For Rednell: my review, orginally written at 18th of April 2004:
Howard Shore was in Antwerp(en), Belgium on April 16th, and the first European LOTR concert and in November we obtained very very good tickets for this concert. Personally I think we got the best seats. We sat in the first 'ring', front row on the left with a superb overview of the stage, screens, sound ect ect.
Ok. Howard Shore: The Lord of the Rings Symphony concert in six movements. In advance we bought a program of which pieces would be performed. When we got seated our first impression was how this 'stadium' could ever bring forth a good acoustic sound..(concrete all around). But well, we were there and slowly the first artists appeared on stage. The excitement was building
up amongst all. We all cheered and applauded when Howard Shore got on stage (well who wouldn't).
The Prophecy * Concerning Hobbits * The Shadow of the Past * A Short Cut To Mushrooms * The Old Forest * A Knife in the Dark
Wow.... the first tones of the Prophecy, the ladies choir singing sooo unbelievable pure... At first I was a bit disappointed with so much music from FOTR, but with the images shown you just got captivated by the story. I know this was written for the movies, but I never thought once of the
movies... The music takes you by your hand and takes you along on this great trip! A knife in the dark was very very impressive. Something that didn't go so well was the man who played the typical hobbit tune on flute. He was very nervous and the flow wasn't always there.
Many Meetings * The Ring Goes South * A Journey in the Dark * The Bridge of Khazad-dum * Lothlorien * Gandalf's Lament (special Edition)* Farewell to Lorien (Extended Edition, did not
appear on cd yet) * The Great River * Amon Hen (was not on the program, but I recognized it straight away) * The Breaking of the Fellowship*
Ok, I would have loved to hear the council of Elrond, but all the pieces with Enya in it, weren't there...... But oh wow... still it was pretty good. Then A journey in the Dark and Bridge of Khazad-Dum... that one really gave me the chills. The light on stage was red (I loved the spotlight usage) and with the beautiful drawings of the Balrog (by John Howe)... the music, the choir's. This was so much better on cd! Gandalf's lament was breathtaking and very very well sung by the female soloist of the choir. Her voice could go so low and then up...reaching an unbelievable low again.. you sensed the grief, the mourning and loss of Gandalf. Better than in the movie, trust me! I
really can't explain it. It was absolutely breathtaking. The soloist for the The Breaking of the Fellowship (falsetto I believe) was incredibly nervous. The poor Lad, a bit shaky at first, but wow his voice was incredible.
Oh and then a break! Really weird! You got plunged into reality, back in the concrete stadium. But I knew that my favorite pieces were coming! The artists returned before we even realized it. This time Howard brought with him the soloist Sissel. She sat down modest and Howard started to kick of with The Foundations of Stone.
Foundations of Stone * The Taming of Smeagol * The Riders of Rohan * The Black Gate is Closed * Evenstar * The White Rider * Treebeard * The Forbidden Pool
Oh wow... well um. Foundations of Stone... impressive. But the first real chills came with Riders of Rohan... excellent!!! Sissel, the Soloist arose from her modest position and sang a version of Evenstar ever unheard of! So pure and so powerful, Arwen's choice, her love for Aragorn was there, she portrayed it better then Isabel Bayrakdarian ever could do it. This lady is the artist to keep an eye on.
Treebeard was very special. You heard the trees; you heard a genuine wood noise. The Forbidden Pool has always been my favorite and it didn't disappoint me at all. Did I mention Sissel's Evenstar?
The Hornburg * Forth Eorlingas * Isengard Unleashed * Gollum's Song
The Hornburg, in the break we discussed the despair and yet hope in the Movie the Two Towers.. Enter the Bodhrans and the Drums, the Horns.. and you have an eerie feeling of battle, feel the
horse and the rider in Forth Eorlingas, and sense the victory in this particular piece. The tension was there, the relieve, the fighting against all odds...
Isengard unleashed was *good* with a pure solo of Sissel. She is good!!! And as desert in this movement she surprised us all by the best performance ever of Gollums' song. I never liked that
piece until I saw and heard Sissel performing it. This is the way this song was meant to sound... and the fact that a singer of this caliber can do something not classical.... *amazing* forget about Emiliana Torrini, Sissel is waay waay much better.
Hope and Memory * Minas Tirith (was not listed and gently went over into ) * The White Tree * The Steward of Gondor (Billy Boyd's piece was not there) * Cirith Ungol * Anduril
At first I was a bit disappointed that Minas Tirith was not listed. That piece of music is so kingly, royal and the shivers went down my spine when the orchestra played it... gently going
over in the White Tree (accompanied by great illustrations of Alan Lee). But the *best* piece without *any question* was the Steward of Gondor. The drums and bodhrans were marvelous in this piece. It gave you the intense feeling of Faramir's suicide mission (especially when the drums beated the final march and went silent)... I had tears in my eyes. The pan flute... amazing! I really had to take my time during Cirith Ungol to pull myself together.
The Fields of the Pellenor (not listed but was 75% played) * The End of All Things * The Return of the King * The Grey Havens * Into the West
Oh what more surprises could Howard Shore have in story for us? We all looked at each other and almost wanted to yell: The fields of Pellenor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The bodhrans (yes again), in combination with the horns and trumpets (and with a drop dead illustration of Eomer throwing a spear at a mumakil, John Howe), this was battle music. Some may not liked it because of the militaristic sound of it, but it was very very good.
In the End of all Things Sissel sang again and we were all stunned, so beautiful. Renee Fleming: you have serious competition in Sissel (she'd better watch out for this Scandinavian lady!)! A male soloist from the choir performed in Return of the King Aragorns' s/Viggo, but I liked Viggo's
version. The flutes were great in the Grey Havens and we all were waiting for Sissel's performance of Into the West. I still like Annie Lennox' version, but Sissel's performance was great as well :c)
After that Howard and his orchestra ended with an aubade to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, very fitting if you ask me.
Then it was over... unbelievable.. It went so fast! The audience went wild and we clapped, whistled, stamped our feet... Howard came back 3 times and also appraised the orchestra, the choirs and the soloists... and we were left with a special feeling, sore hands and throats.. but it was worth saving money for.
More on Sissel: