Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hobbit Talk 7 -- Queer Lodgings

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Seven, Queer Lodgings!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Of Books and Release Dates

For a while now, I've remained mum on the subject of the book's release date. Part of this was due to the fact that it's ultimately out of my hands, but part was due to a bit of creative scheming.

When The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films was sidelined last fall, Howard Shore suggested that we look at April to release. We've always wanted to tie the release into a concert because these create a lot of interest -- fans, press, reviews, etc. -- and raise the project's overall profile. Spring's not an ideal time, however. It's not a traditional LOTR month. As I've mentioned before, The Lord of the Rings phenomenon always seems to gain momentum in the fourth quarter of the year. The 'nesting months,' as it were. But Royal Albert's presentation of The Two Towers provided a nice big platform, and had the advantage of being located in the UK. Yes, LOTR is immensely popular the world round but, for whatever reason, the two primary hubs of fandom are the east coast of the US and the whole of England. In fact, when I look at the daily hits on this very blog, I see that very trend reinforced. (Though we seem to be creeping ever-Eastward into Europe day-by-day.)

So April at Royal Albert it was to be... kinda.

We restarted the book production the week after Radio City with the idea that we were aiming for April, but we had a lot of details to sort through first. In the midst of sorting, an interesting announcement reached us. The Return of the King had been pushed up in England and would now debut in September just a week before The Two Towers would play Radio City. This would be a press bonanza that would lead us right into the 2010 holiday season... and that comfy, cozy, all-important fourth quarter. Should we maybe consider that timeframe for the book?

I was of two minds. Would I like the extra time to work? You bet! Did I want to wait a little longer to FINALLY bring the book to market? I could already see the pitchforks on the horizon. No matter how much good will we've established over the years, there's eventually going to come a point where the mob charges you for blood, or gets fed up, heads home, and forgets you.

So we played the waiting game: Let's just see how things progress. We had the production to consider -- everything from design to printers to shipping routes. We had the business end to consider -- how quickly can licensing fees be recouped, can we get it printed in time for the press? And we had the fans to consider. How can we make something really special for those who have stuck with us through thick and thin?

In the end, everything seemed to be pushing us in one direction. Fall 2010 would allow us to hold not one but two premieres -- one at Royal Albert and one at Radio City a few days later. We could involve twice as many fans, hit twice as much press, and hold twice as many appearances and speaking events. And we could really announce the book to the world rather than just tossing it out a half-open window and muttering, "Here ya go... sorry it's late!"

And so -- without making any official announcements quite yet -- this is the current plan. The book will debut in the UK at Royal Albert Hall on September 28 and 29, then in the US at Radio City Music Hall on October 8 and 9. For a first time author and a relatively unique subject matter, this is mind-boggling. This thing had better be good, eh? Anyway, I like the idea of holding two premieres because fewer people will feel left out. I know some fans in the UK and Europe simply can't make it the US, and some fans in the US simply can't make it to the UK. So we'll now come to you!

Before you ask, I don't know how this would relate to book shop or online release dates, but I'll let you know when I do. Since we plan to have the book ready for the press before the premieres, I imagine that it will be available in shops at exactly the same time or a few days later. I don't anticipate any sort of lag.

And just to be clear, yes, The Rarities Archive is still a part of this release. It's not going anywhere!

So now you know what I know. And with that... I'm back to reviewing layout materials. This is going to be a long book!

Friday, February 19, 2010


It's true! As reported in the comments, tickets to the Royal Albert Hall performances of The Return of the King -- Live to Projection are now on sale! Click here in order to procure a few dozen.

I'll be back later in the day to fill you in on this performance... and how it will relate to the book.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jersey Shore

I'm sorry, I couldn't resit the title...

BroadwayWorld.com is reporting that Fellowship Live to Projection is on its way to the great state of New Jersey:

The NJSO builds on its successful partnership with Opera New Jersey, presenting Madama Butterfly in collaboration with the opera company in February. The Orchestra teams with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to present the worldwide success Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring-Howard Shore's award-winning score will be performed live by more than 200 musicians, complimented by a screening of the epic film above the stage.

Interesting! Details to come...

Hobbit Talk 6 -- Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Six, Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Calendar Update

Those of you with keen eyes (and excellent reading glasses) may have noticed that the Lucerne ROTK program posted yesterday listed an event from March 25 to April 3, 2011. The titles says merely, "The Complete Recordings."

Details are coming this summer, but I'll tell you now, this will not be an event to miss! US residents, if the clear skies of Switzerland have ever seemed inviting, this would be a prime opportunity to make a visit.

That's all I'll say for now.

Editing Ring themes in the book today. Busy day!

The Annotated Scores in German

Andy Machals and his crew have spent the past several years translating the Annotated Scores into German. After considerable effort, they've finally completed the task!

If you're a native German speaker, or just want to see what my somewhat decadent writing style looks like in another language, click here!

My sincere congratulations and thanks to Andy and his amazing team!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

ROTK Lucerne in Review

[Last updated Feb 18]

Over the next few days I'll be adding to this post as materials come in from the Lucerne performances earlier this month. Reports and pictures continue to arrive, and by all accounts, it was an amazing experience for everyone involved.

First up, the concert program (many thanks to Basil Böhni both for translating my writing and for for sending the final product):

Next, a series of pictures from friend, Andy Machals... [UPDATE]... and some additional shots from Erez Henya... [UPDATE #2]... and now with pics from the indefatigable Sabsi:

We'll be hearing more from Andy later in the week.

And of course, don't forget Georg's writeup form February 9.

More to come...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hobbit Talk 5 -- Riddles in the Dark

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Five, Riddles in the Dark!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Georg's Lucerne 2010

An in-depth and thoroughly entertaining report from our friend, Georg. Enjoy!

More soon...



I wanted to send you a report about last weekend last night already, but I had just arrived in Munich, and was pretty tired (never get lost on Switzerland's roads, some of them are dark and small ...).

I arrived in Lucerne by car Friday afternoon, and it was a very pleasant drive, not just because the landscape is breathtaking, but also because I live in Munich now and the trip to Lucerne is now considerably shorter! The weather was pretty poor - I was hoping for snow and sunshine, or at least sunshine, but we got rain and NO sunshine. I checked into good old Pickwick, all was well, until I went to pick up my tickets. I was so absolutely 100% sure I had bought tickets for at least Friday or Saturday, so the shock was pretty huge when I found out I had only made a reservation for Monday. I went back to the hotel and was quite depressed, until I remembered what mothers like to say: "if you want something, just ask." So, back to the KKL, and indeed, they had one (!) ticket left for Friday night. Sometimes you just have to believe in fate ;)

Since there was precious little time left, I dressed up - with my "I love HS" button of course - and bumped right into Sabsi, Babsi and Jim, who stood in the middle of the Foyer; and that is an achievement, considering we weren't that lucky with our meet-ups recently.

The pre-concert lecture I found more interesting than last year's. You can actually see Howard Shore blossoming when he is talking about his music, which I find brilliant! I was sitting pretty close to the orchestra, which I actually love, just the choir was a bit low, but that had to do with my seat, since both Jim and Sabsi heard them perfectly. What can you say about the concert? I can't find superlatives anymore, so I won't even try. Sabsi thought Friday's performance was the "weakest" of them, but I couldn't hear much of a difference compared to the other two I attended on Sunday, even though they completely missed the sync point of Sam's arm entering the screen before his fight with Shelob.

At his last count, Jim found 38 additions, but I'm sure he can shed light on this himself. There really are some considerable additions, especially in the first third of the film. For instance, the whole Isengard/Palantir scene has now music, not just new music, but also known music newly placed. One bit I adored was an added choir to the Nature theme when the Rohirrim leave Edoras. With all the care that has gone into repolishing the music for the live performance, I find it an exceedingly odd decision to not put the Complete Recordings version of the Destruction Of Mordor piece back into the film. But that was indeed a minor blemish on an otherwise stellar performance.

After this premiere concert, there was a party on the second (or third?) floor with some singers and the orchestra. Howard Shore and his wife were there, as well as Kaitlyn Lusk and, surprisingly, Sir James Galway, who apparently lives near Lucerne. All four of us were to embarassed to ask for a group picture, so we took turns in taking pictures from a safe distance ... ;) Sabsi, however, got her photo with Kaitlyn Lusk, which lifted her above the clouds for the rest of the night.

Saturday morning, before the official Blog meet-up, I strolled through the town, which I've never actually done before. I can't get over the beauty of this town. But you could actually get lost in there, with all the small alleys. The meet-up later made me really miss last year's. We took a group photo at the lion monument, and sat for quite some time at the KKL's World Cafe (after I've led them to a dead end, sorry about that :)).

My original plan was to leave Sunday morning; after the group split up to get ready for the lecture, I asked whether they had tickets left for Sunday, and again, they had a ticket left for Sunday morning. That's strange, since Friday I was told there were two tickets left for Sunday evening, but they would only give them away together. Naturally, I took it.

Sunday was a bit of a crazy day. I checked out around 9.30, packed my bag into the car and walked back to the KKL for the concert. After that, we had a "healthy" meal at Burger King (Sabsi's first time ;)) and said goodbye to our friend. I mentioned to Sabsi how I was not sure whether I should stay for Sunday night's concert. She said if I really wanted, I could possibly get a ticket if we asked Mr. Zängerle. So I did what every rationally thinking person would do - I flipped a coin. And as I said, you can't fight fate ;)

So, I went back to the Pickwick and checked in again. Ironically, I got the same room. To kill the time before the performance, Sabsi and myself just aimlessly walked around Lucerne and talked a bit, until we found ourselves in a strange industrial area near the KKL, and Sabsi said she no longer felt authorised to be there :)

We met up with Jim again, who apparently overslept the entire last evening (good thing he didn't have a ticket ...), and indeed Sabsi could get me a ticket. I didn't have a good look at it, she just told me "oh, you're sitting right next to me", so I followed her. The ticket lady didn't seem to have any objection, so I thought that was my seat, second gallery, left side. I sat down, the concert started, and I had to go to the bathroom really badly. The ticket lady said it was okay, so I went quickly. When I came back, the door was locked, so I asked someone to let me back in. She glanced at my ticket and led me to the right side of the gallery. I glanced at the ticket, and indeed, the seat was the exact same seat, just on the other side. I tried to convince her to let me in on the other side again, since the seat was empty anyway, but no luck.

At the intermission, Sabsi told me she thought she had scared me away LOL

I thought Sunday's performance was pretty flawless. It started an hour earlier, so the three of us had a drink at the Pickwick afterwards, until 1 am, until they started to move the chairs, so that was obviously a sign to leave.

On Monday, Sabsi, Jim and myself met up again, we sat in Starbucks for almost three hours. Afterwards, Sabsi made the suggestion to visit the Glacier garden. It didn't look very spectacular at first, but the bizarre teddy bear exhibition was quite a looker. One scene, with around 50 bears in a medieval bedroom looked like it came out of a horror movie. Jim was fascinated by the museum's obsession with drunken teddy bears. Not sure what teddy bears have to do with glaciers, though.

Sabsi had the fabulous idea to send a postcard to Howard Shore, and she was indeed wracking her brain to come up with a comment that didn't make her (or US actually) look too much like an obsessive stalker. Not sure if the card will ever arrive ... not sure that's necessarily a bad thing ;) But she made a photo of it to as proof (or evidence ...)

We paid the post office a visit, and then I had to leave, sadly.

The trip back to Munich, as I said, took me on an unexpected route. Apparently, my navigation didn't recognise a newly built stretch of highway, and I tried to outsmart the electronic lady. A good piece of advice: don't do that!

Alright, this report has gone on for far too long. I had a wonderful time, and I send all of you, Sabsi especially, and Jim, and all the others my "thank you" for the great weekend! And, I could have stayed until Tuesday, I found out that our studies for Tuesday were cancelled. Pity.

Next year will be amazing!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Han i vangad i moe ben bango

Pics, reports, news... and answers... soon! Stuck in book mode -- TTT Annotated designs...

Hang in there!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hobbit Talk 4 -- Over Hill and Under Hill

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Four, Over Hill and Under Hill!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Break a Leg, Lucerne

In just over 24 hours Lucerne, Switzerland will host the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King -- Live to Projection.

Though I'm heartbroken to miss the event, I have no doubt it will be an incredibly exciting and moving experience. And anyway, as I've hinted in the past, I don't believe my time in Lucerne has yet come to an end... :)

If you're there this week, please feel free to inundate us with photos and and reports!

And if you're performing in this event, toi toi toi!
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