The popular Lord of the Rings film series, based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, has earned more than a billion dollars at the box office since it debuted in late 2001. Fans have immersed themselves in the tales of hobbits, dark lords, exiled kings and frightening beasts. The last film in the series was recently released in the U.S.
Irish singer Enya is highlighted on the haunting soundtrack from the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, titled The Fellowship of the Ring. Written by Enya, the Academy Award-nominated song, May It Be, provides moments of peace and tranquility in the gothic, dramatic score. The music in The Fellowship of the Ring takes its influences from Renaissance melodies to darker, more intense themes that echo classical composers such as Prokofiev and Wagner. The music for all three films was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Howard Shore. The Lord of the Rings trilogy follows the travels of Frodo, a young hobbit from the mythical land of Middle Earth, who inherited a magical ring. The creator of the ring, an evil lord called Sauron, wants his treasure back so he can rule over all of Middle Earth. Frodo embarks on a quest to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom so it can be destroyed, along with Sauron's evil powers. Frodo is aided by his fellow hobbits, as well as a wizard named Gandalf and elves, dwarves and human warriors. They encounter all kinds of strange and scary beings on their journey.
The second film, The Two Towers, conjures a more ominous, atmospheric mood, with its chases and battles with the evil beings known as Orcs. Arranger Howard Shore used world music melodies and instruments such as the Norwegian fiddle, African log drums and wooden xylophone to represent the various groups in Middle Earth. Anglo-Indian musician Sheila Chandra contributes the song Breath of Life, which creates an ancient spiritual mood.
The last film in the Lord of the Rings series, The Return of the King debuted in mid-December, and is still showing in U.S. movie theaters. The epic trilogy comes to a close with a final battle for Middle Earth, and Frodo's heroic effort to cast the ring into the fiery lava of Mount Doom. The soundtrack features several appearances by renowned Irish flutist James Galway. The high tenor voice of actor Billy Boyd, who plays one of the hobbits, is also highlighted, along with an emotional narrative. To coincide with the film's climax, composer Howard Shore added more operatic elements to the score. The Return of the King also features the song Into The West, written and recorded by former Eurythmics member and Grammy Award-winning singer Annie Lennox. "I have enjoyed working with Howard Shore and his staff immensely. It's been a fascinating experience to be a very small part of this vast jigsaw puzzle entitled The Lord of the Rings. The dedication and commitment to the project is awesome in every way," Lennox commented.