Shore, Galway, and Jackson - Oh My! Apr 8, 2016
I have been in love with movie soundtracks since, lo these many years ago, I acquired a vinyl recording of John Williams' "Jaws." After that, I seemed to love every soundtrack he made: "Close Encounters," the "Star Wars" first trilogy (Eps 4, 5, and 6 for purists), especially "ET," to name a few. But as they've said in Great Britain: "The King is dead; long live The King." It seems as if Howard Shore has replaced Mr. Williams in my heart. I went to see "Fellowship" with something of mixed feelings. I read Tolkien's great tale while in high school (same time that "Jaws" was everywhere) and loved it so much I turned right around after Samwise came home (readers and filmgoers will know what I mean) and started it over again. I guess I've read it in its entirety more than a dozen times. So needless to say I had images in my head of what Middle Earth and its characters looked like, and what the music for the poems sounded like. But I thought I'd take a chance with "Fellowship" and it paid off big-time. Some of the people who read the book and didn't love it claimed (to me, anyway) that the long descriptive passages were (gasp!) boring. Probably they went to see the film and adored it. I won't say that my visuals matched those in the film; probably not having ever been in New Zealand, they couldn't match. But I came out of the theatre thinking "Well done, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Shore!" The music fit the visuals just perfectly. Well now it's time to talk about "Return of the King." That film came out in December of 2003, and it's April of 2016. I have watched the films at least twice, but only now acquired the soundtracks of "Fellowship" (Enya rules!) and "Return of the King." The music in this last is so perfectly in harmony with the film that I had no trouble recalling the visuals, even with all the time that has passed. I was also thrilled to discover that Sir James Galway, flautist supreme, was the soloist on three selections: "The Black Gate Opens," "The Return of the King," and "The Grey Havens." I didn't know his work in 2003, but have discovered him in the last few years. What a bonus! Lastly, a critic claimed that Annie Lennox's "Into the West" was not necessary. Yes it is; if you've read the book, you'd recognize Tolkien's words in the song and know what they mean. And if you can't figure out that the words are intended to spell out where Frodo and the rest are going, maybe you should read the book. Plus Annie sings beautifully, so why not end a beautiful soundtrack with a beautiful song?