Album: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Album:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Music from the Motion Picture

Artist: Howard Shore
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Label: Reprise / Wea

This final chapter of Peter Jackson’s sprawling adaptation of Tolkien’s “Ring” trilogy closes out one of the most accomplished cycles in cinema—and film music—history. As he’s done for the saga’s first two installments, composer Howard Shore has honed a mature, brooding orchestral masterpiece that’s long on subtle shadings of mood and nuance, while eschewing the hollow bombast that’s characterized all too many mainstream action and adventure films for three decades. If anything, he’s pared this chapter of his music for Middle Earth even closer to the bone, the…

Reviews

Amazon.com

This final chapter of Peter Jackson’s sprawling adaptation of Tolkien’s “Ring” trilogy closes out one of the most accomplished cycles in cinema—and film music—history. As he’s done for the saga’s first two installments, composer Howard Shore has honed a mature, brooding orchestral masterpiece that’s long on subtle shadings of mood and nuance, while eschewing the hollow bombast that’s characterized all too many mainstream action and adventure films for three decades. If anything, he’s pared this chapter of his music for Middle Earth even closer to the bone, the trilogy’s familiar themes repeated with a sparing hand that only heightens their dramatic power. Like Herrmann before him, Shore has a preternatural understanding of orchestral timbres and their almost mystical connections with human emotions, and he’s used it here to close out this remarkable trilogy with Wagnerian dramatic sweep, yet one with a distinctly modern, understated melodic sense that is Shore’s alone. James Galway and Renee Fleming make key instrumental and vocal contributions, respectively, while Annie Lennox’s soulful “Into the West” makes the expected, if unobtrusive, bow to the theatrical pop song conventions. —Jerry McCulley

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Book:The Return of the King

The Return of the King: Book 3 of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, Aragorn is revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient kings. Gandalf miraculously returns and defeats the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam leaves his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive—in the hands of the Orcs. And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing—and the One Ring comes ever closer to the Cracks of Doom.

Film:The Lord of the Rings: Part 3. The Return of the King

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Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, triumphantly completed by the 11-Oscar-winning The Return of the King, sets out to show that Tolkien’s epic work, once derided as mere adolescent escapism, is not just fodder for the best mass entertainment spectacle ever seen on the big screen, but is also replete with emotionally satisfying meditations on the human condition. What is the nature of true friendship? What constitutes real courage? Why is it important for us to care about people living beyond our borders? What does it mean to live in harmony…

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