Composer Leonard Rosenman wrote one of his most colorful and ambitious scores for the original Lord of the Rings film, the animated one directed by Ralph Bakshi in 1978. Fantasy Records is reissuing the original 2-LP set on 180-gram vinyl, and in a lavish box loaded with extras (the movie poster, a map of Middle-earth, animation cel, lobby card repro, etc.). I was honored to be asked to contribute a new essay about Rosenman, just part of a giant new 16-page booklet to accompany the set. Definitely one for the collectors, and very likely to sell out quickly.
The L.A. Times asked for a piece linking Wagner’s 19th-century leitmotifs with today’s film music, notably that of Williams (in the Star Wars films) and Howard Shore (in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). It was an offbeat assignment that put me in touch with scholars who shared interesting perspectives.
I am very proud of this one. This L.A. Times story was the first mainstream-press piece to call wide public attention to the immense accomplishment of Howard Shore in composing the score for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. I delved deeply into the orchestral and choral details of the music for Fellowship of the Ring, interviewed both Shore and Jackson, and then broadened the story to include Shore’s earlier collaborators, David Cronenberg and Jonathan Demme. Of course Howard would eventually win three Oscars for his work — but this was the very beginning of a multi-year, multi-film odyssey that continues today.