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Brass erupts with the caustic harmonies of the Ringwraith theme as a Nazgûl appears overhead. The score effects a mad dash as captives and captors alike scramble out of sight. The fell beast’s rider scans the city for the Ringbearer, and though Faramir stashes him out of sight, Frodo is left unguarded.

Back at Helm’s Deep, the Uruks have totally overrun the Rohirrim’s first wall and are now hammering their way into the keep. In the Glittering Caves beneath, Rohan’s women and children flinch with each impact. In a Rohan-esque voice the score stills itself, preparing for the worst with hushed, fatigued lines behind which timpani and field drum quake like distant battle.

The King is shocked at the reckless hate on display. Aragorn suggests that they ride out in one last assault upon the Uruks to draw them away from the women and children. Percussion figures build up energy and Théoden’s attention is drawn back to the present. Gimli remarks that the sun is rising, precipitating the arrival of Nature’s second most prominent motive, Gandalf the White (In Nature). The wizard’s words echo in their minds: “Look to my coming at first light on the fifth day. At dawn look to the East.”

Choir forcefully builds Gandalf’s theme with the text of “The Call” as Théoden and Aragorn prepare to ride forth and Gimli charges for the horn of Helm Hammerhand. The repeating triplets arc higher and higher, mounting energy and resolve for what could well be the last ride of the Eorlingas.

TEXTS
THE CALL
Text by J.R.R. Tolkien
Old English Translation by David Salo
First Heard: Disc Two | Track Thirteen
Hwæ ´r cwóm helm? hwæ ´r cwóm byrne? | Where is the helm and the hauberk,
Hwæ ´r cwóm feax flówende? | and the bright hair flowing?
Hwæ ´r cwóm hand on hearpestrenge? | Where is the hand on the harpstring,
Hwæ ´r cwóm scír fyyr scínende? | and the red fire glowing?
Hwæ ´r cwóm lencten and hærfest? | Where is the spring and the harvest
Hwæ ´r cwóm héah corn weaxende? | and the tall corn growing?
Hwá gegaderath wuduréc of wealdholte byrnende? | Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning?
Oththe gesiehth of gársecge thá géar gewendende? | Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

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

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