Approaching Middle-earth

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Only a week before the spectacular showing of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring In Concert! The NAC Orchestra will be conducted by Erik Ochsner; Laurence Ewashko directs the 130-voice Lord of the Rings Chorus, and soloists include soprano Nancy Allen Lundy and boy soprano Matthew Kronberg.

The following fascinating notes are © Doug Adams, a Chicago-based musician and writer who is the author of the book The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films.

Composer Howard Shore brings J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary imagination to vivid life with his Academy® and GRAMMY® Award-winning score. Shore’s music expresses Peter Jackson’s film as an immense symphonic work — a uniquely developed vision drawn from centuries of stylistic tendencies.

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.

Shore’s score not only captures the film’s sweeping emotion, thrilling vistas and grand journeys, but also echoes the very construction of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Styles, instruments and performers collected from around the world provide each of Tolkien’s cultures with a unique musical imprint. The rural and simple Hobbits are rooted in a dulcet weave of Celtic tones. The mystical Elves merit ethereal Eastern colours. The Dwarves, Tolkien’s abrasive stonecutters, receive columns of parallel harmonies and a rough, guttural male chorus. The industrialized hordes of Orcs claim Shore’s most violent and percussive sounds, including Japanese taiko drums, metal bell plates and chains beaten upon piano wires, while the world of Men, flawed yet noble heirs of Middle-earth, is introduced with stern and searching brass figures. In operatic fashion, these musical worlds commingle, sometimes combining forces for a culminated power, other times violently clashing... and always bending to the will of the One Ring and its own ominous family of themes.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring In Concert runs July 5 - 7

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