“One of the things that I was interested in in film is that it allowed me so many opportunities to work with great orchestras, to work with great artists and soloists and allowed me a lot of experimentation in using the recording studio,” Shore says. “Music has always been my love and I’m just constantly searching and looking for new ways to really express my ideas in music. And I think that’s why I’m writing, and the family, it’s pretty much everything I do.”
He cites Toru Takemitsu’s work as one of the composers that inspires him. “In the history of film, which now goes back 100 years, there’s just a whole long tradition of music — going back to silent films, which were never silent. There has always been a strong connection and you feel part of the history of it,” he adds.
The LOTR symphony is now stands alone and is regularly performed around the world, as opposed to being experienced within the context of the movies, sometimes alongside of work of Strauss, Wagner, Sibelius. It’s become as well-known a theme as Orf’s Carmina Burana or John Williams’ Star Wars score.
“It’s gone out into the world. It’s exciting!” Shore enthuses. “Because I feel that they’re always community projects, they’re always played by the local orchestra and the local chorus, quite often a community chorus, there’s a children’s chorus. You have 300, 400 people in these chorales, learning Tolkien’s several languages. It really becomes a part of the community for a couple of weeks or a month.”
Will his score for The Hobbit be a companion piece to the LOTR masterpiece, a musical continuity? “Well you know,” he demurs, “we’re in Middle-earth – a story that Tolkien wrote in the 1930s before he wrote Lord of the Rings, well before it was published.”
“It has a lot of connections,” he’ll admit. “It takes place before, but there’s a lot of referencing to the Ring. But it is a different story, it’s a lighter story, it’s about a different group of Middle-earth inhabitants, residents, so…”
Even just dipping a toe in the online and in-print appreciation of the Lord of the Rings films is, frankly, daunting. Particularly when Doug Adams has written the definitive, in-depth analysis of Lord of the Rings music and process; it’s possibly the most important study of a film score ever published. Let alone the three gleaming golden Oscars that perch in Shore’s studio. “It’s an honour to be awarded that coveted award,” he says, “but my day to day life is still the same,” Shore says. “I always look forward, not back.”