"I feel as if I was inside a song"The Presence of Music in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Songs and Poems set to Music

The Presence of Music in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Songs and Poems set to Music

The Tolkien Ensemble gives concerts regularly, during which most of the time their music is presented together with adaptions of cues from the score for the feature films by Howard Shore. Attending these concerts and following up the press, one will discover that this leads to some confusion, partly due to the fact that the Ensemble sometimes is not even mentioned in the concert description, which is why a short clarifying note is in order: While making artistic sense, combining the music of the Ensemble and Shore’s score is a decision based on the popularity of the films as well as the immediate attraction of the film score. Apart from Christopher Lee taking part in concerts as narrator and singer, there are no musical or artistic connections between the Tolkien Ensemble and Howard shore’s score.

The Lord of the Rings stage show has no connections with either of them. On the contrary in its visual and musical style it is distinctly different from both, with the exception of Hobbit folk songs, which shall be discussed later on.

Donald Swann’s music, finally, stands on its own and musically is firmly rooted in 20th century art song mixed with English folk music and as such does not strive to be true Music of Middle-earth. Caspar Reiff of the Tolkien Ensemble stresses:
If there's one source of inspiration Peter [Hall, co-composer] and I haven’t used its Swann's music...
Reiff, e-mail 1
We may therefore say that the four major works discussed in this paper, apart from being based on the same source material (Tolkien’s works), do not have any common elements as far as the process of their creation goes.