As I approach the end of work on The Trilogy, my mind races back to my first trip to Wellington, New Zealand, now three years ago. I recall my first impressions of the creativity and commitment that has been the foundation of this massive undertaking. The awe and wonder I experienced on that very first visit has stayed with me right through the end. It has been such a wonderful world to live in, Middle-earth. This project has been the most challenging of my career and yet the most fulfilling. As Bilbo says, “It’s dangerous business Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and if don’t keep your feet there is no knowing where you might be swept on to.” I was swept off in the most exhilarating way.
My feelings at the end are bittersweet. It will be very hard to leave Middle-earth and the extraordinary people I have come to know and love. Peter Jackson, whose dedication, focus and patience have been a constant and whose influence has driven my work to new heights. Fran Walsh, whose heart and humor has been a source of inspiration and joy. Philippa Boyens, whose keen intellect, insights and friendship have contributed immensely to my process. The exceptional music crew we assembled to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task has been incomparable. The camaraderie of the entire cast has demonstrated a true fellowship. And there are so many others.
Then, as I prepared to depart for the U.K. to record the final film “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” I opened a fortune cookie. It read, “It is good to begin well; it s better to end well.” This simple phrase has come to mind often as I approach the end of this epic project. I consider the idea of ending well and I believe that we all have felt a great spirit leading us and guiding us to the finish. We all focused on perfecting the small details of our work each day in the hope that, together, they would produce a wonderful whole, a complete world to experience and for generations to enjoy. We worked seriously and steadily, but always with good humor.
And now I put down my pen only momentarily, as I think about and look forward once again to the extended cut of “The Return of the King” and another recording to take place in March. And, of course, one holds the dream of a Hobbit’s tale. Many thanks for listening.
HOWARD SHORE Composer
It is difficult to describe my feelings, as we near the completion of recording the score for “The Return of the King”; here at the end of the trilogy; “here at the end of all things.” As director of “The Lord of the Rings,” I have been truly blessed in making these films, but of the many gifts that have come to me, the one I treasure most, is meeting Howard Shore and the creative partnership and personal friendship we have been able to share over the past four years.
Howard has become more than a friend and collaborator on this project; through his music he has given unique life to the landscape of images and diverse cultures that constitute the world of Middle-earth. More importantly, Howard has always understood the emotional truth that lies at the center of this story and he has succeeded in drawing the audience into the very heart of its beauty, heroism and sadness. Howard’s music weaves seamlessly from image to image, scene to scene, film to film, binding score, characters and story into the rich tapestry of a far bigger and more complex picture. This has been his great strength as a composer, for Howard has shaped the score for “The Lord of the Rings” not ever one, but three films, establishing and developing powerful themes, that much like Tolkien’s work itself, “grew in the telling.”
This journey has tested our collective endurance many times over and there were times when the sheer weight of the work threatened to overwhelm us; when the prospect of ever finishing seemed remote and the dark clouds of Mordor gathered gloomily on all sides. In these grim moments we could not help but compare ourselves to Frodo and Sam, toiling up the slopes of Mount Doom with Sam’s prophetic words ringing in our ears: “We will get there, because we have to!” And of course he was right. I am especially grateful to have had Howard’s understanding and unfailing support through our long post production period. I thank him for giving his heart to these films and for being by my side every step of the way, on this, the last leg, of our journey through Middle-earth. I could not have wished to have worked with a more talented person, nor for these films to have been blessed with a more wonderful score.
A huge thank you to John Kurlander, Peter Cobbin, Mark Willsher, Jonathan Schultz, Becca Gatrell, Toby Wood, Richard Lancaster, Steve Price, the wondeful crew at Abbey Rd & CTS Watford, Renée Fleming, Sir James Galway, Ben del Maestro, Dermot Crehan, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Voices, The London Oratory School Schola, Terry Edwards, Nigel Scott, Malcolm Fife, Duncan Nimmo, The EvenTone Editorial boys, Karen Elliott & the crew at HotHouse Music. You are a fantastic team!
Special thanks to Annie Lennox, a fabulous woman with a voice to match. I am also very grateful to Paul Broucek, Rick Porras, Danny Bramson, Philippa Boyens, Jan Blenkin & Josie Leckie for their magnificent support.
Lastly I would like to say a very special thank you to Elizabeth Cotnoir, who has seen it all unfold and who was kind enough to agree to film our last recording sessions.
PETER JACKSON Director
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