The music of The Lord of the Rings film series was composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced by Howard Shore. Shore wrote many hours of music for The Lord of the Rings, 10 hours of which have been released in the Complete Recordings CD/DVD boxed sets. Additional music, including alternate and unused compositions, was released with the book The Music of the Lord of the Rings films in 2010. Shore composed the music in an emotional, operatic way, threading through the scores over 90 identified leitmotifs, which are categorized by the Middle-earth cultures to which they relate. Shore began his work on the music for The Fellowship of the Ring in late 2000 and recorded the first pieces of music (the Moria sequence) in spring of 2001. Additional music for the extended DVD version was recorded in March 2002. A similar pattern was followed for The Two Towers and The Return of the King, with the final sessions taking place in Watford on March 20, 2004.
The music was performed primarily by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Voices, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra contributing some of the early Moria music. A wide variety of instrumental and vocal soloists contributed to the scores as well.
The scores for The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King won Academy Awards in 2002 and 2004. The latter film also won an Oscar statuette for Best Song, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Shore’s music for The Lord of the Rings has become the most successful composition of his career and one of the most popular motion picture scores in history.
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