Howard Shore, the original composer of the Lord of the Rings score, said that about 140 orchestras around the world have caught on to the global trend of performing the Lord of the Rings music – the score has been performed in Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Europe, Australia, the US, and Canada.
“Lord of the Rings was written for large forces,” says Shore. “It has a large symphonic orchestra, a large chorus, a large children’s chorus. ... Add the imagery from the screen and the story and you are taken to Middle Earth. ... As long as you’re willing to be transported.”
He describes himself as a serious Tolkien fan, stating that he has tried to preserve much of the music from the books in his film scores. “I love Tolkien. I read a bit almost every day. […] I tried to put back into the films the songs and the poems that were so much a part of the book.”
Shore made use of a variety of choirs to give voice to Tolkien’s languages – for Moria, which is home to Orcs and Dwarves, he used a men’s choir; he used a women’s choir to represent the Elves; for Hobbits and the Ring itself, he used a children’s choir. Additionally, he has brought in instruments from diverse cultures and locations, such as Ireland, northern Europe, Africa, Japan, and India.
“The greatness of Tolkien is that he shows you the four points of the compass,” he explains. “What I tried to do was show, in music terms, a world that was 5000 years old, at the very beginnings of music. That’s why the voices were so central.”
Shore’s work on The Lord of the Rings films, which took three years and nine months of continuous work to complete, earned him three Academy Awards, an Oscar for Best Original Song (The Return of the King’s “Into the West,” performed by Annie Lennox), and worldwide recognition.
In August, he will begin recording the score for The Hobbit films, the pressure of which will prevent him from attending the Ottawa performance. Regarding his approach, he is careful not to give anything away, other than to say that, “If you like the scores to the other films, you’ll like the way I’m approaching The Hobbit.”
He was coy when asked if some of the music for The Hobbit will hint at The Lord of the Rings.
“I have crafty little ways of dropping bits here and there. There are characters that are in both, Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond. It’s so connected to The Lord of the Rings.”
Tickets for The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert are currently on sale via Ticketmaster and the NAC’s website (www.nac-cna.ca) for $75, $90, and $115.