Pippin too, it seems, is now awake. In his eyes is the same haunted look as before. Restlessly he pulls back his bedding and begins to walk towards the sleeping Gandalf. In two-part harmony, strings coupled with flute play the score’s first strains of Evil Times, with a slightly stretched contour, intimating that Pippin is not entirely himself. The writing becomes increasingly chromatic until Pippin’s goal becomes clear—he wants another look at the palantír. As Pippin pulls the orb from Gandalf’s hand, a new Ring theme coupling begins. In a streamlined four-note phrase Shore introduces a line that lies somewhere between the Ring’s Evil and History themes, yet at the same time suggests the shape of Evil Times. Does the theme suggest that the Ring’s yet-unwritten history will inevitably bring it to evil purpose? Is it simply a musical warning, highlighting the imperative nature of the heroes’ quest? A threat lobbed from Mordor?
But there’s no time for such considerations. Pippin’s vision in the palantír overwhelms his senses, and exposes him to the Enemy. The orchestra lurches, igniting into a blaze of furious string and wind textures over hammering timpani attacks. Bisecting the musical madness, the Descending Third figure marches out of Sauron’s mind. The Evil of the Ring plays out in its traditional guise, creating a semi-canon by allowing the rhaita to enter just after the orchestral winds. Snare drum and tam-tam make four sweeping rolls, the last preceded by a long, glassy tremolo portamento in the violins.
Pippin is free of the vision and the palantír is again covered. But what of the aftermath? Gandalf shakes Pippin, waking him, and demands to know what he has seen. A haze of low and high clusters shroud Pippin’s vision in mystery, but one line rises horrifyingly to the surface. The History/Evil hybrid, now in a more developed six-note guise, again plays as Pippin describes his vision of the White Tree of Gondor engulfed in flame.
Gandalf confers with Théoden and Aragorn, tells them of Pippin’s vision, and explains that they now know that Sauron will strike Minas Tirith. Aragorn offers to journey to Minas Tirith, but Gandalf refuses the offer. Beginning with a pedal C, the Gondor theme descends ominously through the orchestra creating a collective pyramid cluster. Its conclusion is intercepted by an eerie brume of high strings, introducing, in miniature, the music of the Army of the Dead. Gandalf tells Aragorn that he must come to Minas Tirith by another road. “Follow the river. Look to the black ships.”
IN THE MAKING:
A small internal portion of this composition, intended to play over the beginning of Pippin’s vision, did not appear in the final film. Instead, sound effects were used for the disturbing vision.
© The Annotated Score (The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films)
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