LOTR Symphony Report

October 13, 2006


About this report:

I planned to attend the LOTR Symphony, performed in Minneapolis by the Minnesota Orchestra, with an out of town friend. At the last minute, she couldn't make it and we were both disappointed. I vowed to make as many notes about the concert as I could about as many things as I could as an attempt to 'share' the experience second hand with her.

I can't call this a review. I certainly give my opinion on things and they are, at times strong. But I approached this with a much more casual frame of mind than a proper reviewer would have. I was keeping notes by scribbling in a notebook in the dark. Sometimes I couldn't read my notes. Sometimes I could but they made no sense. Additionally, I am fairly knowledgeable about the soundtrack but I do not have the audio version of a photographic memory. I did not double and triple check everything I reported. This is simply one friend talking to another... and letting a few others listen in. Keep in mind, my friend is not a soundtrack geek and I tried to shy away from terminology that would be useless to her.

Some of these observations were made because I was excitedly noticing them... some as I made an extra effort to notice things. I often don't know what to do in music concerts. What do you look at for an hour or more? I will often close my eyes and just listen but I'm never sure if this makes the best use of a live music experience. But for this concert, I was noticing all sorts of things.



Preshow Observations

We got there about 20 minutes before show. Two young ladies in costume greeted us. There were long banners hanging down from the rafters that said, "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" and fake stones, pine cones, and tree branches clumped around to make us think we were in the Shire, I guess. It didn't exactly evoke the Shire but it was a cute gesture. I think they were announcing the winners of the costume contest but the crowd was too thick to approach a view point. I didn't really see a lot of costumes on people. Throughout the evening I saw an Arwen (I think... as opposed to Éowyn), a Gimli and a Hobbit. There were a couple of capes on regular clothes as well. I wore one of folkdancy gauze skirts and a black velvet stand up color shirt with my Elven brooch at the neck.

Before the musicians were on stage (or at least, more than a handful) I noticed that there were 6 bass fiddles. Actually, there might have even been 7. I thought that was a lot. There were two floor/orchestra harps and a wood percussion instrument (probably a marimba but I'm not sure). The marimba player came on and played a little in warm-up and it's easily recognizable as Treebeard's instrument. I also noticed a gong, tall hanging chimes, a Taiko drum and an accordion. I couldn't find the chains against piano wire contraption that was used for the Isengard Theme.

As more musicians came on stage for warm-up, one started hearing snatches of recognizable music. Some brass player was playing the Gondor-prelude during the Beacons scene. Someone else played the Ring Theme.

The adult choir came on stage. The men were in suits. The women were wearing dark long skirts, white blouses and long, dark sparkly jackets. I'll refer to the 'women' when just the women were singing... the 'men' when just the men were singing... and 'adult' when both men and women were singing.

The boy's choir came on and lined up by height. They were in dark trousers and blue oxford shirts with the top button unbuttoned. I suppose it would be hard to keep a growing boy in anything fancier. I'll refer to this choir as the 'boys'. If all three sections were singing, I'll say 'mixed'. The choir came on after the orchestra was already seated. The gents in the orchestra were wearing tails. Very spiffy! I don't think the women were wearing anything uniform. I think they were individually dressed.

Fellowship of the Ring I