'Rings' symphony is a tad too long - The Washington Times

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'Rings' symphony is a tad too long - The Washington Times

Postby Guest » Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am

<b>'Rings' symphony is a tad too long</b><BR><i><a href="http://washingtontimes.com/entertainment/20050529-112420-5371r.htm" target="_blank">The Washington Times</a></i><P>As if arising from the ancient mists, J.R.R. Tolkien's magnificent epic "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy materialized once more this weekend past in Fairfax City.<P>No, not the celebrated novels. And not the stunning, Oscar-winning films. Instead, the concert hall of George Mason University's Center for the Arts opened its doors to host the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra -- assisted by the Fairfax Choral Society's adult and youth choruses and guest soloists -- in the Washington area premiere of Howard Shore's "Lord of the Rings" symphony under the baton of guest conductor Markus Huber.<P>Unfortunately, only a die-hard fan of the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy would have fully appreciated Mr. Shore's re-casting of his movie score as a full-length concert work. Dedicating an entire evening to the music of three long, interrelated movies carries hidden risks. First, all film music has dull patches linking cinematic episodes, or passages that simply make noise to underscore the violence of a battle. Further, heard over a long film or films, the movie music can become numbingly repetitious.<P>That is the problem with Mr. Shore's re-casting of his music as a "symphony," which is actually a huge tone poem in six parts filling more than two hours of concert time including intermission. While Mr. Shore's distinctive music contains lovely Celtic motifs, a subdued but inspirational main theme, and a number of exciting, percussive martial passages, it would have been far more effective had at least half an hour of the work been cut.<P>As it was, the symphony was fitfully beautiful and frequently haunting and the performance was impressive. The combined choruses sang extraordinarily well, and the musicians played with precision under Mr. Huber's precise baton. And the youthful soloists, boy soprano Xavier Flory and teenage soprano phenom Kaitlyn Lusk, sang movingly but all-too-briefly. However, during Friday's performance, some all-too-obvious two-dimensional miking marred the work's opening stanza, which was fortunately addressed by the second half of the program.<P>It's remarkable how effective the best film music is in setting a movie's mood and tempo. The music is, however, still primarily designed as color and background to reinforce the plotlines of the film's visual action, and not every bar is destined for immortality. A shorter version of Mr. Shore's often-majestic score might yet find its place in the concert repertoire. The current performing version, though, is far too long.
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Disagree with reviewer

Postby Gil-Estel » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:16 am

<p>I think the Times review was rather harsh. I actually flew from GA to Seattle last July <em>just to hear the symphony</em>, returning immediately the next day, I felt that it maintained my interest throughout. My experience was enhanced by having reviewed the lyrics which had been posted on the internet by a performer from Atlanta. I am a middle-aged devotee of classical music who find that this work transcends the realm of 'film music' and stands well on its own.<BR><BR> As much as the books still find unwarranted prejudice in the literary criticism community, it would not surprise me if there were a similar bias in music. </p>
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You know, this made me think...

Postby Nawyn » Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:05 am

<p>And the conclusion that I drew was that the reviewer is absolutely right. I heard the symphony when it came to Philly last summer, anticipated it more each day before I went to hear it, and adored every moment. BUT I happen to be a huge fan of the movie scores, and like the geek I am, knew exactly what was happening on screen in the movies for every note they played. For me, with that background in the books and movies, it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I have ever gone to. For someone else, who had no particular emotional stake in it and was just going to hear something interesting, they would probably leave thinking just what this reviewer thought - that it was lovely music, but just too long.<BR><BR>That being said (and I hope no one takes offense), I do think that most LOTR fans would adore the symphony, and that it was a stroke of genius to put it together. And no, I'm not volunteering to cut it down - there were parts of the soundtrack I wanted to be in the symphony that weren't. (Remember the part just above when I admitted what a geek I am?) But I do think that the reviewer, speaking for the non-LOTR-obsessed people, got it just right.<BR><BR><strong>I</strong>, however, an unashamed LOTR geek, and not presuming to speak for every one of us here, think that Howard Shore got the symphony just right too. Which pretty much proves my point. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> </p>
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Re: Disagree with reviewer

Postby jimm1909 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:17 pm

Gil-Estel wrote:<p>I think the Times review was rather harsh. I actually flew from GA to Seattle last July <em>just to hear the symphony</em>, returning immediately the next day, I felt that it maintained my interest throughout. My experience was enhanced by having reviewed the lyrics which had been posted on the internet by a performer from Atlanta. I am a middle-aged devotee of classical music who find that this work transcends the realm of 'film music' and stands well on its own.<BR><BR> As much as the books still find unwarranted prejudice in the literary criticism community, it would not surprise me if there were a similar bias in music. Washington DC </p>


5 years later and I still agree.

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Re: 'Rings' symphony is a tad too long - The Washington Time

Postby Gohan » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:34 am

yeah well
the times always have to find something to bash
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