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The King’s riders catch the Uruks by surprise, dislodging them from the causeway. A brilliant setting of the Rohan Fanfare carries the Eorlingas into the field of Uruks beyond. Expectantly, Aragorn casts his eyes eastwards towards the rising sun, where they are met by a horse, a rider and a most welcome choral performance of a single word: “Sceadufæx,” or Shadowfax.

Just as he promised, Gandalf the White has returned, and with him are Éomer and his 3,000 Riders of Rohan. The sunlight breaks onto the darkened earth, scorching the Uruks. Gandalf and the Riders charge, laying waste to the Uruk horde. Ben Del Maestro and mixed chorus continue to sing a cresting setting of “The Mearas,” above which luminous violins perform Gandalf the White (In the Fellowship). The connection is complete. Gandalf, remade by Nature, has borne Its will to the Fellowship and to the Rohirrim, uniting these forces against Sauron and his minions.

But Nature still has business with Isengard. Percussion resumes a martial stride and the Ents are unleashed. Orchestra and chorus swell, developing passages of the Nature theme, and rising across the score’s most extended crescendo. As the melodic line endlessly climbs, effervescent arpeggiated figures flow through accompanying lines and the Ents burst the dam. The music, like the mighty waters, cleanses Isengard, extinguishing its fires, razing the wicked structures with which it has polluted the land. Brass chatters in rhythmic fanfares declaring that, despite its sedentary and graceful formality, Nature is capable of such force that even Saruman cannot stand against It.

Saruman, however, is but one finger of Sauron’s fist. In Osgiliath, the Dark Lord continues to tighten his grip. The Nazgûl searches the city for Frodo, who now wanders the streets, dazed. Shore again holds open string pitches, threatening to introduce the Seduction theme. Frodo’s will holds strong, but nothing can stop the Nazgûl from introducing his own abhorrent harmonies into the wind writing. With a dissonant burst the Rider finds Frodo atop a stone stairway. Frodo takes the Ring in hand, ready to slip it on as the open strings await his next move. Ever faithful, Sam races to Frodo’s side, and with a careening string triplet the two tumble down the stairs.

In the finished film this appearance of the Gandalf the White (In Nature) theme was replaced with an edited in version of Nature’s Reclamation.

Although both themes speak to Gandalf’s connection to the natural world, Shore originally intended to delineate the action at Helm’s Deep and the Ents’ action at Isengard with separate themes.

The music is heard here on CD as Shore originally wrote it, the delineation intact.

Text by Philippa Boyens
Old English Translation by David Salo
First Heard: Disc Two | Track Thirteen
Híe hine sáwon feorran | In the distance they saw him,
And hwíte sunnan in mane | White sun caught in his mane.
Híe lange hine clipodon | Long they called him –
ac hé ne wolde cuman | but he would not come.
For thon hé wæs Sceadufæx | For he was Shadowfax –
Hláford ealra Méara | Lord of all Horses.
and hé ne andswarode bútan ánne. | And he answered to only one.

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

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