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Featuring Ben del Maestro; Music by Howard Shore; Words by Philippa Boyens.

Faramir and his troops patrol Osgiliath’s borders by night. He and Madril, his second in command, confer while a placid but alert setting of the Gondor theme rests between high strings and treading percussion. Unbeknownst to them, a legion of Orcs approaches silently by boats. The inverted Threat of Mordor stealthily leads the way, the theme now absorbing the exotic stretched harmonies of Mordor. A Gondorian scout espies the approaching troop, and a quickened Way to Mordor variation kicks in as he is shot with an arrow. The men are alerted to the Orcs. The Way to Mordor continues as the men move into position, hoping to cut off the Orcs’ ambush. The Orcs flood the empty streets until, lead by Faramir, the Gondorian soldiers begin their attack. The Realm of Gondor announces the offensive, but is immediately met by the Cruelty of the Orcs, the chromatically descending pyramid that represents their base desire for carnage.

After a charge of the Fellowship theme the battle rages on, variants of the powerful Mordor Outline now joining the fray, attacking the flowing Gondor theme from below. The men are overwhelmed. Madril advises Faramir, “We can’t hold them. The city is lost.” Mixed chorus enters singing “The Retreat from Osgiliath” as Faramir calls for a retreat, but before the men are informed, situations worsen—the Nazgûl have arrived. Brass intones the Nazgûl’s signature close-spaced harmonies, though the Black Riders’ theme does not appear in full.

Faramir screams for retreat, and the men begin wildly pouring out of the city. Madril is struck and falls to the ground. He is approached by a group of Orcs, led by Gothmog, Sauron’s general. The orchestra quivers with the same minor stepwise motion that began the Orcs’ assault on the Fellowship far back in Moria. Madril cannot move. Gothmog thrusts a spear through him, and a high string chord escapes with Madril’s final breath. The Orc growls, “The age of Men is over. The time of the Orc has come.” The tempo drops and Shore’s inverted Threat of Mordor sounds again, more weightily and declamatory.

Outside the city the scattered garrison is being assaulted from above as the Nazgûl swoop in for their precision kills. The pulse quickens and brass again adopts the Ringwraiths’ harmonies. Mordor’s bilious cloud stretches its edge over Osgiliath to veil the retreat in darkness.

But a familiar theme intercedes. Gandalf rides out to meet the Wraith’s, a pure beam of white light emanating from his staff hewing the darkness, and Gandalf the White (in the Fellowship) sings out in high strings above the orchestral tumult. Boy soprano Ben del Maestro sings “The White Rider,” as Gandalf turns the Nazgûl away, and provides the men safe passage back to Minas Tirith.

Listeners will note that “Osgiliath Invaded” contains several references to the Fellowship theme, and shares a number of passages with “The Grace of Undómiel.” Originally this invasion sequence was to be concurrent to Gandalf and Pippin’s first arrival at Minas Tirith. The Osgiliath battle was meant to play unbroken (save for a few updates on Gandalf’s progress) and was to be placed before the lighting of the beacons.

Text by Philippa Boyens
Sindarin Translation by David Salo
Revail vyrn dan minuial | Black wings against a pale morning
ú galad, ú vin anor hen | There is no more light, not in this sun
Cano an dregad | Call the retreat
ú natha ored | There will be no warning
Gwanwen ost in giliath | The citadel of the stars is gone
Dannen Osgiliath | Osgiliath is fallen.

Text by Philippa Boyens
Sindarin Translation by David Salo
Mennen nored dîn | Their race was over;
Gwanwen i ‘ûr bân | All courage gone.
Sílant calad Dûn | A light shone in the west -
Tollen Rochon ‘Lân. | The White Rider had come.

Listening Example: Disc Two | Track One| 7:50
A member of the London Oratory School Schola, Ben Del Maestro sings all the boy soprano solos in The Return of the King.

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

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