To veer off the beaten path again for a brief moment, I would like to draw your attention to a site I literally “tripped” over the other day, “The Music of ‘The Lord of the Rings’“.
This website, oddly enough hosted on a student sub-domain, although copyrighted and supposedly licensed (which I somehow doubt, myself being the eternal cynic and all), gives you a detailed insight into the conception and composition of the entire score which did, if you recall, garner two Academy Awards and got quite a bit of praise from critics around the globe. Many people would consider this to be Howard Shore’s masterpiece.
Even if you neither are into soundtracks nor really care about the score which accompanies this three-part fantasy extravaganza, it is nevertheless a fascinating glimpse into the musical universe that certainly did help make the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy the fan-favorite it was and remains today.
The site offers a glossary of musical terms used and then, for each of the three parts, presents a comprehensive analysis, a detailed look at themes, motifs and texts. It also describes the instrumentation and presents the performers for each and every score snippet.
The site is based on the annotations provided by the booklets that were and are included in the “Complete Recordings” 4-CD box sets for each part of the trilogy. Today, of course, each collectors’ box set has a much nastier price tag attached to it than the one it already had way back when.
To make this site more interactive, score snippets are provided in *.mp3 format to illustrate points made in the liner notes.
I have quite a few soundtracks, all of which I only listen to sparingly. Somehow, after a while, I often lose patience, more or less quickly, and switch to something else. Still, larger chunks of these three box sets have grabbed and held my attention time and again and “The Music of The Lord of the Rings” has actually made me pull them out once more to have both a closer look and a closer listen.
Highly recommended, if you happen to be so inclined.
This is something one should do sparingly, simply because it puts quite some strain on the hosting server and might actually cause problems for the person running the site or might force him or her to have to pay an additional fee to their hosting company.
Depending on the software, mirroring a site can be a pain in the neck to set up properly, especially if you do not want the software to follow external links and, accidentally, copy the entire “New York Times” website, which might easily set you several terabyte back.
In case you are interested in trying this yourself, I recommend a bare-bones piuece of free software called “HTTrack” (currently version 3.44-1), which despite its somewhat old-fashioned interface, packs quite a punch. If you know what you are doing, you can fine-tune the minutest aspects of mirroring a site.
When done, the software will present you with a start page from which you can launch a 1:1 copy (if you set the project up properly) of the mirrored website which now resides safely on your own PC … in its entirety.