by Matt Margini
Published September 21, 2010
Allow me to begin this week's column with a sexist analogy. A good film score is sort of like a woman's makeup: essential to the experience, but not exactly the first thing that comes to mind.
Think of the moment in the beginning of "The Fellowship of the Ring" when Gandalf asks Bilbo if he will leave the ring behind. He says yes, it's in an envelope on the mantle, but of course it's actually in his pocket. As you watch him talk about it and fondle it lustily, you realize, with Gandalf, that it may have a more powerful hold on him than he would like to admit.
What you may not realize is that within a moment, within the glint of evil in his eye, the music has switched to a variation on Gollum's theme.
That's the kind of thing that Doug Adams — no relation to Douglas — looked at for nearly a decade to produce "The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films," a comprehensive study of Howard Shore's Academy Award-winning score.
In the 416-page, lavishly illustrated tome — set to be released the same week that "The Two Towers" is being super-awesomely screened with a 300-piece orchestra at Radio City Music Hall — Adams will tell you everything you need to know about the theme of the Shire and its deliberately Celtic folk overtones. He'll tell you the difference, musically, between the Third Age (diatonic) and earlier eras (chromatic). He'll tell you how Shore composed — patiently and sensitively, "with this little tattered copy of the book that went every place with him."
His goal is to get people to understand that film music "is something more than simply a collection of moods, ... [READ MORE]