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Gandalf leads the Fellowship into Dwarrowdelf, and Shore’s music expresses the sad beauty of the fallen city. “We called it faded glory, or ruined grandeur. I wrote it based on the Alan Lee drawings. Later, when Gimli is in front of the crypt you hear a bit of the Dwarrowdelf theme again, because he’s mourning the loss of Balin. And you’ll hear it once more in Moria.”

In Balin’s tomb, the Fellowship is attacked by a league of Orcs. However, instead of hammering the action home, Shore’s score suddenly drops out after a preparatory build-up. “It was Peter’s idea,” the composer recalls. “He thought it would be more brutal and realistic to end the score when the fighting began. It seemed more life-threatening.”

In the midst of the fracas the Cave Troll enters the tomb; as it hunts Frodo, so does Shore’s score. This, the second of Shore’s monster compositions, is the most emotional of the collection. After the orchestra reels with a series of musical hammer strokes representing the Cave Troll’s deliberate tantrum, the score pauses for a heartbreaking moment of introspection. Frodo is presumed dead at the hands of the troll, a pathetic creature who threatened the Fellowship out of fear and confusion. With a sorrowful jolt, the members of the company realize that their quest will not be victimless. “You hear the Dwarrowdelf theme again when the hobbits are on top of the troll trying to bring it down,” Shore explains. “It’s been chained up by the Orcs and it’s angry. It doesn’t want to hurt anybody, but they won’t feed it unless it does. You feel sorry for the cave troll.”

As the next wave of Orcs moves in, the Fellowship flees to Moria’s second hall. The Orcs’ Five Beat pattern pounds out a few bars before the Fellowship theme rips through the orchestra in one of the most thrillingly heroic statements in the entire score. Only in Moria is the entire nine-member Fellowship ever called to action. Here the brave theme appears in a fluid 3/4 time, directly opposing the Orcs’ rocky 5/4. Eventually the meters battle each other for dominance, overlapping in dense polyrhythmic shapes clamoring through a furious crescendo.

Like Arwen’s prayer for Frodo, Gimli’s solemn words at the foot of Balin’s casket were originally set to be echoed by chorus singing an original text by Philippa Boyens, “Dwarvish Interlude.” The concept was abandoned before Shore scored the sequence.

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

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