The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers - The Complete Recordings

Howard Shore

Reprise, 2006

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Every now and then, discs come along that remind me how much I love writing for the Vault.

It may only be known to my fan club (which is defunct, because the guy died) but the Lord of the Rings films are my favorites of all time. The accompanying soundtracks were excellent but much of Shore's music did not make the final discs -- you try cramming three hours of a movie into 80 minutes of disc.

Thus, beginning in 2005, the scores to the Extended Editions began to see the light of day in box set form. And these aren’t your run of the mill original soundtrack discs; they are every bit of music that was in the movie and then some.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

To try and categorize the experience of listening to an entire movie’s score is something beyond words. Every theme, every nuance is there to hear. When Shore brings up elements of the “Fellowship Theme,” it’s for a reason. To hear the faint strains of the “Realm of Gondor” trying in with a musical cue from Fellowship Of The Ring is incredibly rewarding.

Those expecting wide, sweeping, epic themes will not be disappointed. The slow, gradual buildup to the pulse pounding dramatics of “The Battle Of The Hornburg” builds a sense of impending doom, much as what the characters in the movie experienced. Essentially, all the tracks detailing the centerpiece of the movie lead up the overpowering climax that is “Theoden Rides Forth.” While having seen the movie would aid immensely in recognizing the significance of the work, it has no less impact if you are a novice.

Yet for every massive and epic track, Shore is able to deliver works of subtlety. Many of the songs chronicling the journey of Sam, Frodo and Gollum carry with them this generally unsettling sound, creating uncertainty to bolster the nature of Gollum’s character. The moment where Gollum believes himself to be betrayed is full of impending doom, a theme that will be present in the Return Of The King soundtrack next year.

Detailing the entire three-hour box set is obviously too much for this writer, but let me just say that this set is worth it. Not only does it come with the a DVD in 5.1 surround sound of the entire album, but the liner notes are quite possibly the best I have ever read. Instead of screaming forth the genius of Howard Shore they go in great detail to explain why themes and cues appear where they do, and more importantly when, allowing the listener to “follow along.”

I will come straight out and admit that my opinion of this set was influenced by my love of the movies. However, its quality speaks for itself. This is a three-hour experience that one does not get the chance to explore very often. This is how all film soundtracks should be released.

Rating: A

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© 2006 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.