En route, Frodo and Sam momentarily enjoy basic hobbit comforts—a bit of rest and a bite to eat—while Sam’s culinary enthusiasm lifts his friend’s spirits. The Pensive Setting of the Shire theme makes an appearance in clarinet, and Shore allows the theme to settle in unaltered. “Sometimes i work themes in subtly, and other times i just state them directly.”
The comfort is short-lived, for soon a winding line in the alto flute and cor anglais reminds us that the two hobbits are still being stalked. The Pity of Gollum (Sméagol’s Theme) peeks out momentarily before retreating behind a screen of harrowed brass and strings. A brief choral interlude reinstates the ominous stillness of the surroundings with the text, “The Road to Mordor,” a Sindarin translation of the same lines Gollum will speak later in the film.
The tortured creature returns, now prepared to actively reclaim his precious Ring. No longer a passive character, he is represented by the new Gollum’s Menace (Gollum’s Theme) and the jittery tones of the cimbalom. Gollum’s approach, however, has not gone unnoticed, and he is seized upon by the hobbits. A struggle ensues with families of brass shouting chaotically at each other across racing string lines. After a fit of grabbing, scratching and biting, Gollum finds himself at the end of Sting, Bilbo’s sword passed down to Frodo. Now at the hobbits’ mercy Gollum shivers and sobs as, once again, the cimbalom quivers beneath him.
Shore wrote and recorded an early version of this scene that was considerably different in content. In this original draft, progressive choral harmonies drew themselves over stately interjections from the low strings.
Approximately half-way through the “Lost in Emyn Muil” heard here, Shore includes part of this original composition, further exploring his perception of the barren, rocky landscape. “It’s a compositional decision,” he asserts.
THE ROAD TO MORDOR
Text by Fran Walsh and J.R.R. Tolkien
Sindarin Translation by David Salo
First Heard: Disc One | Track Three
No ring cam a hûn ah asg | Cold be hand and heart and bone
A no ring randir chaer o mbar | And cold be travelers far from home
Ú-genir i lû i caeda na nîf | They do not see what lies ahead
Ta i pellen Anor a firnen Ithil. | When Sun has failed and Moon is dead.
Vi gwae’ vorn elin firithar | In the black wind the stars shall die,
bo cae lanc hen sí caedathar | On this bare earth here let them lie,
Tenn i Vorchir gam în ortha | Till the dark lord lifts his hand
Or aerath firnin a dôr tharn. | Over dead seas and withered land.
Listening Example: Disc One | Track Three| 2:12
Just as Gollum was once nearly a hobbit, the cimbalom was once nearly a standard hammered dulcimer. Developed in the Nineteenth Century, the cimbalom is an elaborate Hungarian variant on the dulcimer—with nearly twice the range and a chromatic tuning. Like the dulcimer, the strings of the cimbalom are struck with small hammers that create a tactile, twitchy sound that matches the character of Gollum’s Menace theme.
© The Annotated Score (The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films)
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