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The Orcs stop for the night on the edge of Fangorn Forest. Merry and Pippin hear the trees groaning in protest of their violent new neighbors, but a more melodious sound soon rises. A hobbity clarinet plays Nature’s Reclamation, a theme not heard since Gandalf the Grey whispered to a moth atop Orthanc long ago. Merry tells Pippin the legend of Fangorn and the Ents. “Here is a little bit of the Nature theme, which i’ll use later on,” Shore reminds us.

The tale is quickly interrupted by the Orcs’ lust for meat. A dissonantly harmonized three-note figure for brass and scraped tam-tam skitters about, jolting the orchestra as one scrawny Mordor Orc decides he’s held his hunger for hobbit-flesh at bay long enough. Uglúk decapitates him, offering his warriors a cannibalistic treat, but during the ensuing feeding frenzy, yet another gaunt, leathery Orc, Grishnákh, seeks to satiate his desire to dine on the hobbits.

In a dashing flourish of strings and brass, Merry and Pippin’s salvation is again provided in the nick of time, in this instance by the Riders of Rohan. As the Orcs are slaughtered by the Riders, Shore’s score whips into a paroxysmal
stampede of pounding percussion, knifelike trumpet lines and the yelping howls of high, aleatoric French horns.

The wild scoring for the Riders’ attack on the Orcs was replaced in the film with music written for another Two Towers scene. Heard in The Complete Recordings is Shore’s riotous final draft of the music, which plays up the confusion and brutality of the scene.

However, the very first draft of the composition included a bold setting of the Rohan Fanfare. It was eventually decided that the full version of the Fanfare should be held until King Théoden has reclaimed Meduseld’s throne, and so the scene was recast as a moment of panic, not heroism. The Rohan Fanfare version was never recorded— the only sizeable piece of music from The Two Towers that failed to make it to the recording floor.

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

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