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The Rohirrim have arrived at Minas Tirith, the line of Riders extending over the width of the horizon. French horns ceremoniously recite the Rohan theme over the perpetual churn of militaristic percussion. Théoden surveys the battle before him, bathed in the milky light of predawn, and turns to the soldiers. Evil Times takes the music, but in such a vein that it holds its head high, the grand harmonies insistent that this suffering, these sacrifices in the War of the Ring, shall not be in vain.

The King calls to the Riders and touches their spears with his sword. “Ride now! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending!” Nature’s Reclamation begins a slow build through its first melodic phrase. Behind the Riders the sun breaks over the horizon, casting its glow behind the Riders like their last line of offense. The orchestra is invigorated, Nature’s melody leaping up into heraldic trumpets and high strings. with the will of Middle-earth at their heels, the Riders launch their attack, the front line charging towards the Orkish legion. The Hardanger steps to the fore to sing a doxology for Rohan over the orchestra’s thunder. Trumpets take the theme, embracing the Hardanger’s dedication. The Orcs’ faces spread in fear—this is no lot of unprepared Men. Brass fanfares in gleaming triplets erupt over the charge. The armies collide, not with a wincing dissonance, but with rich major-moded sonorities. Rohan is a force of Nature.

IN THE MAKING:
The percussion writing for the first collision of Men and Orcs was shortened slightly in the film.

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

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