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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Howard Shore Going There... Back Again
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Samuel Walters

Nov 19 2010, 12:33pm

Post #51 of 67 (478 views)
Strongly disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

On a number of points. First off, do you think that "any reasonably talented composer could fill in" for Howard Shore on The Hobbit? Would any reasonably talented author be able to write sequels to LOTR? And have them be the received and viewed and enjoyed the same as the originals? Both Shore and Williams are intimately linked with the LOTR/Star Wars film franchises because of not only their style, but thematic composition. These composers literally create a significant part of the fabric of these films. Replacing them would fundamentally alter the language of the music and, therefore, the films themselves. Could it be done? Of course. But the results would be significant and detrimental.

You offer Harry Potter as an example. But I disagree with you on a number of points. First, the first three HP films aren't as rich in themes and motifs as either LOTR or Star Wars. No one looks at HP 1-3 and sees the same level of thematic work as Star Wars and LOTR. Secondly, and more importantly, the music for the Harry Potter sequels has not "worked out pretty well." Many film score fans see the scores for films 4-6 as middling at best. And while I actually enjoy the scores for HP 6&7.1, there's a bigger problem than critical reviews: Most significantly, nearly *all* of the thematic work Williams did for HP (relatively minimal though it was) is absent from these films. Occasionally you'll hear "Hedwig's Theme," and perhaps the "Quidditch Theme," but that's about it. Musically, there's no coherence between the Williams compositions and those of Doyle, Hooper and Desplat. They simply don't result the same "opus" that six films of Star Wars (and likely five films of LOTR/Hobbit) represent. Furthermore, even when replacement composers have tried to utilize many Williams themes in a score, the results have not been particularly spectacular in terms of musical coherence (see: Superman Returns).

So if you want a Hobbit film or Star Wars film essentially absent of the thematic work, not to mention musical styles and sensibilities, created by the original composer, then you're entitled to your opinion. But to say that there'd be no fundamental change would be erroneous. The music is as important to Star Wars as it is to LOTR/Hobbit. Star Wars is rich in thematic work unlike just about any other franchise out there -- save, perhaps, LOTR.

Dauntlessmedia.net: Reviews and analysis of modern media (Star Trek, BSG, Lost, LOTR, etc.)

Daeorn Aldalómë

Nov 19 2010, 1:25pm

Post #52 of 67 (441 views)
Things are falling into place! [In reply to] Can't Post

I am so excited. My debate is whether to re-read The Hobbit now or to wait until the film is closer.... or both!!

Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.

Tol Eressea

Nov 19 2010, 1:29pm

Post #53 of 67 (452 views)
First of all [In reply to] Can't Post

yes, I do think that any reasonably talented composer could have taken over the composing for The Hobbit and done a good job. I'm not sure why you're bringing up the books, as writing novels and scoring films are as different as waffles and aeroplanes; but yes, I also think that there are many writers who could craft interesting and successful continuations of Tolkien's work (though I would not like for any individual writer to be given this privilege, but that's another discussion). A new composer would presumably be allowed to utilise the most important connective themes (The Shire, Rivendell, Gollum etc), and I expect that Shore's work would have been a major influence on the rest of the score. Taking this into consideration, I think it's likely that the new soundtrack would have sounded quite similar to that of The Lord of the Rings.

You say that the results would be 'detrimental'. But can you say that for certain? I've already made it clear that Howard Shore is my number-one choice to score The Hobbit, but as much as I enjoy some of his work, I wouldn't say he's the greatest composer alive. If anyone deserves that title, I think it is John Williams, who has composed so many iconic and memorable themes that it is difficult for me to imagine the world of cinema without him. Would I have been satisfied if he had scored The Hobbit? Certainly. Another suggestion, made by the member Gandalf'sMother, was Hans Zimmer. At first I was sceptical, thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean. Then I heard his fantastic work on Inception, and I have to say I agree: he is a fine composer, and I would be comfortable with him taking over The Hobbit.

I used the example of Harry Potter because it was the first example of a skilled composer being replaced on a major series to an acceptable standard that came to my mind. At first I wrote that Williams's successors had done 'pretty well', but I immediately corrected myself to 'not too badly'. I personally thought that Patrick Doyle's score for the fourth film was great, and I found the later films' soundtracks to be acceptable, too (though I haven't seen the seventh yet). I'd consider one good soundtrack and two all-right ones to be 'not too bad'. Smile But you're right, Harry Potter isn't a very good illustrative example of a composer being replaced well. But I don't think we can judge how Zimmer or Williams would have replaced Shore by examining how Doyle, Hooper and Desplat replaced Williams. I wouldn't consider Hooper to be a 'reasonably talented composer', but perhaps he's just not to my taste.

As I have said, I do not 'want' Howard Shore to be replaced. I am simply saying that the films would survive the loss of their composer, as they have survived the loss of their director, and as they would survive the loss of Ian McKellen, if worst came to worst. Just because I'd be willing to let go of them and move on doesn't mean I'd be delighted to do so. If a genuinely good composer replaced Howard Shore – and integrated his thematic work skilfully – I would still see the films, love them and most likely enjoy the soundtrack. But this is a silly hypothetical discussion – we know Shore will be returning, and there's no one I'd rather have.

Samuel Walters

Nov 19 2010, 2:03pm

Post #54 of 67 (458 views)
Well ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I bring up books because replacing the author of a book in the middle of a series of books is similar to replacing the composer of music in the middle of a series of films -- or at least the composers like Williams and Shore who are writing thematically and attempting to create a unified musical opus that parallels the on-screen visuals. Can they all be replaced? Certainly. Someone else could have replaced Rowling as the author of the Potter books at any point in time. Would some people prefer the replacements? Almost certainly. But it's detrimental to remove the original author (or composer or director or actor) the before the works are completed. Ideas that were intended to be developed later may not be translated through the efforts of someone else. No matter how similar the new material might be to the original, it could never reflect the same intent, inspiration, and craft. To me, that's a detriment.

The Hobbit ought to be a continuation of Shore's compositional work from LOTR, just as the prequels were a continuation of the compositional work from the Original Star Wars Trilogy. Can The Hobbit survive if Zimmer or Desplat or even Williams came on board to score the films? Absolutely. Would I refuse to watch the Hobbit films if Shore were not the composer? No. Could I enjoy the replacement scores as much or even more than the originals? It's possible. But even so, the films certainly would not work as a whole, musically speaking. No matter how talented or skilled the replacement composer might be (even if the replacement is objectively superior to the original), the resulting score would be fundamentally different and something would have been lost in the translation.

So I say again: "Howard not composing for the Hobbit would be like Williams not composing for the Star Wars prequels. It just wouldn't work." If you want to qualify the statement by adding "in terms of the overall musical coherence of the films" that's fine. But it was implied in the original statement anyway.

Dauntlessmedia.net: Reviews and analysis of modern media (Star Trek, BSG, Lost, LOTR, etc.)


Nov 19 2010, 3:28pm

Post #55 of 67 (440 views)
Do you own physical copies of Summoning? [In reply to] Can't Post

The reason I ask is because i've only bought their albums off itunes, and you don't receive a digital booklet. I am wondering if the physical copy comes with a lyric sheet before I order anything.

Although our comments about Summoning were clearly tongue in cheek, there are some instrumental elements of their work which would work just fine for The Hobbit.

Are you a fan of other Tolkien related metal? Battlelore, Blind Guardian maybe? Elvenking is good....Amon Amarth is a great band, but it appears they are related to Tolkien in name only. Most ( if not all...) of their work is about brutal Viking warfare ( which is fine by me...)

Any other Tolkien metal you know of? Cheers Silmaril !


Nov 20 2010, 12:43am

Post #56 of 67 (413 views)
Good for you Huan ! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't believe someone managed to mention Sun Ra on a LOTR message board ! I happen to be a big fan of Sun Ra, and the thought of his music having anything to do with Tolkien gave me a good laugh !


Nov 20 2010, 7:10am

Post #57 of 67 (385 views)
Hooray! [In reply to] Can't Post

We were pretty sure it was going to happen, but it's a nice relief to hear it's finally official. Yay!


Nov 20 2010, 10:03am

Post #58 of 67 (380 views)
I must confess.. [In reply to] Can't Post

..That i don't own any of his music, but am familiar with some of his work via the miracle of the inter-web thingy !
I used to tinker around with a spot of DJ'ing about 15 or so years ago (mainly electronic type music..) and ended up collecting anything i discovered and took my fancy (vinyl, tape, CD, and more recently, the odd download. As a consequence, the music aspect of the Middle earth movies is a subject i feel a little more confident to join in on any discussions with than in many other areas!
So, having said that...
You sound like you know your music? Well, i often find that i hear a film score during a movie and get really taken by it, but if i hear it in isolation, say, on a CD, i don't get 'into' it as much. I was talking on P.M. with someone about this as regards the Harry P. DH's score...I found The tracks did not stand so well on their own. What i liked about Howard Shores LotR's CD's is that many (though not all) of the music tracks work just as well as singles as they do as part of a movie!
Do you feel the same way?

BTW i'd be interested to hear what Royksopp or The Aphex Twin would come up with if asked to contribute a work for a specifically chosen scene!?...Crazy

New Zealand,
Home to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies...


Nov 20 2010, 10:12am

Post #59 of 67 (381 views)
or... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
...say he's the greatest composer alive. If anyone deserves that title, I think it is John Williams...

...or Ennio Morricone?

Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 20 2010, 2:08pm

Post #60 of 67 (379 views)
Funny how I just sort of took that for granted [In reply to] Can't Post

I shouldn't have, and I'm glad to see it confirmed.

Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus

Tol Eressea

Nov 20 2010, 3:49pm

Post #61 of 67 (365 views)
Perhaps. [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not very familiar with his work.


Nov 20 2010, 5:13pm

Post #62 of 67 (369 views)
summoning cd [In reply to] Can't Post

i own all cds. there are no lyrics in the booklets. i do not listen to the other bands you mentioned. i like summoning related die verbannten kinder evas. my metal favorites are entombed, my dying bride, paradise lost, amorphis and wolves in the throne room.


Nov 20 2010, 6:07pm

Post #63 of 67 (369 views)
I do feel the same way. [In reply to] Can't Post

Howard Shore's scores stand up just fine as individual tracks as well as a complete listen start to finish. I particularly like " concerning hobbits" and anything featuring Ben Del Maestro. All three of Howard's scores own a permanent spot on the ipod. Another example of a perfect soundtrack/score IMO is "The Nightmare Before Christmas". I believe this is Danny Elfman's masterpiece, just like LOTR is Shore's.

Regarding Sun Ra, I have played drums since age 12 (i'm 38) and have done a fair bit of DJing myself. About 10 years ago, I also started experimenting with electronic,sample-based music production,making my own remixes to play out or give to other DJ friends to use. Sun Ra records are highly sought after by folks like myself. He was a strange dude, and his music contains many strange (home-made) instruments that are isolated in the track and easily sampled for your own use.

I think Aphex Twin would come up with something very interesting. I could hear them providing atmospheric elements in many places. Good choice DJ Huan !


Nov 20 2010, 6:18pm

Post #64 of 67 (352 views)
Darn. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was really hoping for lyrics to read their Tolkien interpretations. As you know it can be difficult to understand at times. I am familiar with Entombed, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and Amorphis. The singer from Entombed did a guest spot on the newest Amon Amarth album "Twilight of the Thunder God" the track is titled " Guardians of Asgard" I highly recommend it. Thanks for the info Silmaril !

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Nov 20 2010, 6:46pm)


Nov 20 2010, 6:35pm

Post #65 of 67 (356 views)
I would vote for Ennio Morricone. [In reply to] Can't Post

Absolutely stunning body of work across many genres and decades. A true master.


Nov 21 2010, 10:47am

Post #66 of 67 (334 views)
lyrics [In reply to] Can't Post

you can read all lyrics on their site summoning.info

thanks for the entombed info!


Nov 25 2010, 5:55am

Post #67 of 67 (357 views)
Only Howard Shore ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think, could capture the heart of the Hobbit films in a way that will make us feel we're going back home to Middle Earth ... I think his writing for the LOTR trilogy went way beyond a matter of simple "skill" or "ability" or talent, which many composers have ... I think he really connected with Tolkien's work (and with the movies' producers & writers) with his heart, in a very deep and almost spiritual way ... he really felt Tolkien's world in his heart (and from what I've read, a good part of his heart remains in that world...) - and he expressed in music how many of our hearts feel about Tolkien's world (and our own) - to me, he's the only composer who can "take us back home" to that world in these new movies in such a deep way ... reading Doug Adams' book has been a real eye-opener on this subject!

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