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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
(2012)
2012 Regular Edition

2012 Special Edition

Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Howard Shore

Performed by:
The London Philharmonic Orchestra

The London Voices

Tiffin Boys' Choir

Additional Music by:
David Donaldson
David Long
Steve Roche
Janet Roddick

Label:
WaterTower Music
(All Albums)

Release Date:
December 11th, 2012

Also See:
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Hugo
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Audio Clips:
Special Edition:

CD1: 7. The Adventure Begins (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2: 5. Over Hill (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2: 11. A Good Omen (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2: 13. Dreaming of Bag End (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Availability:
Both 2012 albums are regular U.S. releases.

Awards:
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Buy it... if you desire a satisfying continuation of this franchise's musical identity by courtesy of Howard Shore's remarkably intelligent balance of existing themes and over a dozen new ones rendered impressively in the same style.

Avoid it... on either of the 2012 albums if you expect to hear a remotely accurate presentation of the controversial but appealing replacement music that caused long portions of Shore's original composition to be dropped from the picture.



Shore
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: (Howard Shore) How can it be, given all the lessons taught by George Lucas with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 1999, that movie-goers and film score collectors have forgotten everything they needed to remember about high profile trilogy prequels in cinema prior to approaching Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth in 2012? Despite the extraordinary buzz generated ahead of The Phantom Menace, the film never stood a remote chance of meeting audience expectations, especially amongst the most die-hard fanatics of the concept. Its vision of the Star Wars universe was critiqued to death, largely negatively, and its music, despite exhibiting solid, often brilliant material by John Williams, was reduced in stature by both those same expectations and a butchering of the recorded score in the film's hasty, last-minute edits. Fast forward thirteen years and that exact scenario has repeated itself with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The legendary status of nearly every aspect of the original The Lord of the Rings trilogy of 2001 to 2003 spawned a demand for continued, across-the-board excellence when Jackson and the studios behind the J.R.R. Tolkien concept adaptations announced first a pair of films devoted to The Hobbit, then three. In almost humorously predictable fashion, there were inevitable production problems, some resulting from studio financial woes and others caused by conflicting scheduling and the loss of Guillermo del Toro as the director for the projects. The split of the two films into three rather late in the process caused havoc in the pacing of the adaptation, forcing Jackson to wildly embellish portions of the original Tolkien tale and, in so doing, causing the first entry in the three films, An Unexpected Journey, to languish in its storytelling. Critics lamented the decline of the concept in widely disgruntled reviews. Audiences did not elevate the film to the fiscal powerhouse status enjoyed by its predecessors, relatively speaking given inflation; in fact, the prequel struggled to match the other, higher-grossing films of 2012. Film score fans, ecstatic for a reunion between Jackson and composer Howard Shore that was not guaranteed given their split over the 2005 remake of King Kong, were confronted by challenges made obvious by the film's post-production troubles, adding their general discontent to the equation.

And yet, there still stands The Phantom Menace, long beleaguered by the lashings it took in the early 2000's but eventually recognized as, quite frankly, an achievement that stands above and beyond most equivalent entertainment of its era. Despite losing the expectations game and retaining residual resentment from some Star Wars purists, it is still a marvelous spectacle of fantasy when compared to its contemporary peers, both in the fun of its cinematic entirety and the prowess of Williams' music. The score remains, regardless of its trials at the time, among the best of its year. All the same lessons apply to An Unexpected Journey, and perhaps it is fitting that the film music community has recognized these circumstances better than mainstream viewers and awards groups. So much has been documented about the three scores for The Lord of the Rings that the initial absence of such clarity in the creative process for An Unexpected Journey caused heartache and endless questions about the decisions that led to an undoubtedly messy but still basically effective final soundtrack for the picture. Whereas Shore's popular musical tapestry for the prior trilogy was finely tuned to the point of absurdity, An Unexpected Journey surprises in that it raises questions and challenges at all. Time is destined to tell the answers to these conundrums, but until that day, enthusiasts of Shore's sound for Middle Earth are left for the first time wondering why senseless thematic attributions were tracked into inappropriate places in this universe. While not an absolutely certainty, the absolution of Shore for these curiosities is likely merited; it is not difficult to imagine (and based upon the original album releases, actually appreciate) the musical journey that Shore intended to provide for The Hobbit, only for Jackson and his remaining crew's late efforts to rearrange their work and reaffirm their affection for Shore's prior achievements to sully the final soundtrack with re-recordings of occasionally bizarre material from especially the first and third The Lord of the Rings scores. As such, whatever negative criticism that results henceforth in this review is a reaction to circumstances outside of Shore's control. All veteran composers have dealt with rejections and last-minute re-recordings, but few expected Shore to deal with such daunting sets of rearrangements in this context. Perhaps relationship issues from King Kong did indeed linger through the years and rear their ugly heads once again.

One of the intriguing consequences of Jackson's bloating of the early elements of Tolkien's story for An Unexpected Journey is that Shore was presented with more avenues of exploration for character and concept themes than one might otherwise have expected. The basic story is intact, Gandalf the wizard convincing hobbit Bilbo Baggins to accompany a group of thirteen dwarfs on their journey to reclaim their kingdom from Smaug, the evil dragon displacing the dwarves from their treasure and home. Along their journey, they run into a number of obstacles old and new (for audiences, at least), some of which exhibiting awkward special effects and taking viewers on tangents meant to simply justify the existence of a trilogy rather than a duo of films. By the end, the dwarves, the hobbit, and the wizard form a fellowship much like that at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, gazing off to a preview of the next leg of their adventure. Despite existing in the same Middle Earth environment, the story's wealth of additional elements allowed Shore to not only revisit a variety of fan favorite themes from the previous trilogy, but introduce a dozen new identities that, at least in a few cases, were not intended to make full sense in this first installment. One thing can be made absolutely clear about Shore's approach to An Unexpected Journey: there are motific and instrumental techniques on display in this score that were strictly stated for the purpose of foreshadowing. Regardless of your opinion of the thematic results of Shore's labor, there is little debate about the continued intelligence of the composer's approach to this concept. He has recaptured his essence of Middle Earth through the continued employment of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and supplemental group and solo vocalists with ease, despite the replacement of some favorite instrumental colors (anvil, Hardanger fiddle, cimbalom) and seeming diminishment of the overall quantity of flashy solo applications. Do not expect, for instance, to hear as wide a variety of solo vocalists of both genders in this initial prequel work. But Shore's strict rules of structural methodology are all he really needed to carry over to make An Unexpected Journey sound so familiar. His knack for utilizing common phrases, keys, meters, inversions, orchestrations, and other tools to connect concepts musically is still masterful, and most listeners will probably recognize this loyalty in the process of interpreting that the overall tone of the music is a continuation of both nostalgic comfort and intellectual satisfaction.

If anyone doubted Shore's dedicated to his craft for this concept, all you have to do is analyze the application of the themes from The Lord of the Rings, at least as he intended before the re-write process started. Even within the obvious motific statements, there are fragmented references so intelligent that something like the Fellowship theme, the de facto identity of the prior trilogy, can be referenced in just a single note, exposed by what comes immediately before and smartly left to hang as a hinting indicator of what is to come. It is truly a pleasure to hear such subtleties be perpetuated in an era of film scoring expediency, the industry plagued by the kind of brainless music that results when ease of process and an intellectually devoid public result in scores that all sound like Hans Zimmer leftovers. From the opening bars of An Unexpected Journey, you know you're in for a transcendent experience, no matter how you haggle with the placement of thematic attributes. From a reviewing standpoint, these scores are a nightmare, if only because there is so much happening in every moment that no regular review will suffice. Author Doug Adams, who has made a new career out of an incredibly deep understanding of Shore's work for this concept, realizes this fact more than anyone else. No doubt, this review at Filmtracks will undergo several revisions as more of the procedural mysteries (both in the tracking/revision issues and in the revelations of the subsequent films) are solved. Complicating matters even further for this review are, like The Fellowship of the Ring, a dissatisfactory initial album situation and the lack of 5.1 DVD audio with which to compare the true sound quality of the prequel scores to their predecessors. Fortunately, the commercialization issues with An Unexpected Journey are nowhere near as offensive as those facing score collectors when The Fellowship of the Ring smacked the community with an emphasis on Enya trading cards. In fact, at least some effort was made to release more than just a single CD's-worth of highlights, regardless of the medium and despite the lengthier "special edition" product's laughably ludicrous claim that it contains the complete score for the film. The lack of DVD-quality audio for this review's initial incarnation is more problematic. So much of the mystique of the previous Shore scores rested in the immense size of the recordings, along with their controversially wet mixing qualities. Hearing this universe reduced to standard stereo sound after listening to it exclusively in DVD audio quality for many years is a challenge by itself.

Alas, the opinions about the "meta" aspects of the score's releases will be saved for the end of this review, as is typical at Filmtracks. The substance of the score merits more time, especially in such an iconic franchise effort. The issues of the ensemble and soloists have already been touched upon, but it is worth repeating that there exist no issues of size and style with this score. Some listeners will be disgruntled with the diminished quantity of outwardly elegant vocal and woodwind solos in An Unexpected Journey. The material for the Shire doesn't emphasize as many outrageously pretty recorder and flute solos, for instance, despite those themes' significant carry-over. On the other hand, you have to temper your reaction to the album with the knowledge that Shore, either by his own volition or by instruction, recorded a few of these awe-inspiring moments later in the process for inclusion in the film, the notable eagle rescue sequence at the height of the picture greatly expanding upon the lovely nature's reclamation theme with vocal magnificence. Additionally, there are fewer long-lined themes of glorious resonance in this first prequel, what new ideas of that type often replaced by those aforementioned re-recordings or saved for better references in later pictures. Shore does offer up more than a dozen new ideas for An Unexpected Journey, many of them introduced in the lengthy and impressive "My Dear Frodo" cue that opens the score. The "Misty Mountains" theme is not among those that is immediately heard, though it eventually comes to serve this film much like the Fellowship theme did for the original entry in the other trilogy. Referred to as the "Dwarven Company Theme" in some circles, this general identity for the adventure of the dwarves was written by New Zealand group "Plan 9" (David Donaldson, Steve Roche, Janet Roddick, and David Long), which had contributed source material to the original trilogy. Shore is not the type of composer to be protective of his melodic domain, and not only does he welcome contributions by other writers, but in this franchise, he has adapted their ideas effectively. Heard first in the hummed and barely audibly sung "Misty Mountains," the robust idea receives tremendous brass interpretations in "The World is Ahead," "Over Hill," and one version of "Roast Mutton." It became popular after its usage in the film's first trailer and eventually evolved into the basis for the "Song of the Lonely Mountain" interpolation and performance by Neil Finn (which will be addressed later in this review). For many listeners, the several heroic performances of this theme with fortitude in the film will reflect the melodic highlights of the film.

Extending out of the significant amount of returning thematic material for the Shire in An Unexpected Journey are three themes for Bilbo, unfortunately none of them related directly to the pretty "Bilbo's Song" melody heard (with some relation to the nature's reclamation theme) in the extended version of Return of the King. The primary one of these themes is a knock-out that was inexplicably marginalized in the context of the film, replaced by additional, previously existing Shire theme arrangements. Initially heard at 4:43 in "Axe or Sword?," this idea once again shares the first three rising notes with Shore's desired, overarching Shire identity (a trait that exists in a mutated form in "Bilbo's Song" as well, not coincidentally). The best presented of this theme's statements comes in the entirety of "Dreaming of Bag End," its progressions perfectly reflecting the yearning that the hobbits in the previous trilogy felt as they travelled further from home. More prevalent and a tad irritating is Shore's secondary theme for Bilbo, one representing the humor associated with the character. This mischievous idea gurgles out at 1:40 into "An Unexpected Party" and immediately will remind Shore collectors of Hugo, a very awkward piece of self-referencing in this context that becomes problematic when it interrupts the action at 3:42 into "Brass Buttons." It is better placed with existing Shire material in "A Very Respectable Hobbit." The composer compensates for this strange misstep, however, with hints of a Bilbo adventure theme early in "The World is Ahead," an idea with two phrases smartly connected to the later Erebor identity. Also possibly for Bilbo is a heroic theme that emerges in its solitary major statement at 3:42 into "Out of the Frying-Pan," a blatantly optimistic fanfare that wouldn't sound out of place in Basil Poledouris' Cherry 2000. The revisited Shire themes mainly rely upon Shore's primary identity for the hobbits. The cue "Old Friends" journeys through this familiar territory (the hint of the fellowship theme with just one note comes at 0:57 into this cue), the playful location variant for the Shire coming at the 1:02 mark. As the timeline in the film shifts back at 2:30, Shore explores different avenues without losing touch with at least a couple of very specific references to plot elements like the fireworks and the map. The Shire's themes seem to be Shore's most pervasively reprised element from the prior scores, for even before the re-writes you hear exuberant Shire expressions at the end of "The Adventure Begins" and the lamenting sub-theme for the hobbits briefly at the start of "The Hill of Sorcery." Given that these themes are fan-favorites, this isn't necessarily an unwise move, but the replacement of Bilbo's new primary theme with existing Shire identities late in the process is one of this soundtrack's major disappointments.

Among the thematic identities for An Unexpected Journey introduced in the expansive "My Dear Frodo" is a quick call of attention to the dwarves' kingdom of Erebor. While the full theme for this location is not heard immediately, this brief trio of rising pairs, stoic and grounded in sure dwarf fashion, is previewed at 1:58 into "My Dear Frodo" (and reprised at 0:55 into "Axe or Sword?"). Also hopeful but rather restrained in its heroism is the theme for the lead dwarf, Thorin. Intertwined with later phrases of Misty Mountains theme, his identity (2:17 into "My Dear Frodo") mirrors the ascending personality of Rohan's material in The Two Towers but is already destined for a more tragic musical conclusion. Shore immediately continues to explore the new themes in "My Dear Frodo" by expressing the mystical choral motif for the Arkenstone jewel at 3:03 (reprised at 2:40 in "Axe or Sword?"). The theme for Smaug the dragon is rarely utilized in this score, but its obnoxious, descending phrases (connected to Mordor in many ways) gain momentum at 4:16 into "My Dear Frodo." The alternating major and minor modes of this idea denote constant, inherent conflict, and while the theme is a bit difficult to stomach (unless in simmering performances, such as at 1:35 in "Axe or Sword?"), its prime, most appropriate performance at the end of the film, heard at the close of "A Good Omen," was struck from the final picture. Also diminished are a handful of other new themes for An Unexpected Journey. A new identity for Gandalf (the Grey, in this case) consists of two five-note phrases introduced at 3:32 into "Old Friends" and extended at 2:14 into "An Unexpected Party." Shore does not tip his hand at this point about the full purpose of this theme. A little more obvious but dropped for reasons logical to the franchise's extension to six films is the fuller theme for Erebor, a definite winner that bodes well for the following films. Connected obviously to Bilbo's adventure theme in its first two phrases and hinted at 0:41 into "The World is Ahead," where the idea's secondary phrase is afforded lovely string treatment, the massive fanfare for this location is provided with bagpipe color in the bonus album track "Erebor" and reprised at the start of another bonus, "The Edge of the Wild." What the bagpipes have to do with the dwarfs remains an interesting question, though perhaps Shore was making a somewhat humorous connection between the bagpipes' real historical region and dragons. Also stripped largely from the film is Shore's unique idea for "Radagast the Brown," the album track of that name featuring children's choir, lively fiddle solo, and table-setting percussion in striking roles, which may have been too much quirky musical character for Jackson to handle.

For the various villains of An Unexpected Journey, Shore continues his habit of connecting the structures of his themes of evil in some way to the identity of Mordor, which looms even in this story. His habit of ripping off short, repetitive ideas for brutal, bass-region pounding is in full force, the identity for nasty Orc chieftain Azog not straying far from subsequent Orc material in the franchise. Interestingly, as presented on snarling brass at 0:57 into "An Ancient Enemy" and on low woodwinds at 5:11 into "Radagast the Brown," the theme sounds like a coincidentally direct offshoot of Gollum's material. In the latter cue, Shore takes a moment to introduce the Necromancer identity with a greater touch of Mordor. The trolls are afforded a quick, rising series of four notes by Shore in "The Trollshaws." The Warg wolves enjoy an inverted version of this format, their brutally harsh blathering at the start of "Warg-scouts" featuring deep brass growls of immense power (under puffing flutes, intriguingly) and strong rhythmic propulsion from bass strings. This theme returns prominently in "Out of the Frying-Pan." The remainder of the thematic duties fall upon the ideas that, like the Shire melodies, carry over from the original trilogy, some in "cut and paste" form while others masked quite well. For example, the Rivendell theme in "The Hidden Valley" is largely intact in its lovely choir performance. Standing out as a bit obvious as well is the Lothlorien theme's explosion of heroism at the end of "Warg-scouts." The Mordor material really is well planted in this score, descending minor third figures integrated everywhere to hint at the impending evil. Some of the most intriguing references come in the variably understated (and potentially boring for some listeners) but still fascinating "The White Council," which goes so far as to feature an ominous statement of the Isengard theme at 4:37 for Saruman's cameo. Both the "history of the ring" and Gollum's non-song themes return, highlighted in a clever "Riddles in the Dark" cue that allows some subtle sonic battling between the Gollum and Smeagol identities. Finally, the nature's reclamation theme, easily Shore's most beautiful idea for the franchise (likely by intention), only appears on album for a short choral sequence at 1:58 into "Out of the Frying-Pan" but it plays an absolutely pivotal role in its extended rearrangement during the eagle rescue sequence at the climax of the film. This unreleased cue, defined by some as "The Flight to the Carrock," is among the most redemptive recordings ever made by Shore for the franchise, a stunning cue despite any misgivings you might have about its seemingly forced and unnecessary placement into the film at that juncture.

As was the case with The Lord of the Rings, Shore saves some of his best moments in this prequel score for times when he does not rely upon major, repetitive thematic statements. A few of these exist late in "My Dear Frodo," at which time the composer extends the personality of the "Moria" cue from the prior trilogy into an even more aggressive set of deep male chants over rampant snare, juxtaposed from high female fantasy singing at times. The last two minutes of that cue provide choral lamentation for the dwarves' loss that is very compelling, especially with the descending female voices and hints of the Smaug theme used as poignant counterpoint. Most of the individually remarkable cues in An Unexpected Journey occur in its latter half, together reminding of Shore's greatness in this arena without the need for outward grandeur. The momentary dissonant grinding effect at 3:00 into "The Hill of Sorcery" is an excellent change of direction mid-cue. The harmonic resonance and trombone muscularity from about 2:10 to 2:40 in "A Thunder Battle" is not to be overlooked. Many fans immediately noticed Shore's enhanced employment of flashy brass clusters in this score that will remind some of Don Davis' challenging music for The Matrix trilogy. Indeed, the trilling trumpets in the second minute of "Brass Buttons" (over the "Moria"-like expansion) do get your attention. In the thematic realm, the heroic Bilbo theme's statement at the height of "Out of the Frying-Pan" is another reminder of why these scores are so fantastic, especially with the gong strike at the start of that moment. Finally, the opening minute of "A Good Omen" offers Shore's incredibly beautiful choral tendencies for the concept in fully accessible glory. This cue, arguably among the best in the entire score, was one of many fabulous recordings made by Shore for An Unexpected Journey that were ultimately struck from the picture. When appreciating the bulk of this work on album, seemingly as Shore intended it to be originally placed in the film, it's puzzling to ponder the discrepancies between that and the music that Shore ultimately re-recorded for the film later in post-production. Nearly everything representing Bilbo's main theme and the catchy idea for Radagast was eliminated, and the most important statement of the Smaug theme at the very end of the film was dialed out in favor of silence. The striking of the quirky Radagast material may be explainable given how different it is, but there is no viable excuse (other than nostalgia) for the reduction of the Smaug and Bilbo themes, the latter an arguable improvement upon the clearly related Shire identities given the circumstances in this film.

Compounding the issues with the butchering of Shore's original intent in An Unexpected Journey are a few choices for last minute replacements that simply don't make any thematic sense. The expansion of the nature's reclamation theme at least makes some marginal sense, though it's easy to get the impression that its use eventual owes to its beauty rather anything really connected to its original representations. Even this explanation isn't water-tight, however, given the alternate attractiveness of the opening portions of "A Good Omen." In the closing acceptance scene of the film, Shore reprises Shire and Gondor material from the end of The Return of the King in extremely distracting statements that are not altered enough to service this new context at all. The continuous employment of the primary Shire theme for practically every moment Bilbo speaks in the film becomes almost laughable at the end, and this tactic betrays Shore's otherwise intelligent tapestry. The controversial whopper of a placement in the score is the quotation of choral material for the Ringwraiths/Nazgul during the final confrontation between Thorin and Azog; aside from fire and scary visuals, these concepts are barely related and such lack of musical integrity will likely bother film music collectors privy to the original three scores and their thematic meanings. It's important to remember, however, that the vast majority of listeners fall outside that group of dedicated soundtrack fans, and to these mainstream folks, the bet has been made by Jackson that the music is still effective no matter the technical attributes. And he'd be correct, as much as true enthusiasts may not want to admit it. More universally disliked has been the customary song for An Unexpected Journey. New Zealand recording artist Neil Finn was asked to adapt the existing dwarf melody into his own arrangement for the song, which he then performed with the help of his two sons. The vocal tone has a distinctly retro feel to it because of these layers of vocals to form constant feel-good chords, and the murky mix of the voices actually helps to alleviate this choice. Structurally, the song is actually quite strong (aside from a wasted two minutes of minimal meandering tacked onto the end of the extended version), but the layers of background activity in the recording have caused the most distress. Had the "ay ay ay ay" vocals been replaced by muscular brass (think James Bond style for dwarves) and the hideous clapping effects been substituted with more slamming metallic percussion, the song could have been a winner. It's understandable that the production opted to lean towards a list of New Zealand-based musical contributors, but that choice did not yield the best song possible for this film.

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Ultimately, too much of the story behind the score for An Unexpected Journey remains untold for a truly accurate final evaluation to be heaved upon it. No immediate explanations were made for the extensive re-recording of previous franchise themes to replace large sections of Shore's new work. That said, there are declarations that can be made based upon what was known right off the bat. First, Shore's score and the song for the film did not receive the awards recognition expected of them (no Oscar or BAFTA nominations). Secondly, the forced placements will not bother some listeners as much as the similarities between the original portions of the score (which actually made the cut) and Shore's own Hugo and Davis' The Matrix. Thirdly, the album situation is unsavory at best, deceptive in its advertising and nonsensical in some of its arrangements. While it's obviously tempting to recommend the expanded "special edition" release of the score (with 20 minutes more music), in part because of its great bonus material at the end of the second CD, there remains the troubling issue of the "Roast Mutton" track. The version of this cue on the regular album may be shorter, but it features immense and interesting performances of the main, "Misty Mountains" theme not heard at all on the special edition. A similar issue exists with "Old Friends." Thus, if you're a true enthusiast and want the best lossless CD presentation of the score, you'll be stuck buying both products. The fourth known issue early on arose from complaints regarding audio quality and volume drop-offs in the arrangement of the album tracks, though it will be difficult to truly judge these until a DVD audio-quality presentation someday hopefully arises. The comparatively dry ambience (next to the previous scores) will irritate some as well. Finally, there's the issue of all the great music recorded late in the process that is missing from the album; no matter your opinion on how inappropriate it may be, this music is still outstanding and highly desired out of context. These issues unfortunately sour what would otherwise be one of the strongest scores (if not the single best achievement) of 2012. It's important to remember that, despite all these issues, Shore's music for this franchise remains more intellectually constructed and impressively rendered than anything else churning out of the industry during this time. Just as it was with The Phantom Menace in 1999, tapered expectations are absolutely necessary to appreciate An Unexpected Journey. And regardless of whatever issues linger with the score as it resides in the film, collectors someday will be treated, based upon precedent, to the truly complete recordings that will yield a stunning, five-star listening experience on their own.   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: *****
    Music as Heard in the Film: ****
    Music as Heard on the 2012 Albums: ****
    Overall: *****

Bias Check:For Howard Shore reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.5 (in 24 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.25 (in 94,558 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





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 Track Listings (Regular Edition): Total Time: 107:57


CD 1: (51:58)
• 1. My Dear Frodo (8:04)
• 2. Old Friends (4:29)
• 3. An Unexpected Party (3:52)
• 4. Axe or Sword? (5:59)
• 5. Misty Mountains - performed by Richard Armitage and The Dwarf Cast (1:43)
• 6. The Adventure Begins (2:05)
• 7. The World is Ahead (2:20)
• 8. An Ancient Enemy (4:58)
• 9. Radagast the Brown (4:55)
• 10. Roast Mutton (4:03)
• 11. A Troll-hoard (2:39)
• 12. The Hill of Sorcery (3:51)
• 13. Warg-scouts (3:02)

CD 2: (55:59)
• 1. The Hidden Valley (3:52)
• 2. Moon Runes (3:20)
• 3. The Defiler (1:14)
• 4. The White Council (7:20)
• 5. Over Hill (3:44)
• 6. A Thunder Battle (3:55)
• 7. Under Hill (1:55)
• 8. Riddles in the Dark (5:21)
• 9. Brass Buttons (7:38)
• 10. Out of the Frying-Pan (5:55)
• 11. A Good Omen (5:47)
• 12. Song of the Lonely Mountain - performed by Neil Finn (4:10)
• 13. Dreaming of Bag End (1:49)




 Track Listings (Special Edition): Total Time: 127:26


CD 1: (58:34)
• 1. My Dear Frodo (8:03)
• 2. Old Friends (Extended Version) (5:01)
• 3. An Unexpected Party (Extended Version) (4:09)
• 4. Blunt the Knives (Exclusive Bonus Track) - performed by The Dwarf Cast (1:01)
• 5. Axe or Sword? (5:59)
• 6. Misty Mountains - performed by Richard Armitage and The Dwarf Cast (1:42)
• 7. The Adventure Begins (2:05)
• 8. The World is Ahead (2:20)
• 9. An Ancient Enemy (4:57)
• 10. Radagast the Brown (Extended Version) (6:39)
• 11. The Trollshaws (Exclusive Bonus Track) (2:09)
• 12. Roast Mutton (Extended Version) (4:57)
• 13. A Troll-hoard (2:39)
• 14. The Hill of Sorcery (3:51)
• 15. Warg-scouts (3:02)

CD 2: (68:52)
• 1. The Hidden Valley (3:50)
• 2. Moon Runes (Extended Version) (3:39)
• 3. The Defiler (1:14)
• 4. The White Council (Extended Version) (9:41)
• 5. Over Hill (3:44)
• 6. A Thunder Battle (3:55)
• 7. Under Hill (1:55)
• 8. Riddles in the Dark (5:21)
• 9. Brass Buttons (7:38)
• 10. Out of the Frying-Pan (5:55)
• 11. A Good Omen (5:47)
• 12. Song of the Lonely Mountain (Extended Version) - performed by Neil Finn (6:01)
• 13. Dreaming of Bag End (1:57)
• 14. A Very Respectable Hobbit (Exclusive Bonus Track) (1:22)
• 15. Erebor (Exclusive Bonus Track) (1:19)
• 16. The Dwarf Lords (Exclusive Bonus Track) (2:02)
• 17. The Edge of the Wild (Exclusive Bonus Track) (3:34)




 Notes and Quotes:  


Both 2012 albums' inserts include general notes from author Doug Adams about the composer and the score. The "Special Edition" is packaged in a hardcover digibook and features a longer version of the notes, pictures from the recording sessions, lyrics to the songs, and a mini-insert advertising the label's mobile app.





   
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