Saturday, July 23, 2011

Howard Shore on kuha fm

Howard Shore chats with Brad Sayles of 97.1 classical, Houston Public Radio. Take a listen below; see the original 97.1 kuha fm post HERE; download your own copy of the audio HERE.

We chat with film composer, Howard Shore, about his Academy Award-winning score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The Houston Symphony screens that full-length film, and accompanies the cinematic action with a live performance of the score, Friday and Saturday night at Jones Hall!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Soundscapes of Middle-earth Pt. 7

Culture Map Houston

Gollum gets his own orchestra:
Houston Symphony takes on the magic of Lord of the Rings
By Joel Luks
07.22.11 | 02:24 pm

The practice of coupling live music with film is as old as the history of film itself, dating back to 1895, when movies by the Lumière Brothers were screened publicly. For smaller venues, pianists improvised from the classical repertoire, adding what was viewed at the time as a necessary layer of emotional content. Larger theaters had an organist or resident ensemble.

It would be unconceivable to have movies without live music. In time, technology changed that with the "talkies" in 1927, when live music took a backseat to audible dialog. Oh, the good ole days.

As film scores and soundtracks evolved, certain films will always be remembered and identified by their music. Think of the memorable tunes by John Williams in Schindler's List and any of the Indiana Jones movies, John Corigliano's The Red Violin, Phillip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi, Ennio Morricone's The Mission and Michael Kamen's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Do you have any favorites?

This weekend, Houston has Jones Hall and the Houston Symphony providing the premier cinematheque, bringing to life Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with music by Canadian composer Howard Shore — he also wrote the music for The Silence of the Lambs, The Last of the Mohicans and Gangs of New York.

Wicki believes that Lord of the Rings without music, would lose much of its emotional content.

It was the trilogy's epic score that won the 64-year old his first Oscar — and his second and third. In all, Shore has four Grammys, three Golden Globes, those three Academy Awards and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. Could Lord of the Rings be this century's Star Wars?

Imagine a colossal silver screen showing the movie, hovering over a battery of 250 musicians — orchestra, chorus, soprano soloist and conductor — who fill the air of the theater with highly programmatic music, sweeping you away to the fantastical land of Tolkien. In the Second Age of Middle-earth, hobbit Frodo Baggins begins his Homeric odyssey from The Shire en route to Mordor to finally destroy the Ring.

The journey is emotionally, physically and psychologically intense, words that can also be used to describe the feat of the performers on stage.

To carry off such an endeavor, Houston Symphony is bringing 21st Century Symphony Orchestra conductor Ludwig Wicki. He led the projection debut of Fellowship the Ring in April of 2008 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and conducts many silent films.

"What fascinates me is to see pictures and give them mood, atmosphere, drama and a mixture of different feelings with music," Wicki says. "The fans know the music so well so my goal is to perform it just like it is in the film, supporting the same feelings and atmosphere. That's my job. The film is the leader."

Wicki believes that Lord of the Rings without music, would lose much of its emotional content.

"I know Howard," he says. "He is a composer that strongly supports the ideas of the film. He feels what it needs in music and adds to the scene, connecting with the dramatic content very well."

Joining him is 22-year-old soprano soloist Kaitlyn Lusk, who has been the featured soloist in live performances of the film's music since 2004 and has been singing with orchestras since she was 14.

"All of us in the production — myself, Ludwig and those of us that tour included — we are Lord of the Rings nerds whether we like it or not," Lusk says. "We can literally quote every single part of the movie."

Originally, there were over 16 different singers over the course of the three movies. The live productions required someone who could cover all the different kinds of voices and characters that Shore had incorporated.

"I get to ride the different story lines," Lusk says. "The movie has really deepened for me because I live in the music."

Houston Symphony's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has concerts Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Jones Hall. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased on the Houston Symphony's website. 

See the original HERE.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


29-95.com has posted a friendly reminder that LOTR: FOTR Live will play Houston, Texas this coming weekend. And since they've kindly given a shout-out to the Music of LOTR book, I feel obliged to link to their helpful article:


If you glance at the Houston Symphony’s recent “Pops” schedule, you might think these film-plus-live-orchestra programs are getting to be a hobbit. In this case, you’d be right. It’s a full-length screening of the epic, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, with its orchestral score played by the Houston Symphony, under conductor Ludwig Wicki.

More than 250 musicians and singers will perform the original score composed by Howard Shore for the first film of the trilogy. Wicki, the orchestra and chorus follow the beginning of Frodo and Sam’s epic quest.

The music of The Lord of the Rings is counted among film music’s most complex and comprehensive works.

“This unique performance sets the score to the film, but allows the music to bear the narrative weight, creating a wholly new and dramatic live concert experience,” writes Doug Adams, author The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films. when 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday where Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana tickets $20-$112 info 713-224-7575

See the original post right HERE.

Ravinia Newsletter

LOTR: FOTR Live to Projection is headlining the most recent Ravinia Newsletter, which, of course, gives me the perfect excuse to remind everyone that I'll be signing The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films before the performance each night.

What's more, Ravinia's ticketing page has all the pertinent details in place already:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Ludwig Wicki, Conductor
The Lakeside Singers
Chicago Chorale
Chicago Children's Choir
Kaitlyn Lusk, Soprano

$50 reserved
$25 lawn
Ticket & dining package $65

Compare: our price is less than half that of other venues with this show; and we have the CSO!


Doug Adams author of the book The Music of the Lord of the Rings will participate in book signings prior to the August 18 and 19 CSO Lord of the Rings—The Fellowship of the Ring performances at 6:45 p.m. in front of Ravinia Gifts.

Gates open at 5:00 PM

Click above to order, and I hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Meet Thorin and his band, courtesy TheOneRing.net, which has released the final Dwarf bio/image today. 

Click the pic for a very, very large version, and be sure to check out TORN's message boards for the latest hullabaloo. And, of course,  feel free to carry the discussion back here, should you feel the onset of a musical extrapolation.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BookGuide Review

It's been a while since we've run a new(ish) review of Music of the LOTR Films ... and yes, I know you folk are all scrutinizing Hobbit pictures for details today, but I thought this was a nice piece and wanted to be sure to post a link. My thanks to BookGuide for the kind words!

"This is a marvelous accompaniment to the Lord of the Rings film trilogy ... The book includes a CD with rare musical bits and alternate tracks from the recording sessions ... lavishly illustrated with photos and art from the films ... if you are a LotR fan, a fan of orchestral movie soundtracks, or a musical history fan, it's right up your alley. I enjoyed it tremendously!"

Read the full piece HERE.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Work to Debut in Ontario

Vocal ensemble musica intima, along with cellists Denise Djokic and Julian Armour, will debut a Howard Shore's new setting of his music for The Betrayal next Wednesday and Thursday, July 13 and 14, at Knox Presbyterian Church in Ottawa, Ontario. Details are available below, tickets are available right HERE (approx. half-way down the page).

July 13 @ 8 p.m.
July 14 @ 2 p.m.

Knox Presbyterian Church
120 Lisgar Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Tracksounds Podcast: More of the Ring

Last weekend I was a guest on Tracksounds.com's excellent podcast, the SoundCast. In celebration of the recent Blu-Ray release of the LOTR Extended Editions, the One Ring was back on the table. This was, I believe, the first time I've done one of these things with people who have actually read all the way through The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films. I'm sure I'd have had a great time regardless, but this made my job quite easy. Thanks for that, gents!

To hear the podcast, just pop over to Tracksound's official podcast page, or download the MP3 right HERE.

Monday, July 4, 2011

ROTK set for Lyon, France

Updated July 5

The Return of the King: Live to Projection will play in Lyon, France for five dates this coming July. Additional details are available HERE and HERE, as well as below.  Perhaps more importantly, tickets are available HERE.

And while we're on the subject, you should be aware that Maestro Ludwig Wicki will conduct the Orchestre National de Lyon in a concert of film music this coming November. Details on that show -- which looks fantastic -- are available HERE.

LOTR: The Return of The King Live 
Orchestre National de Lyon
Ludwig Wicki, Conductor
Auditorium de Lyon, Lyon, France
Friday, July 6th 2012
Saturday, July 7th 2012
Sunday, July 8th 2012
Tuesday, July 10th 2012
Wednesday, July 11th 2012

"Great Gardens for Cello and Orchestra"

Cellist Sophie Shao, along with the American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leon Botstein, will premiere Howard Shore's cello concerto, Great Gardens for Cello and Orchestra, on April 27, 2012 in New York.

This is not yet on the ASO's website, but details and ticketing information will likely be available soon.

Many thanks to Shore2Shore, who found the listing on Shao's representation's website. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ongoing Discussion [July 2011]

In a rare fit of organization, I'm actually posting July's Ongoing Discussion board on July 1st. Will wonders never cease!

While most of my work this month remains under wraps, I can roll out announcement today.

On August 18 and 19 the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform The Fellowship of the Ring: Live to Projection at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL (just north of the city proper). Before each evening's performance, I will be signing The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films from 6:45 to 7:20 in the gift shop, Ravinia Gifts.

I'm incredibly excited to see Ludwig Wicki lead my hometown orchestra -- one of the world's greatest, if I do say so -- in Shore's magnificent score. And I'm doubly excited to be able to participate!

Ravinia Tickets are available HERE.

If you live anywhere near the Midwest you owe it to yourself to drop by! Ravinia Festival is an outdoor festival venue with very excellent acoustics -- not always the case with outdoor theaters/lawns -- and entirely appropriate for family outings.

And, of course, if you haven't yet picked up the book, here's the perfect excuse.

We should see a small flurry of press opportunities related to Ravinia ... and who knows, maybe I'll drop some additional news here and there while I'm at it!

Back soon,

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