Have you heard? is a showcase for the unconventional, unique and inspiring music out there that never seems to get the limelight it deserves.
In Dreams - Howard Shore and Fran Walsh (2001)
Everyone knows the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Academy Award winning theme music composed by Howard Shore. But not everyone knows that the same iconic theme for Frodo Baggins and The Shire has a full suite of lyrics to accompany it. Official lyrics to the greatest film songs would almost seem like something you would expect… in dreams.
So how does a singsong set to Lord of the Rings music constitute an unconventional, unique or inspiring piece of music?
First and foremost it is totally unexpected. Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition, nor did they expect a young soloist to feature in the most iconic Lord of the Rings song. The melody, rhythm and harmony is like-for-like the same as the orchestral version, but it is without the bells and whistles and glorious flourish. Instead, the piece is a mellow choral song about hope on an arduous journey. Of course, the melody and harmonics alone are remarkable, but it is the instrumentation that makes this piece truly unique. The blend between the young soloist and the choir, backed by a soft orchestra really emphasizes the emotion and spirit of the lyrics. The orchestra is there, but it is not the centerpiece of the music. Even when the iconic themes get their orchestral spotlight the music stays mellow and measured.
The lyrics are simple and clever, making enough reference to the journey undertaken in the film to be relevant. They never talk explicitly of the ring or of Frodo, but they do talk of the hardship and the hope within. Even at the end there is a direct reference to The Hobbit, a nice little touch.
This piece has absolutely influenced my music. Whilst I haven’t managed master the choir, you can find some influences from Howard Shore’s work in One World and Fantasia in F: Commemorating the Steward.
Happy listening and enjoy!
p.s. don’t forget to watch the movies.