THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING - THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS
Music composed and conducted by Howard Shore
Label: Reprise/WMG Soundtracks
Catalog: 091207-300

Year: 2007
Tracks:

Disc 1

1. Roots and Beginnings

2. Journey to the Cross-roads

3. The Road to Isengard

4. The Foot of Orthanc

5. Return to Edoras

6. The Chalice Passed

7. The Green Dragon (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan)

8. Gollum's Villainy

9. Éowyn's Dream

10. The Palantír

11. Flight from Edoras

12. The Grace of Undómiel (Renée Fleming)

13. The Eyes of the White Tower

14. A Coronal of Silver and Gold

15. The Lighting of the Beacons

 

Disc 2

1. Osgiliath Invaded (Ben del Maestro)

2. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol

3. Allegiance to Denethor

4. The Sacrifice of Faramir (Billy Boyd performing "The Edge of Night")

5. The Parting of Sam and Frodo

6. Marshalling at Dunharrow

7. Andúril – Flame of the West

8. The Passing of the Grey Company

9. Dwimorberg – The Haunted Mountain

10. Master Meriadoc, Swordthain

11. The Paths of the Dead

12. The Siege of Gondor

13. Shelob's Lair

14. Merry's Simple Courage

 

Disc 3

1. Grond – The Hammer of the Underworld

2. Shelob the Great

3. The Tomb of the Stewards

4. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

5. The Pyre of Denethor

6. The Mûmakil

7. Dernhelm in Battle

8. "A Far Green Country"

9. Shieldmaiden of Rohan

10. The Passing of Théoden

11. The Houses of Healing (Liv Tyler)

12. The Tower of Cirith Ungol

13. The Last Debate (Sissel performing "Asëa Aranion"0

14. The Land of Shadow

15. The Mouth of Sauron (Sir James Galway)

16. "For Frodo" (Ben del Maestro)

 

Disc 4

1. Mount Doom (Renée Fleming)

2. The Crack of Doom

3. The Eagles (Renée Fleming)

4. The Fellowship Reunited (Sir James Galway, Viggo Mortensen, and Renée Fleming)

5. The Journey to the Grey Havens (Sir James Galway)

6. Elanor (Sir James Galway)

7. Days of the Ring (Annie Lennox performing "Into the West")

8. Bilbo's Song

 

Disc 5 (DVD)

Complete Score 5.1

Total Time: 229:36
Rating:


Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

 
The latest and final installment of the "Lord of the Rings" complete recordings is now at hand with "Return of the King," thus concluding the epic journey of Howard Shore's music trilogy.   With over three hours of music and 5 total discs, one of which is a DVD featuring the entire body of work from 'Return of the King', this is a completeist's dream and covers every second of the finale.  Like the two prior releases, 'King' offers every note of the music that was recorded for the film and also includes packaging that fans have come to expect from a deluxe edition.

What You Need to Know:  Shore's score, be it from the first, commercial release or this expanded set, concludes the trilogy in an expected and entertaining fashion.  As this was a continuing story, the music picks up where it had left off with "The Two Towers," adding even more depth to the musical output.  In fact, the vast number of themes in the total series is mind boggling to think about but Shore has been able guide it in a way that makes it very easy to follow along.  At any point along the way, it could have been very easy to lose direction with any three of these scores. However, Shore somehow pulled it off and as an end result, he's delivered a set of soundtracks that have quickly become fan favorites.

 

While I do not have the same passion as most for the series, I do recognize and appreciate the quality of work that's present, both with the film and soundtrack alike.  Specifically, 'Return of the King' might be the best score of the lot since it incorporates all the signature themes and motifs that have been heard along the way as well as introducing new ones to conclude the adventure.  It's an impressive body of work and every bit of it is represented well with this set.  With that said, perhaps my only complaint about this release is that due to the massive amount of material in this collection, it is a laborious process to listen to it all. In short, it takes a rather large time commitment to hear this one out, which I suppose is only an issue for non-diehards of the series.

 

Final Grade: While this Collector's Edition might be pricey, it's a wise investment if you're one of the legions of fans who enjoyed this film series.  With all the DVDs and previous Complete Recordings in the series, this one makes for a worthy finale to the whole production.  If you're just a moderate fan of the series, however, the price may be a bit too steep for you, which means you'll have to weigh just how much you need to access the previously unreleased material.  With each disc of this collection spanning longer than most individual soundtrack releases, I believe it's a valid consideration to make. After all, there is plenty to enjoy from the first release of this score when the film originally debuted.  The purchase point really depends on your level of fandom and in my opinion, this one was made with the fan in mind (which is a noble and profitable gesture).

In any case, congratulations to Howard Shore on his excellent, impressive body of work with the series.   His contribution is one that is unique to film music history and I think many of the fans realize and appreciate that.  At the end of the day, that's saying something.

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