SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

HOWARD SHORE: The Music for “The Two Towers” (The Lord of the Rings, Pt. II) – Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sheila Chandra & Ben Del Maestro, vocalists/London Oratory School Schola/The London Voices/ Elizabeth Fraser/London Philharmonic/Shore – Reprise

Boxed set of 3 CDs plus entire score on DVD-A in 5.0 surround

Published on November 12, 2006

HOWARD SHORE: The Music for “The Two Towers” (The Lord of the Rings, Pt. II) – Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sheila Chandra & Ben Del Maestro, vocalists/London Oratory School Schola/The London Voices/ Elizabeth Fraser/London Philharmonic/Shore – Reprise
HOWARD SHORE: The Music for “The Two Towers” (The Lord of the Rings, Pt. II) – Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sheila Chandra & Ben Del Maestro, vocalists/London Oratory School Schola/The London Voices/ Elizabeth Fraser/various folk instrumentalists/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Howard Shore – Reprise Records 44376-2, Boxed set of 3 CDs + DVD-A of entire contents (45 tracks) in 48K 5.0 surround or 2.0 stereo, (CD1 – 63:14, CD2 – 64:09, CD3 – 61:21, DVD-A – 3:08:31) ****:

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a DVD-Audio disc to review here, so this set went straight to this section, though it could easily also qualify for the DualDisc section or even await another of our Soundtrack features to be covered.  No it’s not 96K surround but perhaps that wouldn’t have allowed all 45 tracks included across the three CDs to be on the single DVD-A, and the sonics are quite good. In fact the music is thrilling when the vocal and choral voices come at you from both front and rear, plus the added spice of the various ethnic instruments.

The beautifully-designed included booklet analyzes the music, but not in a linear, track-by-track fashion, making it rather difficult to follow along as you listen to the lengthy score. (This is not one of those movies where the majority of the running time has no music whatever on the soundtrack.)  The music is not composed in a Wagnerian style but uses the leitmotif approach heavily thruout.  For example the various Gollum themes are discussed together though they are heard on different tracks thruout the score. Same for the themes for the Wizard, the Hobbits, and so forth.  John Williams’  Star Wars music did this, but not to the involved degree of Shore’s score. As another example, the theme for the Orcs is not developed in the usual musical manner, but serves to illustrate the evil expansion of these brutal creatures by parasitically attaching itself to the themes of the Hobbits and the other good guys in the tale. With remote in hand you can study the booklet, jump around to the different tracks indicated, and experience a fascinating musicological workshop on Shore’s score. Of course if you are limited to listening to the CDs you will need a changer or to get up frequently.

It’s unfortunate that Reprise doesn’t offer a single DVD-A version of the score since this set retails for a suggested $75.  And that it isn’t 96K instead of 48K. Otherwise I found it very worthwhile listening, even though I missed out on the soundtrack to the first film and am not an avid Tolkien fan.

 
Track Listings

Disc: 1
1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Glamdring
2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Elven Rope
3. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Lost in Emyn Muil
4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/My Precious
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Ugluk’s Warriors
6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Three Hunters
7. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Banishment of Éomer
8. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Night Camp
9. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Plains of Rohan
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Fangorn
11. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Dead Marshes
12. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/”Wraiths on Wings”
13. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Gandalf the White
14. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Dreams of Trees
15. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Heir of Numenor
16. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Ent-Draught

Disc: 2

1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Edoras
2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Court of Neduseld
3. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Theoden King (Featuring “The Funeral
4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The King’s Decision
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Exodus from Edoras
6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Forests of Ithilian
7. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/One of the Dunedain (Featuring “Evens
8. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Wolves of Isengard
9. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Refuge at Helm’s Deep
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Voice of Saruman
11. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Arwen’s Fate (Featuring “The Grace of
12. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Story Foretold
13. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Sons of the Steward
14. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Rock and Pool
15. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Faramir’s Good Council

Disc: 3
1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Aragorn’s Return
2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/War Is Upon Us
3. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/”Where Is the Horse and the Rider?”
4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Host of the Eldar
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Battle of the Hornburg
6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Breach of the Deeping Wall
7. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Entmoot Decides
8. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Retreat (Featuring “Haldir’s Lament”)
9. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Master Peregrin’s Plan
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Last March of the Ents
11. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Nazgûl Attack
12. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/Théodon Rides Forth
13. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/The Tales That Really Matter
14. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/”Long Ways to Go Yet” (Featuring “Gol

Disc: 4 - All 45 tracks, (Entire Score) on  DVD-DVD-Audio 5.1 or 2.0

 - John Sunier




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