Howard Shore: Middle-Earth maestro

Eye on the Oscars: Music

Composer Howard Shore’s three trips to Middle-earth netted him three Oscars (two for score, one for song, for the first and third “Lord of the Rings” films). Nine years after his last visit, he reunites with director Peter Jackson for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of three films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic.

“My inspiration begins with the book,” says Shore from his studio in Tuxedo, N.Y. “Tolkien’s deep love of nature and all things green is one that resonates deeply with me. When I re-read the books and think about Tolkien’s world, I always find the story very moving and I write from my heart.”

As with the “LOTR” films — which required a total of 11 hours of music — Shore wrote “The Hobbit” for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and a large chorus. Much of the music is new, although there are references to familiar music from the “Rings” films, including music for the Hobbits’ home, the Shire, and the Ring.

But, says Shore, “the main focus is the dwarves’ quest for Erebor (their ancestral home), now closely guarded by the dragon Smaug. Themes for Erebor and Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, are essential to the story,” he says, noting that there are also new themes for the wizard Gandalf, hobbit Bilbo Baggins and other characters.

Eye on the Oscars: Music
Soundtracks fuel narrative drive | Elfman’s full deck | Phantasmagoric ‘Pi’ filling | Catastrophic yet sensitive | A ‘Green’ approach to acoustics | Adele’s brush with Bond | Middle-Earth maestro | A bridesmaid’s London calling | Toon tunesmith | Song: In their own words

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