Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ROTK Box Back in Stock

Well, that didn't take long! ROTK: CR is once again sold out at Amazon. Updates as events warrant.

Video from Winnipeg

Thought you'd all enjoy this fan-shot video from the Winnipeg performance of FOTR Live...

Admittedly, two minutes isn't nearly enough! Heed the call of the Wolf Trap and see the whole event with your own eyes!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wolf Trap Insider

With Winnipeg's FOTR Live performance now complete, attention turns to the US premiere coming May 21 & 22 to Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. The Wolf Trap Insider (aka Graham Binder) kindly linked to this blog last week, so it's time to return the favor.

I'm looking into the possibility of attending these performances, and will keep you updated. In the meantime, if you're near the eastern coast of the US, it's time to get a move on! As those who attended in Europe and Canada will attest, this is not to be missed!

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. ☺


Thursday, April 24, 2008

TheOneRing.net on The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films

You know, I have to laugh... TheOneRing.net generously offers to do a piece on the upcoming The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films book, and when article finally runs it ends up almost immediately... uh, dwarfed... by GDT's Hobbit announcement. Ah well, such is life! I'm certainly in good company, yes?

Check out TORN's piece here.

Incidentally, the book has been the subject of many meetings this week (sorry, that pun was inadvertent), all of which are bringing it closer and closer to an official press announcement. It's really amazing to see the finished product marching up over the horizon now.

Just in time to start The Music of The Hobbit Films, I guess. :)

It's Official: Del Toro to Direct The Hobbit

After several months of back and forth and a week of riddles (the answer actually was Monday... the announcement was delayed slightly), it can finally be proclaimed: Guillermo del Toro will direct The Hobbit as well as a sequel film leading up to The Lord of the Rings!

Though no release dates are yet set, Variety is predicting 2011 and 2012, which sounds about right.

To call this all exciting would be a vast understatement. We're headed back to Middle-earth!

Winnipeg Press Roundup

Tonight's (Thursday's) the night!

I thought it'd be convenient to set up a single depot for press rolling in from Canada.

Following are two pieces dedicated to the pre-concert build up. I hope to add reviews, etc., as they come in.


Winnipeg Free Press


What's on Winnipeg

Crippled Avenger's Review [in April, 2008 Ongoing Discussion]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reminder: Fellowship Live in Winnipeg This Thursday!

The headline says it all. Come be a part of history this Thursday as Howard Shore's complete score to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship the Ring comes to Winnipeg, Canada in its North American debut!

...Ok yes, I realize I'm preaching to the choir on this, but it does give me an excuse to put out a call for reviews. The press conference Monday went very well. And of course, it pleases me no end to know that the Canadian press is aware of and interested in the upcoming Music of LOTR book (which is inching ever closer to a press release itself!) If anyone happens across any mentions of the book or the Fellowship concert in the press this week please, by all means, send them in.

Oh and for clarity's sake, Howard and I participated in Monday's press event over phone lines (though conductor Ludwig Wicki was there in person). So although neither of us will attend this performance in person, we're still extremely excited to see it all come together. Again, send those reviews!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

GDT: Riddles in the Dark

Guillermo Del Toro is, apparently, a man after my own heart... If you've got something to say, why not have a bit of fun with the announcement? Bill of the Bull dropped by TheOneRing.net's message boards and deposited the following:

A riddle for you all-

Half familiar, half unknown.

A thing it is, ¨It almost is-¨

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

The day of the moon will be
when all is revealed to thee
Questions will cease
Answers will please
We´ll learn of the Shire
and all you desire.

At ten minus Three.
Joining to be
Ten minus Eight
Add to the slate
of the two dozen princes
that die without winces.
And add to each day of
the week.

Day of the moon? (10-3) + (10-8) + 12... Sounds like we should something to discuss on Monday the 21st. Click here, if you're in the mood to decipher it on your own.

Tomorrow morning Howard Shore, conductor Ludwig Wicki and I will be participating in a press conference in Winnipeg to promote the upcoming Fellowship Live performance. Perhaps we'll have something else to discuss at the same time. Stay tuned.

4/22 - Monday has come and gone with no announcement, and so it would seem I've interpreted the riddle incorrectly! So what did I miss? Take a stroll over the Ongoing Discussion and try your own hand at it, if you like. It can only be a matter of time now, right?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Berklee to Award Shore Honorary Doctorate

Howard Shore is set to receive an honorary doctorate, this time from his alma mater, Berklee College of Music. This marks the composer's second honorary doctorate in as many years. Berklee's press release from their website:

More than 800 student musicians will graduate as honorary doctorates go to Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; Steve Winwood; composer Howard Shore; and Brazilian artist Rosa Passos.

Berklee will present honorary doctor of music degrees to Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; Steve Winwood; composer and Berklee alumnus Howard Shore; and Brazilian artist Rosa Passos with at the college's commencement on Saturday, May 10, at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Bailey, the commencement speaker, will address more than 800 Berklee graduates and invited guests at the 7,000-seat venue.

This year's honorary doctorate recipients are being honored for their achievements in the world of music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture. Past recipients include Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, Michel Camilo, Chaka Khan, Loretta Lynn, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, and Ahmet Ertegun.

Steve Winwood, a pioneer of rock who has influenced generations of musicians, will be performing a special concert of his career-spanning hits in the intimate space of the Berklee Performance Center on Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m., in appreciation of receiving the honorary degree. The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. Tickets, on sale now at the BPC box office and ticketmaster.com, are $35, $50, and $70. Please call 617 747-2261 for more information.

On commencement eve, as is Berklee's tradition, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with Bailey, White, Winwood, Shore, and Passos at the Agganis Arena. The commencement concert and ceremony are not open to the public.


Shore is expected to be in attendance and, according to Berklee, will lead the school's orchestra in a selection.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reminder: North American Premiere of FOTR Live - Winnipeg | 4/24

Watch this spot! We'll be adding a few multi-media twists as we count down to the North American Premiere of FOTR Live in Winnipeg. Stay tuned!


Composer Howard Shore brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary imagination to vivid life with his Academy®- and Grammy® Award-winning score to Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Shore crafted a fully-developed musical epic that related the classic tale with moving and intricately related themes for each of Middle-earth’s cultures and charted the One Ring’s journey with an exhilarating flourish.



THURSDAY, 24 APRIL 2008, 7:30 PM

Upon its 2001 arrival, Shore’s score, composed for large symphony orchestra, adult and boys choruses and instrumental and vocal soloists, was proclaimed an instant classic. Now the massive composition makes an unprecedented move to the concert hall. On April 24, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Ludwig Wicki, with a chorus of over 100 voices will present the North American Premiere of Shore’s entire 3-hour score to The Fellowship of the Ring live to the projected film in high definition.

“This is the first time that the complete score to The Fellowship of the Ring will be performed Live to Projection in North America. I am very happy that the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will perform the piece with conductor Ludwig Wicki. My first score for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, was the beginning of my journey into the world of Tolkien and I will always hold a special fondness for the music and the experience.”

- Howard Shore

The music of The Lord of the Rings is counted among film music’s most complex and comprehensive works. Howard Shore’s score interconnects dozens of recurring themes to create a world as rich and thoroughly realized as the story that inspired it. This unique performance sets the score to the film, but allows the music to bear the narrative weight, creating a wholly new and dramatic live concert experience.

“I am honored that we are able to present the North American premiere of this magnificent ‘Musical Wonder’ to Winnipeg with a 200 strong live cast,” stated Atilla Glatz of Attila Glatz Concert Productions.

“Being chosen by Howard Shore for the North American premiere of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is a tribute of the highest order to our musicians, to our symphony and to our city,” added Dale Lonis, Executive Director, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for this sensational event start at $39.00, and go on sale this Monday, March 10th, 2008 at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phoning 780-3333, or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.

Group discounts will also be offered, along with discounts for students and seniors

Presented by Attila Glatz Concert Productions, The MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The City Choir of Washington

Kathryn Tidyman, Executive Director of The City Choir of Washington, checks in:


Hey, Doug,

I was happy to receive your Google blog alert, and thought I would tell you a little about the City Choir of Washington, the chorus that will be performing The Fellowship of the Ring at Wolf Trap.

We are a new, elite, all-volunteer chorus, launched in September 2007—entirely by singer/volunteer effort. Our goal was to have a chorus ready and waiting for our artistic director, Robert Shafer, by September 1. Our inaugural year has been a great success with sold-out performances of Handel’s Solomon last fall and our Christmas performance.

Shafer is renowned in Washington music circles: in 2000, he was awarded a GRAMMY for the Best Choral Performance, the first time a GRAMMY was ever given to a recording produced by an all-volunteer chorus. Shafer has had a long and distinguished music career in this area: he was music director of the Washington Chorus for 35 years.

We are delighted that the folks at Wolf Trap invited us to perform this wonderful film sound track. Next week—Thursday night, in fact—we perform Claudio Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers of 1610 at Strathmore—a monumental work which we sing in Latin. Four days later we will take our first stab at learning Elvish! We can’t wait.

I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Kathryn Tidyman
Executive Director
The City Choir of Washington


Shore, Handel and Monteverdi?... I'm sold!

Thanks so much for saying hello, Kathryn. I have no doubt the Choir will sound amazing!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wolf Trap

Fellowship Live will make its U.S. debut on Wednesday, May 21 & Thursday, May 22 at 8:30 pm in Virginia at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Press release below, click here for ticket info.

Wolf Trap is proud to present the U.S. premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, a multimedia spectacular featuring the sweeping cinematography and stirring dialogue of Peter Jackson’s epic movie combined with a live performance of Howard Shore’s award-winning orchestral score. Enjoy this Oscar-winning movie in high definition on large screens in-house and on the lawn, and let the Filene Center Orchestra, the City Choir of Washington, and the World Children’s Choir bring Middle Earth to life.

The Filene Center is a beautiful venue... I have no doubt this will be an amazing event. (This will also mark the U.S. debut of conductor Ludwig Wicki, as if additional enticement were necessary!)

Prairie Voices

It looks as if Prairie Voices, the choral group that will be performing Fellowship in Winnipeg, is listing this blog on their website as an official resource for those seeking to learn more about the music of The Lord of the Rings. Very nice! Congratulations to the choir members on being the first vocal ensemble to perform this score in North America!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Ongoing Discussion Thread [April, 2008]

Sorry I'm a few days late with this... I was delayed.

Known Issues: There is currently no convenient way to edit your posts after they've been published. Proofread carefully. If you must make corrections, simply post a revised draft and I'll delete the original as quickly as I can.

Last month's posts are accessible here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mein Schatz!

They say that jet leg doesn't really hit you until a few days after you're done traveling.

They're right...

My apologies to anyone who's emailed, called or IMed me in the past few days. I promise I'll get back to everyone asap. In the meantime, I've cobbled together a few of my recollections from Lucerne.


It's difficult to put into words what exactly made last weekend so special. Traveling is always amazing. The 21st Century Orchestra gave a stunningly commanding reading of Fellowship's score. The group found the precise balance between Shore's contained-sound concept for LOTR and the amount of detail that a live performance demands. And their unflagging energy over a three-hour period was nothing short of heroic. I have no doubt that they'll be entirely ready for ROTK when the time comes. The audience's reception was beyond amazing, both in terms of their enthusiasm and the intelligent approach they've applied to their passion. And there's nothing more fun than spending time with engaging, thoughtful people like the Art Productions concert organizers (thanks Basil and Pirmin), John Howe, Howard Shore, Elizabeth Cotnoir, Luwig Wicki, etc. I suppose that, like so many other things in life, the joy of the experience is the culmination of the details.

Or perhaps it's even simpler. I mean, what's not to like?

Right now, everything's remembered as a haze of details:

I vistied Löwendenkmal with Jim and Sabsi from the boards (and yes, giving them a preview of the book... perhaps they'll share impressions, if asked... :) )

I joined Howard and his wife, Elizabeth, to pay respects at the Wagner museum in Tribschen. Wagner composed his Siegfried Idyll in this home, and the entire experience of being there was absolutely surreal--a deeply moving meeting of Rings composers, which was perhaps more historic than anyone chose to let on at the moment.

And the pre-concert lectures couldn't have been more enjoyable. Thanks to Art Productions, I'm happy to present the complete audio from these lectures below:

Saturday 3/29:

Sunday 3/30:

I know many people lamented that they couldn't attend in person, so hopefully this will be the next best thing.

The concerts also got a lot of press coverage in Switzerland. Here is a TV news segment on the performances from SF1 (see the bottom of the page). And the player below will open a radio interview with conductor, Ludwig Wicki. (All in Swiss German, translation coming soon.)

Also, click here to see a album of some of pictures from the weekend. I'll update with specific captions as this week draws on. [March 4: More pictures added. See slideshow at right for a preview, or click the link above for the full album.]

UPDATE: Jeremy Rossier generously sends in this short video piece he assembled at the performances:

And from Basil Böhni:

None of the above, however, really expresses how lucky I feel to (finally!) be a part of all this. I remember back in 2001 when I got the informal invitation to "maybe do something" connected to Shore's work on LOTR. I was thrilled. Maybe I'd actually be interviewed at some point! Maybe I'd even get to meet Shore in person!

The degree to which the past few years--and the past weekend in specific--have surpassed my dreams both thrills and startles me. Running around the globe discussion something you love is so enjoyable it almost seems unfair. I will forever be grateful for being allowed to drape myself in music history as it is being knitted.

Like I said... I like my life.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Hobbit

News of Howard Shore's possible involvement with The Hobbit has been floating all around the web today. So, what exactly did Mr. Shore say about it?

No more guessing games. Direct from Lucerne, Switzerland, here's the sound bite. Enjoy!

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