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Album Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Ahead of its long awaited cinema release, Sarah Stanley reviews the second instalment of Howard Shore's original, and moving, motion picture score.

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91-C2EuRDmL._SL1425_ Howard Shore's unrelenting talent for creating an ominous atmosphere within his music is seen again without fail in the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy - The Desolation Of Smaug. Shore was the obvious choice for the score, having composed the iconic soundtrack to The Lord Of The Rings and also to An Unexpected Journey, the first in the Hobbit series.

Its clear from a brief listen to this soundtrack the intricacy in which Shore involves themes and melodies from the first
The Lord of the Rings film, in particular History of the Ring , making this familiar in a strangely haunting way. But, this is in no way just a repeat of his earlier work. Shore constantly introduces new themes contrasting with the familiar, and there is a sense of a build in these, which makes you certain they will return in full force in the final film of the trilogy. Intense, tension building action scenes are Shore's forte, and pieces such as "My Armour Is Iron" show his writing at his best, but there is also contrast in much more delicate arrangements, in particular "Feast of Starlight", which even without any knowledge of the action is worth listening to.

Ed Sheeran's song "I See Fire", written specifically for the closing credits is certainly worthy of a mention. Although obviously missing the intensity of Shore's music in the rest of the soundtrack, the folk style, and haunting fiddle interludes rest alongside the rest of the music, much better than expected. For the fans of the series, and of the music, Howard Shore certainly hasn't disappointed. We can only hope for a hat trick with the release of There And Back Again in 2014 and the conclusion of this monumental saga which has provided Shore with the perfect opportunity for epically proportioned musical exploration, over the past decade.

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1 Comment

Peter Posted on Wednesday 22 May 2019

Can Muse bring back ratings? I know not always accurate and you get some stick for them, but broadly pretty useful...

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