Monday, May 9, 2011

Macarthur Chronicle on Sydney FOTR

Mordor, he wrote: SSO and The Lord Of The Rings
9 May 11 @ 04:43pm by STEVE MOFFATT

From the rustic playfulness of the Shire to the vicious hammering Orc factories of Isengard, Howard Shore’s Oscar-winning music for Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings film trilogy covers ground with a symphonic sweep.

Celtic modes and rhythms are perfect for the Hobbits, while faintly Arabic orchestral phrases seem just right for the Elvish lands of Lothlorien.

The Dwarves are given lots of bass and angular rhythms while the elusive Gollum - very much in the background in the first episode, The Fellowship Of The Ring, which featured in this concert - seems unsubstantial as he slithers in the dark damp depths.

Then there are the landscapes - the majestic mountains and menacing caves, still rivers and turbulent rapids - all needing some musical brush strokes.

Finally, of course, there are the characters themselves. Frodo and his three Hobbit companions, Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins and the other heroes and villains, all needing to be scored.

Like the films, the soundtrack was a massive and complex undertaking and you only realise how ambitious and successful it is when you hear it performed live as a three-hour piece with orchestra and choirs.

The audience’s attention is still locked on the big screen at the back of the Opera House’s concert hall stage, but the music is an equal partner, rather than a barely noticed complement to the action.
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