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The Music of Howard Shore

7 Sep

Canadian composer Howard Shore first rose to prominence for scoring the films of David Cronenberg in particular. His memorable themes for The Brood, The Fly and Dead Ringers won him other projects for a range of other major film directors, including David Fincher (Seven), Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) and Martin Scorcese (After Hours). The project that earned him his greatest success, both in terms of awards and popular acclaim, was the score of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. What is interesting is that in many ways Howard Shore’s selection as the films’ composer was something of a surprise. After all, given his past collaboration with the likes of Cronenberg, Fincher and Demme, Shore was associated with dark, ominous films rather than popcorn blockbusters. Furthermore, he had never before taken on anything that compared with the sheer scale of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy (although in fairness hardly any composers in the history of film-making have either!). Of course, the Lord of the Rings films were no ordinary motion pictures and this is what attracted Howard Shore to the project in the first place. Shore’s score was hugely successful and won him his first Oscar, as well as a Grammy Award, and nominations for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. Ultimately, perhaps Shore’s greatest success, on a more prosaic level, is that it is now almost impossible to imagine any one of the Rings films without simultaneously humming one of Shore’s theme tunes.

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