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Featuring The Road Goes Ever On Reprise performed by Ian Holm. Music composed by Fran Walsh, Lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Featuring Drinking Song, Lyrics adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens; Music composed by Fran Walsh; Music performed by Billy Boyd & Dominic Monaghan.

After stammering his way through a birthday speech Bilbo dons the Ring, and Shore responds with a fluid ripple of open fourths and fifths in the woodwinds and celesta—a dark take on the hobbit’s playfulness. Bilbo returns to Bag End, ready to make his way out of town when Gandalf intercepts him, questioning his intentions toward the Ring. As the Ring attempts to sway Bilbo, the chorus hums its parts, exerting an influence over the simple hobbit, but unable to articulate the seductive message. The aged hobbit, however, is not completely immune to the Ring’s beguiling prowess, and as he lets the word “precious” slip over his lips, Shore weaves in phrases from the Pity of Gollum. “Bilbo’s been just a bit corrupted,” the composer admits, almost disappointedly.

Gandalf gathers a fraction of his power to remind the hobbit of the seriousness of his choice. Interestingly, Shore never uses a specific theme for Gandalf the Grey. “Gandalf is a mediator,” he explains. “He’s a facilitator. He’s a character that moves the action and he’s very fleeting. There isn’t anything that’s specifically tied to Gandalf the Grey because he’s the one that moves between all the characters.” As The Two Towers will illustrate, however, Gandalf the White is a very different character.

Bilbo decides to leave the Ring behind as Shore mixes a few last dissolving flute wisps of the Pity of Gollum into the Shire material. The hobbit departs, and leaves the Ring under Gandalf’s watchful eye. Here Shore features the first bit of Mordor music heard in the Shire: Bilbo relinquishes his precious Ring, dropping it to the floor while Mordor’s Descending Third Ostinato appears, announcing the terrifying quest Bilbo has just set in motion. “You heard a little of this earlier in the Prologue,” Shore reminds us, “so this is just a bit to hint at the power of this object. What is this thing? This little bit of darkness helps you remember the beginning of the film.” Bilbo sets out on the road, and the gentle Shire theme wins out. “It’s just in the strings with very little harmony. Just a little touch of this melody just as he leaves—the two old friends parting.”

Still in Bag End, Gandalf’s thoughts are ensnared by the Ring, but, perhaps prophetically, Frodo Baggins enters and breaks its grasp on the Wizard’s mind. Gandalf gives the hobbit the Ring, still shaken, contemplating what secrets this tiny bauble may hide. “Now that Frodo’s taken the Ring you hear the History of the Ring theme. He’s physically touched it and is holding it in his hand, so it’s passed from Bilbo to Frodo,” Shore explains. The ethereal tune soon makes way for even more threatening writing.

The score darkens with bassoon picking up a five note portion of Gollum’s Pity theme as Gandalf sets out to find the creature. These fragments are interrupted by the rhaita’s first appearance: The Sauron/Evil of the Ring theme is introduced as Minas Morgul disgorges nine riders in black. The mixed chorus (see vocalists in performers list) heard in the Prologue returns as well, their sacrilegious tone intact. “The singing is in Adûnaic (see Texts) for the Wraiths. It’s the ancient speech of men because they were corrupted kings.”

Back in the Shire a more common language and a more cheerful tone prevails. Merry and Pippin, thoroughly enjoying an evening at the Green Dragon (as well as the finest liquid refreshment the establishment can offer) sing Fran Walsh’s boisterous tune, the “Drinking Song.”

The Hobbit/Shire theme’s Rural Setting is most closely connected to these signature hobbit instruments. But
as the hobbits depart the Shire and adventure their way through Middle-earth, these Celtic sounds continually make their way into the edges of the orchestra as a reminder of what the Shire folk have left behind.

Listening Example: Disc One | Track Two| 2:21
The celesta is a small keyboard instrument like the piano. Yet, where the piano’s hammers strike taught wires inside the frame, the celesta strikes small metal bars to produce a shimmering silvery tone.

Mordor was established in the Second Age of Middle-earth, when Sauron took up residence in his newly constructed stronghold of Barad-dûr. It is an ancient land, and so traffics in the same types of Eastern tones as the Elves’ music. Shore chose instruments for Mordor with a biting edge—piercing, intruding sounds that tear through the fabric of the orchestra asserting melodies, and setting Mordor apart as a land from another time with its own trenchant goals.

Listening Example: Disc One| Track Seven| 2:36
A long time fan of Ornette Coleman, Shore discovered the rhaita on the innovative saxophonist’s 1973 album, Dancing in Your Head. The rhaita, an African double reed instrument not unlike the oboe, represents the cultures of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. It is especially associated with the Evil of the Ring theme, which it calls out like a twisted war horn.


Listening Example: Disc One | Track One| 2:18
The singers of The London Voices are hand picked for each engagement they attend. The choir has no fixed membership so that singers who excel at specific styles can be assigned the ideal projects. Under the direction of Terry Edwards, London Voices have performed a wide array of film and concert works around the globe, including standard repertoire of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Stravinsky and newer works by John Adams, Luciano Berio and Sir Michael Tippett.

Adûnaic, the oldest language of Men.

Lyrics from J.R.R. Tolkien
Adapted by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens
Hey ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe
Rain may fall and wind may blow
But there still be
Many miles to go
Sweet is the sound of the pouring rain
And the stream that falls
From hill to plain
Better than rain or rippling brook
Is a mug of beer inside this Took

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

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