Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eclipse Available

A quick reminder that Howard Shore's score to Eclipse is available on CD today. Click here and brave the mighty Amazon!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Photos by Cosima Clara Gillhammer

Dates and Thanks

So, I took about a week off from blog activities ... anything interesting happen while I was gone? :)

I've been checking in from time to time, and quickly tossed the Return of the Jacksons? post on line, but I mostly wanted to wait and collect my thoughts so that I could say a proper 'thank you' to the incredible outpouring of goodwill I've received in the past week.

I understand why most people are content to run productions quietly behind closed doors. People, as it turns out, aren't the pessimistic grumps the press would make us out to be. In fact, I'd say we're a society of optimists. Dangerous, terrifying optimists! The less I say about the book, the better people assume it's going to be -- a tailor-made volume that satisfies each reader's particular wants. Every behind-the-scenes glimpse I provide gives birth to a thousand extrapolations, each of which nudges the bar higher.

I love that this pushes me. I love that it keeps me focused and attentive. But boy, is it scary!

Releasing the cover was a big step. (Btw, technically that's the dustjacket, not the cover. Semantics!) I'm incredibly proud of it. And if you think it looks good on a screen, you should see it in person. But I had to brace myself and grit my teeth before posting -- because at that point, public perception is wrested from my hands. Much as history belongs to the victors, art belongs to its audience.

And this is where I say thank you. Thank you for your kindness, thank you for your compliments, and thank you for supporting something that's been in my life for so long -- in one incarnation or another -- that I feel its a part of me. I'm thrilled beyond words that the jacket has been so warmly received because, in a lot of ways, it represent the feel of the entire piece.

I'm going to cut myself short here -- who needs all this soggy sentimentality! But we're also at the beginning of a new journey now, and there's little point in looking backward at the moment.

The book is officially at the printers. It is coming off presses in large, poster-sized sheets as I type. An internal sales sheet is in the distributors' hands, and they're already meeting on it, deciding on avenues of publicity. We already have one book signing locked into the schedule with many more to come. The release dates are tentatively set, and will be announced with an upcoming press release. Pre-orders, as I think I've noted, will begin in July. Amazon's sample pages are already selected and are awaiting approval.

And there are concerts aplenty to come! If you'll look at the right sidebar, you'll notice I've added a number of upcoming performances. I can't say with absolute certainty which of those performances I'll be attending -- right now I have London (RAH), New York (RCMH), and the Howard Shore Festival in Lucerne locked in with more to come --- but the book should be a fixture at each and every.

This summer's schedule should be interesting. Next month will be pretty big for us as we make sure that the world-at-large knows we have this book on the horizon. We'll be pretty quiet in August, then September we'll start into the truly terrifying word of review copies and ads.

If I get nervous revealing materials here on my own blog, I can't imagine how that will feel!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Return of the Jacksons?

I'm neither confirming nor denying this report from deadline.com, merely passing it along. I get the sense it could be of interest:

EXCLUSIVE: In what amounts to a dream come true for fans of Middle Earth, Peter Jackson has decided to direct two installments of The Hobbit, trusted sources are telling me. His deal is being negotiated right now with Warner Bros , New Line and MGM.

He will shortly take the reins over from Guillermo del Toro, after Jackson extricates himself from other project obligations that caused Jackson and manager Ken Kamins to initially deny he would be the director. While Jackson’s camp has been tight-lipped, I’m told that the case is being made to MGM's owners to loosen the purse strings and make the movies happen. The impetus for these talks is that Jackson will be the director of both of The Hobbit films, which will be shot back-to-back in his New Zealand backyard.

Despite Jackson camp denials that directing was a consideration, there were high hopes that Jackson would helm since del Toro bowed out. More recently, there have been major clues, despite the denials. While several directors have angled for the job--the most recent rumors focused on David Yates and Jackson's District 9 protege Neill Blomkamp--no offer was ever made. I think that's because Jackson was figuring out if he wanted to direct two more films, and Kamins had to pave the way once he decided to continue the saga he started with The Lord of the Rings. It became more evident lately, when he, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens scheduled a trip to London the week of July 4, followed by a trip to Los Angeles the following week, to meet the most impressive actors who’ve been put on tape by casting directors. Jackson, Walsh and Boyens wrote the scripts with del Toro. But if someone else was directing, wouldn’t that filmmaker be brought aboard before those casting decisions were made?

More to come...

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films

Ladies and gentlemen, after many hard years of labor, it gives me great pleasure to present to you The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films!

What you're seeing here is our full dustjacket, which features an all new piece of art by Alan Lee, "The Music of Gwaihir." Alan was kind enough to step temporarily away from his duties on The Hobbit in order to create this sketch for us. Our entire production is forever indebted to both Alan Lee and John Howe for their tireless support and endless creativity.

Our goal for the jacket art was to find something that represented both a strong musical moment in Shore's conception of the story, and the overwhelming positivity inherent to Tolkien's work. This white and gold jacket will be spot varnished over the title and author, and will fit over a black and gold embossed cloth cover with gold head and tail bands.

The piece also fits in with our conception of the book's interior ... but you'll have to wait and see what I mean on that one!

I've placed an additional view at the Twitter and Facebook pages, so feel free to do a little poking around. I've found this to be a very delicate piece, and it doesn't always show up as well on monitors as it does in person. So by all means, please click for a larger view, then investigate the the additional angle -- they will likely help form a picture in your mind.

Our upcoming press release will contain all the information you're looking for: publisher, page previews, pre-order info, etc. July will be a busy month for us, believe me! However, all involved felt that our blog community should get the first look at our new jacket art. We're incredibly proud of the way it came out. Thank you again to Alan Lee for the incredible -- and quite moving -- artwork, and to Gary Day-Ellison for his vision and skill in assembling the pieces.

We are just getting started, folks. Hang on tight, this is the fun part!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Shore to be FĂȘted in Munich

I'd originally linked to this via Twitter, but several people have had trouble accessing Variety's page. I've posted the original article below for those unable to access Variety today:

Shore scores honor in Munich
Cinema in Concert showcases film composers

The 28th Munich Film Festival is kicking off this year with a musical prelude that will present works from the likes of Ennio Morricone, John Williams and Maurice Jarre and also honor special guest Howard Shore.

The Munich Radio Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Choir, under the direction of maestro Ulf Schirmer, will present excerpts from such classics as "Once Upon a Time in the West," "Star  Wars" and "Doctor Zhivago" as well as from Vangelis' score for "1492: Conquest of Paradise," Jerry Goldsmith's "First Knight" and Miklos Rozsa's "Ben- Hur."

Shore will be on hand at the Cinema in Concert to receive the first-ever Film Music Prize, presented by pubcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk and international distrib Telepool.

The concert will also include selections from Shore's compositions for "The Lord of the Rings," "The Aviator" and "The Fly."

Taking place at Munich's Circus Krone, the Cinema in Concert will top off an entire day devoted to film music.

Organized by Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Filmtonart: Day of Music event includes panels and discussions on wide-ranging topics, from the importance of music in film to music rights and the future legacy of today's film scores.

Guest speakers include composers Reinhold Heil ("Deadwood"), Ralf Wengenmayr ("Vicky the Viking") and Enjott Schneider and director Christian Petzold ("Jerichow").

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Music of The LOTR Films in the LA Times

In honor of the LA Opera's ongoing Wagner festival, the estimable Jon Burlingame has penned a piece for the LA Times on Wagner's far-reaching influence in the world of film music.

Flatteringly, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films gets a mention! Thank you, Jon!

You can read Burlingame's full article here.


Cast your eyes, if you would, toward Gollum at top right. Seems he's been moderately successful in drawing the book out of his shopping bag!

Remember, the full cover reveal is coming Monday, so you only have to put up with these annoying teases for a few more days .... !

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Designer/Art Director on The Music of the LOTR Films

Gary Day-Ellison, our much-valued, much-trusted designer/art director/friend, has posted his own teaser on The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films:

Alan Lee, concept artist on all three movies, once told me that each actor in the Elvish army had an individual spell, in Elvish, painted on the inside of their breast-plate, over the heart, for protection in battle. No-one saw it. And that is the point. The suspension of disbelief is total. And that carries all the way through to the audience. Keeps it real.

Before I get lost in enthusiasm (that happens). I want to change tack to technology. I am under a publishers' embargo not to show The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films yet. Must respect that. Hence the wee teaser image above. Maybe more about the design in a later Post. Back story: In 2009 the book design (anon) had been completed. Then they binned it. Totally. In the name of quality. Blimey. No pressure then.

Read Gary's full piece on his new blog. And feel free to subscribe, as he'll be revealing more over the next few weeks as well!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roots and New Beginnings

Good day, one and all!

The blog is back and, unless you haven't yet hit 'refresh' on your browser, showing its new face. I told you that this summer would be all about turning corners, and today we turn a major one. This blog is no longer chronicling the creation of a book/album. We're now preparing to discuss a completed product!

Now, technically we're still in our beta phase, so we'll be rolling out information as we go. But then, you didn't think I'm be completely forthcoming with all this, right? What I can tell you is that we have a 416-page hardcover book packed with music examples, score pages, film stills and artwork from John Howe and Alan Lee. Living in the back cover is a 23-track CD featuring unused, alternate, and early-draft music from FOTR, TTT, and ROTK ... and even a little discussion with Howard Shore and myself. The book and CD will be released this fall in a single package available worldwide.

As for our humble blog, we've tried to rework the appearance to better fit the book's new look, which features Gondorian white and the Ring's rich gold. Our new header actually features Alan Lee's original cover sketch, so we're leaving that blurred until next Monday, June 21, the first day of summer. But if you want another look, keep your eyes on Gollum's shopping bag at the blog's top left. We'll reveal a little bit more of the cover every couple of days for those who find next Monday too far off.

You'll also notice permanent links to the Twitter feed, and a new Facebook fan page for the book at left. A big, goofy picture of my head is at right, and I'm in the process of retooling the FAQ.

The blog's usual combination of commentary, news, and nonsense will continue unabated, but also be on the lookout for upcoming book and Rarities previews.

We've made it, folks! The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films is a reality!

Ongoing Discussion Thread [June, 2010]

Plenty to talk about this month, so please have at it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ring and I

You're not going to do any better than that title, I guess. Please see the below piece, relayed from the LA Times, regarding an upcoming KCRW-FM broadcast on Wagner's Ring Cycle:


KCRW-FM to broadcast 'The Ring and I'

Los Angeles Opera's production of "The Ring of the Nibelung" is a challenging and artistically far-out staging that is likely to be confusing for newcomers to the 19-hour (including intermissions) epic cycle.

So where can beginners go to get their feet wet in Richard Wagner's Rhine River? A good place to start is the radio program "The Ring and I" that KCRW-FM (89.9) will broadcast on Sunday at 11 a.m. The show, which originally aired on WNYC, was created to coincide with the Metropolitan Opera's "Ring" cycle in 2004.

"The Ring and I: The Passion, the Myth, the Mania" features interviews with a number of notable operatic and cultural figures including Tony Kushner and Howard Shore. Also featured in the show are Seattle Opera's Speight Jenkins, New Yorker critic Alex Ross, Jungian psychologist Laurie Layton Schapia and guitarist Gary Lucas.

The Met's "Ring" was directed by Otto Schenk, who brought a literal interpretation of the cycle to the New York stage. The opera company retired the production last season and will start debuting a new "Ring" directed by Robert Lepage next season.

L.A. Opera's production is directed by Achim Freyer, a Berlin-based visual artist and experimental stage director. His colorfully abstract interpretation eschews narrative storytelling and, as a result, has divided audiences and critics. Even two of the lead singers have expressed dissatisfaction with the staging.

"The Ring and I" attempts to demystify Wagner's epic while also highlighting the opera's connections to pop culture and rock music.

-- David Ng


If anyone is able to record the broadcast, please let me know!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Watford Redux

Watford Town Hall, where the majority of the LOTR score was recorded, has just been closed down for refurbishment, and is not scheduled to re-open for another year or so. Sven was on hand today to give us our last look at the inside until the work is complete.

I haven't been back to Watford since 2003, but it's already apparent from these pictures that it'll be quite a different place after its reworking. Those of you looking for a reference point should check out the Making Of docs on the DVDs, or any of Ben Ealovega's wonderful black and white photography in the Complete Recordings booklets.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Proof Proofing

Hobbit Talk 17 -- The Clouds Burst

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 Seventeen, The Clouds Burst!

First Gleaming

Mark Morton of Examiner.com has written to alert us to his brief interview with Howard Shore on Twilight: Eclipse. As far as I'm aware, it's the first time Shore has spoken publicly about his newest work.

Thanks, Mark!


My name is Mark Morton (Soundtracks Examiner at Examiner.com). I just wanted to drop you a line to share with you an exclusive interview I recently obtained with three-time Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore, where we discuss his work on ECLIPSE. Interestingly, towards the end, your new book received a plug! You can read the story here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Twilight Tracklist

Always good to have a little sunshine after a stormy weekend.

1. Riley
2. Compromise/Bella’s Theme
3. Bella’s Truck/Florida
4. Victoria
5. Imprinting
6. The Cullens Plan
7. First Kiss
8. Rosalie
9. Decisions, Decisions…
10. They’re Coming Here
11. Jacob Black
12. Jasper
13. Wolf Scent
14. Mountain Peak
15. The Kiss
16. The Battle/Victoria vs. Edward
17. Jane
18. As Easy As Breathing
19. Wedding Plans
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