Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Preview Review

I'm horrifyingly late in posting this and I only hope Eorl will forgive the tardiness. Eorl, along with a host of others, was part of the London Book Preview a week or two back. He's assembled a few thoughts which have been posted here in German. Fortunately, he was also kind enough to send an English translation. Thus, I give you his preview review. Thanks, Eorl!

One Soundtrack-Book to Rule Them All

On 14 and 15 April 2009, Lord Of The Rings fans from all around the world gathered in London in order to witness the THE FELLWOSHIP OF THE RING – THE COMPLETE SCORE LIVE TO PICTURE. Doug Adams, author of the soon-to-be-released book THE MUSIC OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS FILMS granted a grand insight into his book and the RARITIES ARCHIVES. Herr-der-ringe-film.de has drawn much exclusive news from him.

When his book will be released in October of this year, Doug Adams has put a total of nearly 8 years of work into the project. It’s a job that pays well. “When I learned that Peter Jackson and his team have been working on their movie since 1997 and did not finish it before 2004, I just thought: How in the world can anyone be engaged into a project for such an amount of time AND still having the power to keep on working? – Well, now I know”, Doug remembers with a smile.

When THE TWO TOWERS were ready to hit cinemas all around the world, Doug was still working for the American movie music journal Filmscores Monthly. During an interview with Howard Shore and his following in-depth research on the music, he found his love for Shore’s scores for Middle-earth. When THE FELLWOSHIP OF THE RING – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS were released in December of 2005, the liner notes accompanying the CD set stated that his book was due to hit the market in the following year. Yet, nothing happened – until fall 2008.

Disillusioning news made a circuit that the book had been delayed for another year. Fans were less than thrilled. Yet, Doug knew how to allay their wrath: “Thus we have opened another door for some great opportunities. Now we can tie the book’s release to another great publishment.” The book is going to be release alongside with the final Lord Of The Rings audio set THE RARITIES ARCHIVES (scroll down for more info). The package will be released in many different variants. What can fans expect after all?

The Book

As of the book’s preview of April 2009, the book contained 220 pages, packed with everything concerning Howard Shore’s Lord Of The Rings music. “We wanted to cover Howard’s music exclusively. How does it work? What is it composed of (literally)? How does it affect the movie? How did it come into being? We decided early on to solely cover the music rather than the phenomenon that was generated by its impact. However, a comment on the Symphony will be featured in the book’s epilogue.”

The book starts off with a breath-taking drawing by Tolkien-illustrator John Howe, called “Melkor’s Theme”. In his drawing, Howe depicts the music of the Ainur. It is the beginning of the Silmarillion and the beginning of Tolkien’s universe that was created of music. In his opus Howe depicts Melkor’s face for the first time ever. 

A 1.000 word long preface written by Fran Walsh follows. She states that Peter and her have used Howard’s music from earlier movies for mock-ups and previews even before Shore entered the project. Yet, they were not even aware of that music being actually written by Howard Shore. Anyway, they found that is was the style they wished for and hired Howard without further ado. Au naturel she sends him flowers as well: Howard was the best thing that has ever happened to the project. She really appreciates his work and intense dedication into the material. From the reader’s point of view it feels great to have her saying these things to our most cherished composer.

The Book is not just the Special Extended Edition of the Liner Notes and the Annotated Scores. But in addition to that it gives tons of in-depth information and coherence on the structure of the scores. “For example, The History Of The Ring theme, one of the score’s most central themes, is made of 9 notes. When playing these 9 notes all at once, you hear the theme of Ringwraiths”, Doug explains. “Howard’s music has got on incredible depth and spectrum”, he rhapsodizes. “Additionally, there are so many particulars and niceties to it that analyzing that complete chunk really fills a whole book.”

In the course of the following pages, Doug Adams covers the 80+ themes that were developed by Shore. “Honestly, I have never counted them all”, Shore admits during the London Pre-Concert-Lecture. “I write music intuitively. In addition to that I have to confess that I have never been a proper academic.” Doug has picked Shore’s score to pieces and reveals connections between the themes. He also analyzes the tracks of the Complete Recordings and related them to his preceding theme analysis. Reports on the making of the music and the recoding sessions, further info on instruments and instrumentalists must be included as well.

Hence, this book is something very special that will wow LOTR fans as well as academics and admirers of film music. “Even a lover of Wagner’s music will have quite some fun with Doug Adam’s book”, said an awestruck concert-goer. “This is something that has never been done before. It really is amazing being part of this all. We are having some big plans that hopefully will work for us in October”, Doug Adams begs, yet confidently. 

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