Sci-Fi Storm

The Return of the King – The Complete Recordings review

by on Nov.11, 2007, under Audio

Starting heating up your Holiday lists…lots of cool goodies are on their way. For fans of Middle Earth – no, still no high-def release of the movies, but for those who love Howard Shore’s music The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – The Complete Recordings comes out on November 20th. What’s so great about this release? Everything – and Read More for why…

[Note: I reviewed a pre-release copy which may not 100% represent the finished product – some details may change before release]

This 5 disc set is not just a simple re-release of the original soundtrack with a few added in items. The first four discs of which pretty much contain the entire score from The Return of the King from beginning to end, and the fifth disc is a DVD-Audio of the same music in several sound formats (Advanced Resolution Surround Sound, Advanced Resolution Stereo Sound, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and Dolby Digital Stereo Sound).

The remarkable thing about the score is that it literally takes you from end to end of the entire movie. You can follow the movie through each scene and know what is happening. You feel the emotions of the scene through the music. It was like watching the movie again without dialogue or video, but you still knew what was going on. I can’t saw I’ve ever felt that way about any sort of soundtrack before.

Overall, the music differs from the previous scores in the fact that doom no longer appears as a distant object, but an immediate peril and the tone of the score reflects that remarkably.

Another remarkable item is the liner notes. At a whopping 45 pages and written by Doug Adams, who is also the author of the upcoming book, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, it details the score by gathering the tracks into several themes (Elves, Gondor, The One Ring, etc.) so you can trace the various thematic elements, how the music integrates into the scenes, and even the various instruments used for the theme. At the end, even the instruments are given credits, including those that were new for this score. One, the double fiddle (an 8 string violin) was even specifically created for this score, for a scene between Eowen and Aragorn.

Alas, the DVD Audio disc was not ready for review, so I was unable to experience the full surround sound version…I’ll be waiting with the rest of you for November 20th for that.

This CD set has earned its place as my background music while I work, and I have a feeling it will be a long time before anything knocks it out.

Missed the two previous releases? The same treatment has been given to The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Get all three for yourself, or your Hobbit friends…

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