Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King

4.9 47
by Howard Shore

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The soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third installment in the LOTR saga, is the work of award-winning composer Howard Shore and features an original song by Annie Lennox. Also available is a three-CD limited-edition version which includes the first two soundtracks, and a


The soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third installment in the LOTR saga, is the work of award-winning composer Howard Shore and features an original song by Annie Lennox. Also available is a three-CD limited-edition version which includes the first two soundtracks, and a limited edition CD/DVD that features a bonus DVD including a five-minute trailer encompassing all three movies and a 20-minute documentary, Howard Shore: An Introspective, on the making of the score.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
The monumental task of scoring -- in rapid succession -- three of history's most anticipated films has done little to temper the fire that fuels composer Howard Shore's vision and enthusiasm. With each installment of New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings trilogy, his seemingly bottomless cauldron of memorable motifs and affecting character themes washes over Peter Jackson's Middle Earth like a coat of varnish, bending each frame to its will. If The Fellowship of the Ring was its heart and The Two Towers its body, then The Return of the King is the series' soul. Opening with a Brahms-like veil of strings that deftly segues into a solo violin variation on the main melody, Shore begins by re-revisiting themes from the previous films. By the time he reaches the devastating "Steward of Gondor" -- featuring a heartbreaking tune sung by Hobbit (Billy Boyd) -- the mood has shifted from nostalgia to urgency, channeling the protagonists' desperation to complete their harrowing journey. "Twilight and Shadow" uses the gorgeous voice of soloist Renee Fleming to add weight to Arwen's (Liv Tyler) decision on whether or not to choose love over immortality, and "Shelob's Lair," with its dissonant bursts of percussive brass, cements Shore as this generation's Bernard Herrmann. The real magic begins with "The Black Gate Opens," a nervous breath and the calm before the storm, anchored by James Galway's tin whistle. That breath is needed, as what follows is the culmination of nearly five years of work. "The End of All Things" explodes with a variation on the choral arrangement that normally accompanies the Ringwraiths, and inter-cuts it with the voice of the ring -- a boy soprano -- before launching into the ten-minute "Return of the King." Like a Wagner opera, Shore methodically places familiar themes within the context of emotional turmoil, avoiding the forgettable nonstop dissonance that others apply to battle scenes with sweeping, often nightmarish melodies that linger for days. It's this dedication to memorable composition that makes "The Grey Havens" -- the film's epilogue -- so compelling. With its soft, bittersweet strings, it packs an emotional impact that would have resonated only on the surface had he taken a by the book approach to scoring the action sequences. Shore and Jackson are visionaries for whom this was a labor of love, and these films are a testament to their nearly inhuman resolve and tenacity. Despite the inclusion of a lovely yet unnecessary song by Annie Lennox, The Return of the King marks the end of an extraordinary collaboration that's destined to be celebrated and studied for generations to come.
Classic FM Magazine - Anna Britten
As breathtaking as its predecessors.... Magnificent.

Product Details

Release Date:
Reprise / Wea

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Howard Shore   Primary Artist,Conductor
Dermot Crehan   Fiddle,Double Violin,Irish Fiddle
John Parricelli   Guitar,12-string Guitar
Annie Lennox   Soloist
Renée Fleming   Soloist
Jan Hendrickse   Low Whistle
Urlich Herkenhoff   Pan Flute/Pan Pipes
Ben Del Maestro   Soloist

Technical Credits

Howard Shore   Producer,Liner Notes,Orchestration
John Kurlander   Engineer
Peter Jackson   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Danny Bramson   Executive Producer
Paul Broucek   Executive Producer
Fran Walsh   Executive Producer,Text
Mitch Rotter   Soundtrack Executive Producer
Mark Willsher   Associate Music Producer

Customer Reviews

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Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesome from the very begining to the very end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GandalfTheWhite More than 1 year ago
awesome from begining to the very end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DarthTyranus More than 1 year ago
awesome from begining to the very end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say, we all are very worried, afarid and looking forward to the score all at the same time, in the end I am certain that Howard Shore, who has taken us through middle-earth alone with his music, will once again come back with a beautiful music score that will without a doubt blow all else out from the water. Peter Jackson and Howard Shore both have taken me and countless others to the brink of honor and fear to the bottomless coals of Mordor to the higest point on a mountain top. The Return Of The King will be the best score of all time, I say that without thinking twice, all lord of the ring fans hold on it's going to be a bumpy and wild ride this December. This CD will start it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't heard this yet but i know it will be great. Howard Shore does a fantastic job of displaying the powerful mood and environs of Middle-Earth
Guest More than 1 year ago
Howard Shore has done it again. This is an awesome soundtrack, capturing the emotions of Middle-earth perfectly. The same recurring themes as in the other two will be recognize, but also includes some new ones. The only thing I found disappointing was Annie Lennox's "Into the West". This was, in my opinion, too folk-sounding, and Lennox's voice sounds out of place in the otherwise extraordinary score. Overall, however, I found Return of the King's soundtrack to be just as fantastic as December's movie is sure to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even if I were to go by just the scores of 'Fellowship of the Ring' and 'The Two Towers', than this soundtrack will be an epic. But I luckily have had a chance to hear this title. It is quite excellent, and Howard Shore has outdone himself once more. Fans of the trailer will be pleased to know that the soundtrack contains the music from the end of the trailer; while lovers of 'Concerning Hobbits' or the "Hobbit Hymn" will be happy that that light Hobbity theme pokes it's head in many a time. It is also a treat to hear actors from the movie Viggo Mortensen and Billy Boyd sing on the score. The only thing about the soundtrack I am unhappy with is the song "Into the West", by Annie Lennox. I won’t spoil it for you, so I’ll only say the song seems traditional folk-based. I’m sure everyone will have different opinions about that one. On the other hand, when it is accompanied by the appropriate scene in the movie it may fit better; and I trust Peter Jackson and Howard Shore to do things right. All in all, I recommend it to Lord of the Rings fans and to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! I just purchased the soundtrack and all I can say is that it is AMAZING! I was worried before that it wouldn't have as many good moments and streams of emotion like the fellowship's score, with its loving shire theme. I was really frightened after the Two Towers score which was good, but I felt was lacking of as many moving themes and moments as the fellowship. Good moments, I felt, were often cut short in the ttt score. Well the Return of the King soundtrack makes up for all of that. This is a cd with brilliance in every track. Regular themes like the elvish, rohan, and shire strands are done and hinted again, but are even better, altered brilliantly with different instruments. Gondor's theme, another theme I thought would not be any good next to “shire’s”, is heart moving. Its altered in several points perfectly creating suspense, emotion, wonder. I have to promise myself that I will stop listening to this before the 17th. Its too good, it creates feelings that can only spoil the movie. Shelob's lair, for one, (a track I thought I would normally skip over b/c I expected it to be too harsh, with the high horns used in the previous Rings score, somewhat cut down in this soundtrack, thankfully) well it was amazingly done, tense and tight. If i had to chose a favorite track, it would be the Return of the King track, which brings out the solitary shire theme, with a single instrument solo, and then many, and is remincint of the amazing Concerning Hobbits track of the first soundtrack (BUT EVEN BETTER!). The "Into the West Song" I felt was unnecessary, but all the other tracks, with sweet new sounds and vocals, and the old themes you can only love, makes well more up for it. A CD I can finally listen through entirely, and not skip around tracks, its the best soundtrack I have ever bought. I more then highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
After much anticipation, I finally purchased the soundtrack for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King". Not only do I think it was worth every penny, I feel like I bought something priceless. Howard Shore's incredibly emotional and powerful score for the final installment of the epic trilogy matches the energy, anxiety and the urgency of the Two Towers soundtrack and the heart-filled and glorious sound of the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, while adding new unforgettable melodies like the Gondor theme. My favorites were "The Steward of Gondor", "Anduril", "The Return of the King", and "Twilight and Shadow". Please consider adding this wonderful and intensely exciting disc to your soundtrack collection, and cheer Howard Shore on at the Oscars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was initially a bit disappointed with the ROTK score the first day I bought it, but since then I have listened to it many times, and have grown to appreciate the beauty in the themes and choral arrangements used by Howard Shore in this final soundtrack. It truly presents a fascinating end to the best movie trilogy ever made. I cannot wait for the movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough fantastic things about this LOTR ROTK CD. But I'll sum it up by saying two words: Absolutely Awesome. As i write this review I have not yet seen the movie. But after listening to this ROTK score I have felt the movie. I admit that I felt almost every emotion as I listened. I felt inspired during the regal The Return of the King track..it took pieces of Fellowship and Two Towers and molded it into an epic piece that will be heard for years to come. The score was haunting during the Shelob's Lair track..I could only imagine Sam and Frodo, already decimated by the arduous journey to Mount Doom, trying to defeat an undefeatable enemy. Into the West and The End of All things gave me a taste of the truly parting of the Fellowship and the end of this epic masterpiece..I found myself choking back tears that I will shed when I am in the theater viewing the final goodbyes. Annie Lennox does a reasonable job with her vocal talents in her album redition of Into the West. At times I thought she fought the song with her voice..unlike the masterful job Enya did with the Let It Be track in Fellowship of the Ring. Some interesting things surfaced as I listened to the ROTK CD. I could hear pieces of other movie soundtracks like Excaliber, Braveheart, Star Trek III, Titanic..I say this not to say that Howard Shore stole these but I would say that you hear these slight references as homages to these great sweeping score epics. I was truely glad to hear that Howard Shore didn't just take selections from Fellowship and Two Towers and try to market it as The Return of the King. You can hear in this CD that he saved the best for last. I was and am still impressed with H. Shores final summation to his wonderful epic scoring of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the past two soundtracks, Howard Shore brought an intense beauty to the movies. With this soundtrack, Shore brought life to the movie! From the smallest note to the climax of each song, Shore helped to complete an already amazing movie. If this soundtrack does not win an oscar, then it will not be Howard Shore, but the judges who have fallen short. A true masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, spectacular movies!! The music really leaves an impact on you as you watch the movie, as well as listening to it in your car or on the stero. I love the music, it has a lot of passion. Though I still think the Fellowship soundtrack is better, I enjoyed this soundtrack a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This soundtrack is so cool. Has a very deep and beautiful sound to all the songs. I really love number 5, the Steward of Gondor, with Billy Boyd (Pippin) sing. With his voice it makes the song kind of sad, but all in all it's a great soundtrack.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Howard Shore has made the best of The Lord of the Rings reaching deep into culture, mind, and the very spirit of Tolkien's writings. It's great to listen to and brings tears to your eye's and gives a sense of pride thinking of how hard people worked to make this just for us to hear, also the story behind the lord of the rings is truly shown. What can YOU see on the horizon?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some part's were wonderful. Some were just down. But when you hear again the sounds of Rohan and Gondor, maybe even just a little of hobbiton is makes your heart glow. The thing I felt was not needed was the wood flutes for the "Steward Of Gondor". Also "Into The West" is a true ending song. The Lyrics are just like the real leaving of the elves. :) Howard Shore is the best of the best! Howard shore deserves an oscar as other people have said. What can YOU see on the horizon?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I do admit a slight bias when it comes to these films, both the musician and cynic in me were completely awed by the soundtrack to this final installment of the Tolkien/Jackson epic. The vision of Howard Shore has defined the trilogy so far, and this soundtrack ties all three films together so seamlessly and so perfectly that it leaves me wondering if the films would have had quite so en emotional impact on me if they had been scored even slightly differently. To me, this soundtrack’s greatest strength lies in the fact that all major themes from the trilogy are present; it’s in this soundtrack, as in the work itself, that all themes are brought to fulfillment. For example, we were introduced to those scrappy Rohirrim by way of Norwegian lute in Two Towers, the first real introduction to the world of Men in the films. This simple melody drew the perfect picture of the proud, fierce peasant-warriors. Now, if you listen to this familiar theme by the last half of the ROTK soundtrack, the music of our beloved horse lords has blossomed into a majestic and noble melody, rich with the sorrow and power and courage that defined the Rohirrim’s progress throughout the movies. The soundtrack is filled with such developments, all swelling to an emotional release in “The End of All Things” and “The Return of the King”. And just in case you haven’t been put through the ringer quite enough, Shore offers “The Grey Havens”, a haunting song that presents the perfect bittersweet ending to the most bittersweet of all endings. Now, I really like Annie Lenox’s “Into the West”, though admittedly more for the lyrics than her rendering of the Grey Havens theme. If you’ve seen the film, then there’s a 90% chance you were at least a tad choked-up by the time you heard this. Personally, I wept like a small child. Which perfectly describes the sheer emotional pull that this score, coupled with Jackson’s vision and Tolkien’s genius, offers to us mortals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never heard a soundtrack so amazing. I love the way the instruments blend together. The singing is perfect. The last three songs make me cry because I can see what is going on in the movie while I'm listening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved the Lord of the Rings movies from the very beginning, and much of that is due to Howard Shore's genius. He manages to accompany that visual impact of the films while creating a masterpiece in itself. The scores for all three films can stand on their own as incredible acheivements of art. Since receiving this CD i have listened to little else. I also enjoyed hearing some of the cast sing (a job well done to Billy Boyd and, yes, Viggo Mortensen) and enjoyed listening to other very talented vocalists as well (Renee Fleming, anyone?) At first, I didn't enjoy "Into The West" by Annie Lennox, but have since changed my mind. It really is a beautiful song once it grows on you. This score has also done another important thing for me. My mom has always had little motivation to watch the films other than Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. I left this CD home one day, and I came back, and she is now resolute to see the Return of the King, because she was so moved by the music. This score is undoubtedly one of the most captivating scores I've ever listened to, and I would highly suggest having your own copy, because it is outstanding in every meaning of the word.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like The Lord of the Rings as much as I do than you'll love this soundtrack.The music is so great you will never want the CD to end.