For my birthday this past weekend, my girlfriend and I went to New York City to have some fun. I figured we'd do the standard clothes shopping, pick up a fake Rolex in Battery Park, pay respects at Ground Zero, and see a show on Broadway, you know, the usual NYC experience. But my girlfriend gave me a surprise present; she bought us tickets to go see Howard Shore's score to Fellowship of the Ring performed live at Radio City Music Hall. Pretty sweet, right? Well that's not all, because the score is performed live while the film is being played on a huge movie screen behind the musicians!
This really was the ultimate performance for any Lord of the Rings fan, especially those who have a large interest in music. Maestro Ludwig Wicki lead Switzerland’s 21st Century Orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus wonderfully. The kind of sound you get when you have musicians of this caliber combined with a legendary venue like Radio City Music Hall is almost indescribable. From the moment the opening note was struck until the conductor set down his baton, it was truly incredible. The mix that was used for the film was done specially for this concert. All dialogue is still intact, and the sound effects are muted slightly. This allows the music to take center stage, and boy did it.
The silences were more pregnant, the strings more playful, and the brass section, oh MAN! The brass section was absolutely ridiculous! Most of the fight scenes while the fellowship is in Moria relies on strong, thunderous trumpets, trombones, and percussion to really get your blood pumping; I don't think I've ever been so psyched up because of music in my life. I swear I could feel the Orcs nipping at my heels and sense the heat from the Balrog!
It is unfortunate that this was only a one weekend event, because I would love for more people to be able to experience this film as we were able to this past weekend. However, when the credits finished rolling and the screen went black, the audience was greeted with this advertisement: "Howard Shore's score for The Two Towers, performed live October 10th and 11th, at Radio City Music Hall. Come join us next year and continue the journey!" So if this is something you'd be interested in, keep an eye out for when tickets go on sale! I think I know what one of my birthday presents will be next year.
The Official Lord of the Rings Concert Website
The view from our seats (slightly zoomed in):