Artist: Howard Shore

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

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

Howard Shore

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…

Album:Hugo: Original Score

Hugo: Original Score

Howard Shore

Hugo marks the sixth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and composer Howard Shore. Like Scorsese’s film, Shore’s score to Hugo is a love letter both to the French culture in the 1930s and to the groundbreaking early days of cinema.

Hugo tells the story of Hugo Cabret, a boy who lives behind the walls of a Parisian train station. Shore’s music is composed for two ensembles one nested within the other to create a sense of layering in the musical palette. Inside a full symphony orchestra resides a smaller ensemble, a sort of nimble French dance band that includes an Ondes Martenot, musette, cimbalom, tack piano, gypsy guitar, upright bass, 1930s trap-kit and an alto saxophone. ‘’I wanted to match the depth of the sound to the depth of the image,’’ says Shore. The score’s central theme is a Parisian waltz that develops into the song Coeur Volant. Howard Shore invited renowned French singer Zaz to collaborate with Elizabeth Cotnoir and him on the song, which captures the lyrical essence of the world of Hugo.

Album:The Aviator: Original Score

The Aviator: Original Score

Howard Shore

Martin Scorsese’s energetic, visually rich biopic of billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes shrewdly eschews the strange, cloistered existence of the enigma’s last quarter century to focus on his exploits as reckless heir, Hollywood playboy and record-setting aviator. The film’s pop ‘n’ jazz oriented song-score colors its era and locales, but this rich, Golden Globe-nominated orchestral soundtrack by veteran Howard Shore explores the complex emotional landscape of its central character. Utilizing an orchestral palate that initially wends from the bright,…

Album:Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

Score composer Howard Shore has informed this first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with his distinctly modern sensibilities. Revolving loosely around a brief, heroic brass theme, this epic is infused with a powerful rhythmic thrust and a musical range that encompasses centuries (from the Renaissance pastoralism of “Concerning Hobbits” to the fiery, Prokofiev-influenced drama of “A Knife in the Dark”). Key to the score’s sense of mystery and magical place are the rich choral passages that are interspersed throughout, some so ominously gothic…

Album:Eastern Promises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Eastern Promises: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Howard Shore

This soundtrack marks composer Howard Shore’s 12th collaboration with director David Cronenberg, and it’s safe to say the two men have an almost symbiotic relationship at this point. Like its immediate predecessor, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises is a crime drama; this time around, however, it is set not in a very American town but among Russian gangsters in London. Shore evokes the milieu by incorporating “slavic” touches from a cimbalom (a type of hammered dulcimer), a balalaika (a triangular stringed instrument), and a tárogatóto (a woodwind) in his orchestrations, but thankfully he doesn’t overdo it and turn the score into cheesy folklore. This is a taut, somber CD, where the main themes are performed by a solo violin (check out in particular “Nine Elms”).

Album:Gangs of New York: Music from the Motion Picture

Gangs of New York: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

Martin Scorsese’s sprawling meditation on the rise of street gangs in 19th-century New York (the roots of the modern mafia) also became another soundtrack buff’s “What If?” after the director scrapped the original orchestral underscore of modern collaborator (Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence, Bringing Out the Dead)/veteran scoring legend Elmer Bernstein and replaced it with this typically rich, Robbie Robertson-supervised collection of eclectic pop, folk, and neo-classical tracks. The latter come courtesy of three brooding excerpts from film…

Album:The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

Howard Shore’s music for the massively successful first film chapter of Tolkien’s Ring saga won him the Oscar® for Best Original Score, something of a surprise given the music’s ambitious scale and determinedly dark overtones, factors that handily blurred the line between typical film fantasy music and accomplished concert work. Its sequel takes the same, often Wagnerian-scaled dramatic tack, following the film’s story line into even more brooding and ominous dark corners. The previous film’s Hobbit-inspired pastoralism is supplanted here…

Album:A History of Violence: Original Score

A History of Violence: Original Score

Howard Shore

Album:The Silence Of The Lambs: Original Motion Picture Score

The Silence Of The Lambs: Original Motion Picture Score

Howard Shore

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