THE MUSIC OF
THE TWO TOWERS
The Fellowship of the Ring has been broken. The Dark Lord Sauron's influence reaches deeper into Middle-earth, while those who would stand against him suffer. And yet, hidden from view, the One Ring continues its journey towards the fires of Mordor. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opens with horns and strings delicately ascending, until the London Philharmonic Orchestra comes to rest in familiar territory. Howard Shore's History of the Ring theme parts the curtains with a cold, bitonal setting of the figure that sets the A-minor melody over an F-minor harmony, and nestles us back into J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.
But before the plot can move ahead, it must remind us from where we have come. And so we plummet back into Moria, back to the Fellowship's darkest hour as, having just crossed the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, they wait breathlessly for Gandalf the Grey to ward off the fiery Balrog. Shore's score sharpens its corners, returning to the same Dwarf style used for the last appearance of the underground city. Block of brass and percussion scuff against one another as the Balrog's ingress causes the Bridge to crumble and fall. Howard Shore scored this sequence anew for The Two Towers, but select passages from Fellowship's Moria music are quoted verbatim. "The percussion is similar throughout, and the same phrase plays as Gandalf slips," the composer recalls. With an orchestral wince, Wizard and demon fall, but this time we leave the Fellowship behind and follow them down through the rocky bowels of Moria. Chorus erupts with Philippa Boyens' text "The Abyss," while the rising colonnades of the Moria theme and the stinging brass pyramids of The Dark Places of the World battle for dominance.
The score churns to a rhythmic frenzy until Gandalf and the Balrog plunge into a vast open cavern. The pair had left the world of the Dwarves, and the score suddenly broadens into great rolling chords for mixed chorus and arpeggiating low strings. Voices in 3/4 time sing out in the Elves' formal tongue, Quenya, for "The Fight." One final violent assault of percussion carries the battle into the lake below, shaking Frodo from this disturbing dream.
Prefiguring its functional debut, the Rohan Fanfare makes an early, restrained string appearance under The Two Towers' title card, ushering in the official start of the saga's next chapter. And a bleak chapter it will be. No sooner are Frodo and Sam seen scraping their way down a sheer wall of rock than Shore reintroduces the weary lines of the Evil Times motif, the Ring Quest theme associated with the suffering and strain the One Ring has wrought upon Middle-earth. Tellingly, Evil Times is the only Ring Quest theme that appears more than once in The Two Towers.
Frodo and Sam will bear the brunt of the suffering in this story as the Ring's influence grows more powerful, its burden heavier. Here, at the chapter's beginning, the hobbit duo is only beginning to feel this effect. Shore's scoring alternates between hope and grimness, rotating through taxed, rundown readings of the Shire's Pensive Setting and the slightly cheerier hobbit sounds still available to the composer. However, the Ring has already begun to etch its scar upon Frodo. As the hobbit has a vision of Sauron's great lidless eye, the looming harmonies of Mordor blot out the brightness with the same close-voiced chords used for the Ringwraiths.
IN THE MAKING
In the finished film, the Shire theme that immediately follows the sprightly scoring of Sam's impermanent knot is replaced with a version of Evil Times on cor anglais. Here on CD, the warm, albeit momentary respite of the Shire theme has been restored.
En route, Frodo and Sam momentarily enjoy basic hobbit comforts - a bit of rest and a bite to eat - while Sam's culinary enthusiasm lifts his friend's spirits. The Pensive Setting of the Shire theme makes an appearance in clarinet, and Shore allows the theme to settle in unaltered. "Sometimes I work themes in subtly, and other times I just state them directly."
The comfort is short lived, for soon a winding line in the alto flute and cor anglais reminds us that the two hobbits are still being stalked. The Pity of Gollum (Sméagol's Theme) peeks out momentarily before retreating behind a screen of harrowed brass and strings. A brief choral interlude reinstates the ominous stillness of the surroundings with the text, "The Road to Mordor," a Sindarin translation of the same lines Gollum will speak later in the film.
The tortured creature returns, now prepared to actively reclaim his precious Ring. No longer a passive character, he is represented by the new Gollum's Menace (Gollum's Theme) and the jittery tones of the cimbalom. Gollum's approach, however, has not gone unnoticed, and he is seized upon by the hobbits. A struggle ensues with families of brass shouting chaotically at each other across racing string lines. After a fit of grabbing, scratching, and biting, Gollum finds himself at the end of Sting, Bilbo's sword passed down to Frodo. Now at the hobbits' mercy Gollum shivers and sobs as, once again, the cimbalom quivers beneath him.
Shore wrote and recorded an early version of this scene that was considerably different in content. In this original draft, progressive choral harmonies drew themselves over stately interjections from the low strings. Approximately halfway through the "Lost in Emyn Muil" heard here, Shore includes parts of this original composition, further exploring his perception of the barren, rocky landscape. "It's a compositional decision," he asserts.
Bound by Elven rope, Gollum attempts to strike a bargain with the hobbits. Back in his subservient guise, pleading for lenience, Gollum is rejoined with his aching Pity theme. He is still both characters, needy Sméagol and nasty Gollum. Alto flute and cor anglais again pick up the Pity theme until Gollum offers to swear upon the Ring to help. Solo oboe segues into the History of the Ring - conjoining Gollum's Pity and the Ring's History for the first time in the story.
Sam is suspicious. He rushes the captive as low strings recoil with an extension of the Pity of Gollum. Frodo, however, is more sympathetic to Gollum's plight. He sees in Gollum his own suffering and strife - and possibly his future. He asks Gollum to guide them to Mordor and Shore introduces a new member of Sauron's musical menagerie, The Way to Mordor, in solo French horn over expectant tremolo strings. Gollum agrees to lead the journey to Sauron's domain.
Freed, Gollum lopes through Emyn Muil's blades of rock while a grotesque twist on his Menace theme provides a bit of traveling music, first in cimbalom, then in stopped French horn. As he leads the hobbits on, winds and strings pick up the first three notes of the Pity of Gollum, flinging them through a harmonic gamut as the trio passes out of sight.
Merry and Pippin's southeastern journey from the Shire has been no easier. The two were captured by the Uruk-hai at the end of Fellowship, and have now been bound and tossed upon the Uruk's shoulders on their rough journey across Middle-earth. As the ferocious band passes, Shore's composition lurches to life with harsh, grunting brass tones - including French horns in their lowest, most guttural register - before clarinet and bassoon pick up the beginning of a resolute but strained clip of the Shire theme. Merry and Pippin aren't beaten yet. The line finishes proudly in resonant brass, but soon the Uruks are back on the move. The score is roused to violent purpose as the hammering percussion of the Five Beat Pattern bludgeons its musical surroundings and ushers the Isengard/Orc theme back into the score.
IN THE MAKING
The final choral outburst in this piece, which uses the text "The Missing" was not used in the film, but appears here on disc in its intended place.
Man, Elf, and Dwarf stand as the remaining three members of the Fellowship, now dedicated to tracking Merry and Pippin while Frodo and Sam tend to the Ring. Though they are reduced in force, their quest is no less noble. And so, this cross-cultural trio is accompanied by the strongest readings of the Fellowship theme that The Two Towers has to offer. Aptly set in triple meter, the Fellowship theme begins unharmonized, then passes through a short Dwarvish variation for Gimli's appearance. As the Three Hunters brave ahead, sovereign brass settings of the Fellowship theme gather energy while strings vehemently drum through accompaniments. The melody has lost some of its sheen since the first film, but it's not yet ready to admit defeat. "It's not quite as heroic as in Moria," Shore says. "It still has some energy, but this is only part of the Fellowship, and the quest is not going well."
The Fellowship variations curb their show of strength as the trio pauses on a hill overlooking the vast plains of Rohan. The first half of the Rohan Fanfare heralds the new land with an air of simplicity, humility, and regality. But the writing becomes embittered as Legolas examines the Uruks' path. The beasts are taking the hobbits to Saruman at Isengard. As if in opposing answer to the beautiful symmetry of the Fellowship theme, the score is seized by the thick, inclinatory music of Isengard and Mordor.
Isengard's Five Beat Pattern begins a layered build under mounting brass chords, but is quickly supplanted by the upwards-racing Skip Beat, which dashes out to introduce the music of Mordor. Coated in these jagged tones, Sauron's exotic theme enkindles, first in French horns, then in muted trumpets and the Moroccan rhiata. Saruman steps away from the vision in his palantír to command his army, and the Isengard theme and Five Beat Pattern return to the fore. But the White Wizard is now emboldened by a new musical ally: rasping scraps of Mordor's Descending Third figure commingle with a contorted Isengard theme. Saruman's ties to Sauron have strengthened since The Fellowship of the Ring. Whereas figures such as the Threat of Mordor and the Mordor Outline once wandered near Isengard's material, the Descending Third now directly intermixes with it.
It is a dangerous alliance, for as Saruman boasts, "Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman and the union of the two towers?"
Isengard's armies are ordered to strike a small village on Rohan's outskirts. As a mother sends her young children ahead to save their lives, the chorus, beginning with the Evil Times motif, intones a lament in the Rohirrim's adapted Old English. "Rohan, my lord, is ready to fall," the White Wizard promises.
IN THE MAKING
In the Extended Edition of the film, the first shots of Isengard play unscored, saving the Five Beat Pattern for later in the scene when the Uruk-hai are hacking down Fangorn's trees. Here the Pattern's first appearance is returned to its intended placement.
Éomer discovers the King's son wounded, and returns to Edoras. He pleads with Théoden, suggesting that Rohan must be protected properly from Saruman's advances. But the King remains mute. Save for an early version of Éowyn's Theme, Shore avoids leitmotivic writing during this entire Rohan sequence and deals instead purely with Rohan's musical style - open harmonies, alternating major and minor modes, low voiced brass and strings. The plight of the One Ring has not yet reached Edoras - at least, not explicitly - and so the Rohirrim remain on the story's edges for the time being. "This is written as opera," Shore says. "Little gestures, moments, and pauses - intimate, dark, Gothic scenes made to feel like Nineteenth Century opera."
Gríma Wormtongue issues forth from Meduseld's dank corners, forming the King's words for him. Shuddering F-minor chords build in the strings, stacking higher and higher over low brass, while a tantrum of repeating French horns outrages the ensemble.
Elsewhere, the Fellowship of the Ring makes its way across the Horselords' lands, close on the heels of the Uruk-hai. But the Isengard material, like the Orcs themselves, is now more driven, more aggressive. As the forces of evil advance their campaign to overtake Middle-earth, the Isengard music adopts a parasitic stance, writhing its way inside any music it encounters in an attempt to corrupt its host. Here Isengard's Five Beat Pattern forces itself upon the Fellowship theme, deforming the melody with its tilting mechanical might. Over this charge, mixed chorus sings ominous fractures of "Namárië," offering a farewell… but to which troop?
IN THE MAKING
The end of "The Three Hunters" contains a prefigured reference to Éowyn's principal theme, Éowyn Shieldmaiden of Rohan. The Two Towers' theatrical edit cuts directly from the Uruks' assault on the Westfold to Edoras, where Éowyn, accompanied by this early version of her theme, rushes up a staircase to encounter Théodred's injured form.
In the DVD edit of the film, Éowyn's climb is preceded by a scene in which Éomer discovers Théodred's body on a riverbank. In this instance, "The Three Hunters" is faded out of the film before its conclusion. The Éowyn theme still exists at the end of the composition, however, because of the editing, it goes unheard. Because The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings does not fade the piece out before its end, this Éowyn theme still plays at 5:58 in "The Three Hunters."
On DVD, Éomer carries Théodred back to Edoras, and Shore begins "The Banishment of Éomer." Éowyn's staircase scene comes shortly thereafter, so at 0:31 the same Éowyn theme originally meant to conclude the theatrical edit of "The Three Hunters" plays.
The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings contains the unaltered versions of both "The Three Hunters" and "The Banishment of Éomer," so the early Éowyn theme plays in both compositions.
The Orcs stop for the night on the edge of Fangorn Forest. Merry and Pippin hear the trees groaning in protest of their violent new neighbors, but a more melodious sound soon rises. A hobbity clarinet plays Nature's Reclamation, a theme not heard since Gandalf the Grey whispered to a moth atop Orthanc long ago. Merry tells Pippin the legend of Fangorn and the Ents. "Here is a little bit of the Nature theme, which I'll use later on," Shore reminds us.
The tale is quickly interrupted by the Orcs' lust for meat. A dissonantly harmonized three-note figure for brass and scraped tam-tam skitters about, jolting the orchestra as one scrawny Mordor Orc decides he's held his hunger for hobbit-flesh at bay long enough. Uglúk decapitates him, offering his warriors a cannibalistic treat, but during the ensuing feeding frenzy, yet another gaunt, leathery Orc, Grishnákh, seeks to satiate his desire to dine on hobbits.
In a dashing flourish of strings and brass, Merry and Pippin's salvation is again provided in the nick of time, in this instance by the Riders of Rohan. As the Orcs are slaughtered by the Riders, Shore's score whips into a paroxysmal stampede of pounding percussion, knifelike trumpet lines, and the yelping howls of high, aleatoric French horns.
The wild scoring for the Riders' attack on the Orcs was replaced in the film with music written for another Two Towers scene. Heard in the Complete Recordings is Shore's riotous final draft of the music, which plays up the confusion and brutality of the scene.
However, the very first draft of the composition included a bold setting of the Rohan Fanfare. It was eventually decided that the full version of the Fanfare should be held until King Théoden has reclaimed Meduseld's throne, and so the scene was recast as a moment of panic, not heroism. The Rohan Fanfare version was never recorded - the only sizeable piece of music from The Two Towers that failed to make it to the recording floor.
Celli and bassoon glide about minor modes while heavy rattles clack in the percussion section. The Riders of Rohan are upon the Fellowship. Low brass and high woodwinds ascend in pairs of pitches similar to the trumpet line heard when the Riders ambushed the Orcs' camp, and the horsemen encircle the Three Hunters. Gimli, feeling no need to temper his Dwarvish charm, immediately proceeds to insult Éomer. Though it's a somewhat less than auspicious start, herein lies the first interactions between the Fellowship and the Rohirrim, and so Shore introduces, in embryonic form, The Fellowship in Rohan, the figure that will represent the Fellowship's presence in the Horselords' lands.
Éomer reveals to the Fellowship that the Riders have only the night before slaughtered a party of Uruk-hai and burnt the corpses upon the plains. They saw no Halflings among them; no creature was left alive. The words rest heavily upon Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. A dejected setting of the Fellowship theme plays out in a solo horn above a string pedal, and the score takes an unshakably dark, elegiac turn.
Aragorn, the Ranger from the North, reads the ground surrounding the Uruks' pyre - hobbits were recently here! Aragorn traces their paths while the writing builds intently, chords signaling back and forth between the orchestra's mid and low ranges. He follows the tracks to the edge of the Forest of Fangorn, and the music shivers, releasing two major chords a tritone apart (A and E-flat). A new tone enters: the low, grumbling roll of the bass marimba presents the music of the Ents in an early version of its rising and falling line and dispassionate rhythms. But the theme is incomplete, and lacks its characteristic harmonization. Fangorn is a place of mystery, and it's still unclear if this land will welcome hobbits.
Cowering in Fangorn's underbrush, Merry and Pippin are discovered by Grishnákh, now hungry, bloodied, and more than a little resentful. The Orc storms towards them while the score bursts into a berserk polyrhythmic conflagration, joining Mordor's Skip Beat and Isengard's Five Beat Pattern into a grim alliance. Story-wise, this combination is noteworthy because this is a Mordor Orc: thus the Five Beat Pattern has officially begun to spread throughout all Orc cultures that stand as enemies against Nature. "This was tricky to write," recalls Shore. "It took a while to achieve the rhythmic elements and the flow."
The hobbit duo manages to scramble up a tree, but the Orc catches Merry's legs, plucking him from the branches and slamming him into the dirt below. Once again, the score fumes, twisting the Five Beat Pattern into a jumbled spasm where its signature three-beats-plus-two is subdivided into one-and-a-half plus one-and-a-half plus two.
The score holds its breath, poised on a single C-natural as the Orc lifts his blade, preparing it to work edgewise into Merry's belly. Without warning, Pippin's arboreal hiding spot peels open a pair of eyes. The hobbit's own eyes open wide with shock, and again Shore's score utilizes two major triads a tritone apart (this time A-flat and D). The Five Beat attempts to dominate the music, but is soon flattened by a roll of timpani, bass drum, low strings, and tremolo piano octaves. The wonderment of the tritone chords returns a final time in muted brass as a great bark-skinned creature takes the two hobbits high in his clutches and regards them.
"Tree? I am no tree! I am an Ent." The moment Treebeard reveals his true nature, the score transforms, its aggressively dangerous edge replaced by a wobbly genial character. This is the fully realized signature music of the Ents. Bass marimba, log drums, and strings patter about while solo bassoon circles in low creaks, probing a charmingly ponderous melody.
IN THE MAKING
Several sections of Shore's Fangorn composition went unheard in the final film. The piece's opening 45 seconds, meant to underscore Aragorn's first moments of hobbit-tracking, were replaced with sound effects. The initial strokes of the bass marimba, meant for a wide shot of the tree line, and the second and third iterations of the tritone chords, meant for Treebeard's Orc-squashing steps, were replaced with music from elsewhere in the film.
Once identified, Treebeard is accompanied only by the Entish bass marimba, log drum, and low string figures - the solo bassoon was removed from the film. "Peter tried mixing the bassoon solo in, but there was so much sound in there already, we didn't use it," Shore remembers.
Here on CD, all elements on Shore's composition are returned to their intended places.
With a limb-weary, incomplete utterance of the Shire theme, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam out of Emyn Muil and into the Dead Marshes. The Dead Marshes are a cryptic, haunted land, yet, as Gollum knows, they also provide a usefully covert path to Mordor. B-flat minor and F-sharp minor, the opening harmonies of Gollum's Pity theme, swell and ebb as the wretch leads the hobbits forward. But a veil of gauzy tones descends as the trio enters the bog, knots of aleatoric strings, timpani, and the metallic wails of a bowed tam-tam tangling the sickening air.
A weightier discomfort binds Frodo and Gollum, however. Gollum knows the painful allure of the Ring, and Frodo sees in Gollum his own potential future. Gollum approaches Frodo, half in sympathy, half in helpless dedication to his precious. Cor anglais taunts the two with the opening pitches of the History of the Ring theme, but the melody is never completed. Instead it's intercepted and redirected by the first four pitches of Gollum's Pity theme, which shuffles in to artificially complete the line.
Apparitional portamentos guide the composition down a more ghoulish road. Lyric soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, coupled with violins, slowly bends pitches upward as the bodies of dead Men, Elves, and Orcs that litter the swamp water peek back at the living with blank faces. The veil of aleatoric strings and timpani again lowers and Frodo is bewitched. He falls into the murky waters, where he's wrapped in a smear of Schönberg-esque Sprechstimme voices, half singing, half speaking the text "The Dead Marshes."
With a blast of horns, Gollum grabs Frodo and pulls him from the water. Gollum, perhaps even showing some concern for his master, offers a bit of advice: "Don't follow the lights." Low strings uncoil an F-major arpeggio figure based on the Pity of Gollum - perhaps a heroic moment? But they fade immediately back to an F-minor arpeggio. It is transient heroism, if any.
Frodo rests for the night, gingerly tracing his finger around the Ring's circumference. Again the first pitches of the History of the Ring theme sound in the strings, overlapping in octaves. Gollum pantomimes Frodo's behavior a few feet away, fantasizing about his former possession and painting a bleak portrait of the hobbit's future.
IN THE MAKING
Portions of this composition are dissolved in the film, most notably Frodo's underwater encounter with the ghouls of Dagorlad, Gollum's speedy rescue maneuver and Frodo's caressing of the Ring. The music plays here on CD as Shore originally wrote it.
Violins rise through the three opening pitches of Gollum's Pity. But instead of proceeding back down the line, the strings leerily divert up for two sighing pitches a half-step apart - the first notes of The History of the Ring. Frodo probes Gollum's history, even calling him Sméagol for the first time in the story, but in one short passage, the score tells us everything we need to know. Gollum's sad theme now interweaves with the Ring's History theme. The Pity of Gollum and the History of the Ring have twisted into a single, tortured whole. Gollum's history is the Ring's history.
The revelation is short lived, however. A rude series of evenly spaced D-naturals pushes the compound Way to Mordor figure back into the score and directs all eyes upwards. A Ringwraith soars above Gollum and the hobbits, still hunting the Ring, now mounted on the back of a winged fell beast. Mixed chorus bleeds back into the score, intoning the Black Speech lyrics and close harmonies of the Ringwraiths. With an up-tempo charge of the Threat of Mordor, the Wraith's theme ruptures through - each choral burst doubled in muted trumpets, recalling the pinched tones of the rhiata.
In the finished film, the Ringwraith's appearance features different choral performances and fewer developments of the Wraith theme. The composition featured on CD is as it was originally written by Shore.
Back in Fangorn, the Three Hunters continue their search for Merry and Pippin. Droplets of black Orc blood indicate they are making progress, but the eeriness of the forest keeps the trio on guard. Shore's Ent theme is picked up in the extreme ends of the strings - shivery high violins and rumbling contrabasses and celli. The middle of the orchestra, meanwhile, fidgets and barks with tight horn clusters and the knocks of the log drums. "The trees are speaking to each other," Legolas observes as a steady musical build begins in a twittering hum of strings, winds, timpani, and tam-tam scrapes. The patterns crescendo and complicate as the Elf continues, "The White Wizard approaches."
With a sudden upward sweep up staggered brass, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas turn to attack the interloper, but their assaults are effortlessly turned away. A pulsing pedal tone beats below dense minor harmonies as intense white light engulfs the trio. Following one last tuft of aleatoric strings, the music dissolves into clear, pure brightness. High strings consolidate into octaves while female voices chant in repeating triplet figures. In four arching measures, Shore introduces the music for The White Rider (In Nature). The music rises in unchecked splendor, tempered only by the brevity of its appearance. This theme articulates the same simple directness as does Nature's Reclamation, but the chorus carries an embedded secret: the text is drawn from Tolkien's "The Call," and has been translated into Old English. Throughout The Lord of the Rings, the chorus lyrics used for Gandalf regard the Wizard's position as mediator, a character that moves between cultures to influence Middle-earth. In Lothlórien, he was referenced in Sindarin and Quenya texts. In Moria, the Dwarves' Khuzdûl accompanied his movements. But here in Fangorn, Gandalf the White is met by choral lyrics in the same adapted Old English associated with Rohan. The Wizard has now been sent back as an agent of Nature and, as such has a greater grasp of the mysteries of Middle-earth. He knows he must lead the remaining members of the Fellowship through Rohan.
But first, Gandalf must account for his reappearance. The Wizard recounts his ordeal with the Balrog and their climb to the summit of Zirakzigil. Shore's score supplies the vaguest hint of Dwarvish music - plangent timpani strokes over open fifth harmonies - but this is not the same intense fight that began upon the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. After two days and nights, the combatants are worn. Summoning its last bits of strength, the score exerts a final choral thrust, drawing again from Boyens' text, "The Fight," and Gandalf smites the Balrog's ruin upon the mountainside.
Gandalf too collapses, but the score neither celebrates nor mourns the battle's end. Instead, with a thousand pinpricks of woodwinds and violins, it trickles back to life. After wandering the less tangible corners of existence, strong melodic figures in the massed low voices of the orchestra pass Gandalf's spirit back into his body, and Gandalf the White is brought into the world.
So the road to Edoras is laid before the Fellowship. The music snaps to with a sense of rhythmic purpose, but Gimli protests, recalling their original purpose for entering the forest. Bits of hobbit music, including the End Cap figure, can be heard forming like the thoughts in the Dwarf's mind before they reach his mouth. "Are we to leave those poor hobbits here…?" The score takes one more detour to Ent music - reduced to a gnarring collection of celli, contrabasses, timpani, and log drums - as Gimli again manages to insult his hosts. But the son of Glóin's barbs are well meant. He doesn't like the idea of leaving Merry and Pippin lost in Fangorn. Gandalf, however, is content - the hobbits have joined with the Ents for a purpose. His nature-based metaphor ("The coming of Merry and Pippin will be like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains,") is preceded by the same succoring four chords (F-sharp minor, G major, F-sharp minor, A minor) that will begin "The Dreams of Trees," but here they build into a profoundly elevating choral line that, like Gandalf the White (In Nature), foreshadows more the potent variations of Nature music to come. Shore, in dioramic form, introduces a powerfully symbolic foretoken - the simple goodness of these two hobbits will arouse Nature's retribution. But like Gandalf's words, the chart of this course is still shrouded in mystery.
Once again, however, the music stays one step ahead of the plot. As the chords build in the chorus, Shore utilizes a text, "The Mearas," that references a more immediate manifestation of the natural world - the imminent arrival of Gandalf's steed, Shadowfax. Gandalf rides with the Three Hunters, and the Fellowship has officially increased its count to four members. Upon this mark, Shore introduces a new variant of the Fellowship theme: Gandalf the White (In the Fellowship). "Gandalf now relates to the mystery of the story," Shore explains of the broad, regal melody, which, like Gandalf the White (In Nature), features Nature's high clear tones. "He's the character that's trying to figure everything out, always riding out to find information and bring it back. He's part of the unknown - he's been reborn and we really don't know much about him." Built off the opening down-and-back-up pitches of the Fellowship's theme, The White Rider (In the Fellowship) creates the bridge between the will of Nature and the responsibilities and deeds of the Fellowship of the Ring.
The sustained musical build from Legolas' line, "The trees are speaking to each other," to the assault on the White Wizard is replaced in the film with sound effects, as is Gandalf's final battle with the Balrog and his mystical odyssey through the cosmos. "The score needed to pause," Shore explains. "We don't always know this until we've assembled all the elements of the film, and we don't do that until very late in the process."
Another editorial decision, however, resulted in a happy ending in the music for Gandalf's return to Middle-earth. During The Two Towers' production, Shore scored individual scenes as the film was edited, which meant that he wasn't always writing in story order. He had already completed a long series of rising choral triplets for Gandalf's pending arrival at Helm's Deep when the filmmakers began to edit Gandalf's first appearance in Fangorn. The editors took the completed Helm's Deep music and edited it into Fangorn, finding, in the process, that it struck exactly the mood they sought. So when Shore came to score this scene, he incorporated the rising triplets, creating, in the process, a recurring theme for Gandalf the White (In Nature). As it happened, however, the theme was eventually removed from the Helm's Deep scene. And so, only on this CD set do both iterations of Gandalf the White (In Nature) exist, binding Gandalf's two most prominent moments of reappearance.
The final alteration to this composition involves Shadowfax's approach, though in this case the sequence was simply rewritten with a slightly different approach. Shore's first draft of this music can still be heard on The Two Towers' 2002 original soundtrack CD.
The four "small stones" chords return as we find that Treebeard has befriended the hobbits and has generously begun to treat them to recitations of languid Entish poetry. Merry and Pippin are in a somewhat less than literary mindset at present, and soon find themselves floating off to sleep. The orchestra's strings present the score's first uncompromised moments of extended peace and tranquility as the two hobbits greet the nestling calm of which they've been lately deprived. A Lullaby Setting of the Shire Theme passes between lush strings and solo winds as Treebeard sets the two hobbits on the cool earth and wishes them well for the night. He has business to attend to, and with the Ent theme creaking in low strings and timpani, the Shepherd of the Trees teeters off into the woods.
Gandalf and Aragorn confer during the night, eyes eastward towards the glowering threat that will soon be upon them. Low string writing surrounds the pair, ceaselessly plying fields of minor harmonies in their uncertainty. But out of the chill comes an unexpected moment of warmth as violas and celli embrace an accordant line in D major. Gandalf reminds Aragorn that for all his cunning, Sauron still does not know that Frodo carries the Ring. Here Shore presents a new theme for the One Ring - The Fate of the Ring - a theme that will be heard in The Two Towers in only this incomplete statement. This fourth Ring theme is melodically similar to both The History of the Ring and The Evil of the Ring, though it is cast in a rich major mode, eschewing the respective minor and Eastern-tinged harmonies of the others. What's more, The Fate of the Ring begins with a direct quote of the Evil Times theme, but again, shifted into a major key. Though the new melody dissolves before revealing its significance, it seems, in its fleeting moment, to answer the Ring's negativity with a plenary, all-encompassing beauty. But these answers are not yet to be articulated and, with an inlaid statement of the Shire theme's three opening pitches, the comfort abates, and we join Sam and Frodo just as they arrive at the Black Gate.
Here in the depraved heart of Sauron's empire, the music of Mordor abounds. Cinders of the Evil of the Ring theme pollute the air, passing from muted trumpets and rhiata on to low French horns, bassoon and contrabassoon. Martial field drumming indurates the music under an exacting setting of the Mordor Skip Beat - Sauron is amassing his army.
The Gate opens to admit a troop of armored Easterlings, and Frodo sees his opportunity. He gathers himself to rush to the Gate as violins cluster, dividing the section 12 ways. Abruptly, Frodo is stopped by Gollum, weeping and pleading, "Don’t take it to him." High strings and oboe solicit the proceedings with an entreating line that subtly segues into the History of the Ring in its closing moments. In an astute turn, Shore's score quietly reveals Gollum's self-satisfying motives before he offers to lead the hobbits on another more secret path to Mordor.
Merry and Pippin awake in Fangorn, rejuvenated from a long overdue sleep. Well-rested, they are back to their waggish hobbit ways, and so Shore brings back the whistle for the first time in The Two Towers, presenting an early version of a new Shire theme variation, the Playful Setting. Merry and Pippin, more than Frodo and Sam, have maintained their wily demeanors during their quest, so most of the score's new Shire variations develop during their adventures.
The one-two bump of the hobbits' End Cap figure precedes a stiff bit of Ent music as Merry absorbs the forest's deep sounds, but soon the two friends are caught up squabbling over a musty jug of Ent-draught. Solo clarinet adopts the fully formed Playful Setting, running the three rising pitches of the Shire music over a number of gracefully springy harmonies. The same elegantly comical developments then expand the End Cap figure, embellishing it into the new Hobbits' Antics accompaniment.
Meanwhile, the hobbits' disagreement devolves into a mad dash for the woodland beverage, and the Hobbits' Antics transforms into a lightweight action motif, fitfully punctuated by high string settings of the Ent theme that meet the hobbits' music on its own sonic terms. Fangorn's trees are not so enamored of these new three-foot-plus visitors who gallop carelessly across their roots. True, it is not the Ents themselves that Merry and Pippin have irritated; yet both the Ents and the trees make up Fangorn Forest and neither can be rightly classified apart from their surroundings. Thus, Shore uses the Ent theme as a kind of Fangorn catch-all. The trees awaken, ensnaring the hobbits and dragging them beneath the forest floor as the score sets the Ent theme contrapuntally in the two extreme registers of the orchestra. Low voices carry the prim figure in nervous rapidity while the upper voices take the line at half speed, compounding the dangerous tension as the music accelerates. All is well, however. Treebeard returns and orders the trees to sleep again and leave the hobbits be.