredible following. I've seen it first hand. Children love it. Adults love it. Families. Musicians. Film fanatics. Film score aficionados. Tolkien nuts. Concertgoers.  I want these people--ALL these people--to appreciate Shore's work upon the same lofty plane as it was conceived. I do not want any information reserved solely for those with deeper pockets. Such an act inevitably implies a politicization of the arts and, if you'll excuse a momentary lapse into proselytizing, this is something with which I'm simply not comfortable.

That does not, however, mean I have anything against the concept of a deluxe edition. I just dislike the idea of deluxe information, per se. I know that collectibility is a fun and weighty buzzword to all the groups listed above. And heck, let's throw bibliophiles into the mix while we're at it... this is their bread and butter! So hardcovers, numbered editions, multiple signatories... these are things that I AM comfortable with. Entirely and enthusiastically so, in fact! I don't want to give away any plans--some of which are still very much in the works--but these are what we're looking at when we bandy about terms like "deluxe."

Yes, I know I'm taking this all far too seriously. But what can I say? These delineations are important to me. I simply don't feel right telling one family they can learn about additional thematic material while telling another they cannot because of financial concerns. "Deluxe" is a term I'm only comfortable applying to luxury items, not information. Again, this doesn't mean I have anything against it, or that I plan to create a deluxe edition that's anything less than incredibly fun, interesting and worthy of the investment. I just want to make sure I can live with myself in the morning, if you take my meaning.

So all the above said... we've heard all your suggestions for deluxe editions over the years and are currently pursuing some incredibly exciting avenues. If we're gonna do deluxe, we're gonna make sure we do it right, I promise! :)
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