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The time for all-out war has come. Saruman has gathered a legion of Uruk-hai at the base of Orthanc and now bellows terrible commands to the troops from his thorny balcony. Shore’s composition here is the most single-minded in The Two Towers. Relentlessly, it seeks to intensify only two motives—the Five Beat Pattern and the Isengard theme. And so it does, the themes, per their wont, growing in energy and force, but never in complexity or sophistication. Set in the very lowest reaches of the orchestra’s brass, this composition arcs over one long accelerando, building from a bone-cracking growl to the driving low strings, timpani, piano, taiko and bass drum of the Uruks’ lopsided footslog. They march to Helm’s Deep, and to war!

The first 15 seconds of “The Voice of Saruman” are not used in the final film, though the composition appears here on disc as Shore wrote it.


Listening Example: Disc One| Track Six| 2:58
The music of composer Henry Cowell (1897–1965) brought to the general public daring new ideas in piano performance techniques. In works such as Aeolian Harp and The Banshee, Cowell called for the pianist to reach inside the piano and strike the strings inside. Shore’s Orc music follows in this tradition, as he requires his pianist to violently strike the wires inside the instrument with metal chains.

Listening Example: Disc One | Rrack Five| 1:18
These ancient drums, which have been used in Japanese music for over a millennium, exist in four basic sizes. The rich, rumbling tone of the drum was associated with the power of the gods in traditional Japanese culture, and the drum was used on the battlefield to strike fear into the hearts of enemies. It serves much the same purpose in the music of the Orcs where its pounding, unforgiving tone represents their brutal force.

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

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