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The film’s Prologue plunges the audience into the world of Middle-earth and the plight of the One Ring in a standalone sequence establishing the enormous tale about to unfold. Shore’s music acts as a prelude, introducing brief clips of the thematic material that will populate the score as the story progresses. Heard here for the first time are a choral rendering (see Footsteps of Doom) of the Elvish Lothlórien theme; Mordor’s Skip Beat accompaniment, the Descending Third accompaniment, the Sauron/Evil of the Ring theme; the Ringwraith theme; the bitter Fall of Men motive; and even the fleeting shape of the Fellowship theme—all bristling and shuddering amongst the violent conflict on screen.

Most prominent in this sequence, however, is the History of the Ring theme, which makes its debut appearance following the opening Lothlórien clip. Throughout the Prologue, Shore highlights a single purpose of his History theme: “It’s showing you how the Ring has traveled from hand to hand.” Galadriel continues her narration, as again this History theme introduces the Ring to its new owners: Isildur, and then Gollum/Sméagol (skulking in his dank cave and accompanied by his Pity theme). The Nameless Fear passage plays under the Lady of the Galadhrim, for though it looks as if the Ring has receded from Middle-earth’s everyday life, we well know that it shall again make its presence known. Sure enough, with another cor anglais statement of the History theme the Ring passes to Bilbo Baggins of the Shire.

The filmmakers originally shot Fellowship’s prologue as a shorter sequence for which Shore wrote a self-contained four minute composition. During the film’s editing, it was decided that a lengthier sequence would set up the film’s story with a more detailed and visceral punch. The film’s Prologue was expanded, and so Shore went back and composed a new work to match the edit. The first composition (featuring the text, “The Battle of Dagorlad”) was presented on The Fellowship of the Ring’s original soundtrack album in 2001, but never appeared in the final film. While the two Prologue scores are similar, the final version (now presented on disc for the first time) considerably expands the original concept and captures the opening action with a raw collection of orchestral outbursts, hinting at the level of conflict that The Two Towers and The Return of the King will present.

Text from J. R. R. Tolkien
Adapted by Philippa Boyens
Sindarin Translation by David Salo
Man sí minna? | Who enters here?
Man ammen toltha i dann hen Amarth? | Who brings to us this token of Doom?
I anann darthant dam morn | That which has stood so long against the darkness
Si dannatha. | will now fall.

Text by Philippa Boyens
Adûnaic Translation by David Salo
Nêbâbîtham Magânanê | We renounce our Maker.
Nêtabdam dâur-ad | We cleave to the darkness.
Nêpâm nêd abârat-aglar | We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
îdô Nidir nênâkham | Behold! We are the Nine,
Bârî’n Katharâd | The Lords of Unending Life.

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

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