Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Johan de Meij's Symphony No. 1

I guess I've been in the mood for Lord of the Rings music lately because of my fantasy lit class. This piece was inspired by the book. The movement entitled "Gandalf" was one of the pieces we played on the field for marching band during my senior year in high school. It begins with a brass fanfare that fades away into the main theme, played by the low strings. This theme has an air of mystery and foreboding danger to it - it's slow, free-flowing, and somewhat eerie. From here, the piece progresses to a short majestic-sounding transitional section. From what I remember, there are subtitles along the way in the piece, one of them being "Shadowfax." Although I don't remember exactly where this was located, I can be pretty sure that it's during this next section - the fast-paced forward moving part. I can picture the wizard on his horse racing across Middle Earth while I listen to this. There's a dramatic drop in the tempo as the Shadowfax theme is slowed down to progess to the return of the initial motive (the mysterious, eerie theme). Then it's back to the majestic theme, and it ends on the fanfarish theme from the beginning. I don't think I have a preference as to whether Howard Shore's or de Meij's compositions better fit Tolkien's story because they both do a great job with that.

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