The most epic cinematic adventure of the 21st century comes with one of the most powerful soundtracks: Howard Shore’s grandiose score for The Lord of the Rings.
Last year it was The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, led by conductor Ludwig Wicki, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – complete with chorus and soloists – play the entire score of The Two Towers at a special screening of the film in Hamer Hall.
Famously, the music for Lord of the Rings is a key narrative ingredient in director Peter Jackson’s realisation of Tolkien’s fantasy, using a scheme of over 90 leitmotifs to give definition and distinction to the enormous cast and many mythical races.
“The music is such a strong part of the story in Lord of the Rings,” explains Sarah Curro, an MSO first violin, “because each character has its own theme that returns whenever that character is onscreen.”
The deep, lush sound of the MSO live on stage adds an extra element to this complex system.
“It’s quite thrilling for us in the orchestra,” says Curro. “Because the music itself is such story, we’re really aware of what’s happening on screen. We’re know which character we’re bringing on.”
And what’s it like taking orchestral music to the masses?
“You feel pretty cool,” admits Curro. “Sometimes the themes are a bit cheesy, but that’s the case even in Wagner’s music, and he pioneered the technique. And you know it’s something bigger than this or that theme.”