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Clarinet and strings warm the first conversation between Pippin and Faramir—though the friendly atmosphere chills and darkens as Faramir remembers Boromir, and his similarities to Denethor. Moments later, Pippin, bound by his unplanned oath, finds himself uncomfortably swearing fealty to Faramir’s father. But it is less a proud moment for Pippin than one of hesitation. Strings pick up motion, then halt. Melodic ideas begin, but cease. Eventually the orchestra sinks to heavy low string chords spotted with harp, as Denethor turns his attention to Faramir. Fully aware of the sacrifice he is demanding, Denethor orders Faramir to retake Osgiliath.

Faramir finally asks the question that gnaws at his mind, “You wish now that our places had been exchanged, that I had died and Boromir lived.” Denethor answers, “Yes. i wish that.” Pan flute, performed by Ulrich Herkenhoff, initiates a sad melody that seems to seek the Gondor theme’s Ascension ending, but can never grasp it. But, at the same time, the Faramir and Denethor theme carries the upsetting reverberations of Mordor’s bid at a Fourth Age theme, The Witch King/The Orcs of Mordor. Will Denethor’s failures as a father and a leader cause Gondor’s downfall while seeking its victory? Is he paving the way for Mordor’s victory?

Due to editing, neither the music for Pippin’s vows nor the transitional brass fanfare at the end of this composition were used in the film.

In the film Sam and Frodo’s fight (see Disc Two, Track Five, “The Parting of Sam and Frodo”) separates the scene between Faramir and Denethor and Faramir’s march to war. They were originally intended to play as they do here, uninterrupted, connected by the pan flute solos.

© The Annotated Score (The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films)

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