Original Music by: Howard ShoreTheHobbit_Smaug_dlx500px

Featuring Track Performed By: Ed Sheeran

Duration: 129 min

Label: WaterTower Music

The esteemed Canadian composer Howard Leslie Shore has produced this breath-taking soundtrack for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, adapted from the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Shore has composed more than eighty film scores, including the scores for The Hobbit: An unexpected journey and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, for which he won three Academy Awards. The Desolation of Smaug far from a desolate experience, both the film and soundtrack are a strong synergy, so strong, in fact at times the film seems to be following the music.

The Desolation of Smaug is the second of The Hobbit trilogy by Academy Award winner Peter Jackson a production by New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM). The soundtrack by WaterTower Music is available digitally, as a double CD set and available as a Special Edition soundtrack. The Special Edition has a bonus track, twelve extended tracks with superb expanded liner notes and an excellent interactive sheet music.

This monumental soundtrack opens with the ominous and foreboding of “The Quest for Erebor”, a dark forest of harmony which intermittently lifts with lighter mood. Followed by “A Necromancer” which is available as a bonus track, a commanding track which leads into the calming, tranquil yet at times sinister experience of “The House of Beorn”. The sound track journey continues with “Flies and Spiders” which seeps menace. ”The Woodland Realm”portends raised spirits and “Feast of Starlight” pervades dancing light and “Barrels out of Bond” is joyful with menacing shards. The growling start of “The Forest River” erupts into an exhilarating musical journey and continues with “Bard, a Man of Lake-town”, “The High Fells”, “The Nature of Evil” and “Protector of the Common Folk”.

Bilbo Baggin’s musical journey onto disk two begins with the initially lighter “Thrice Welcome” before progressing into “Girion, Lord of Dale” which is an awe-inspiring, haunting and melancholy composition. “Durin’s Folk” mixes lighter strings with formidable power producing a marvellous introduction into the bristling “In the Shadow of the Mountain”. ”A Spell of Concealment”  creates highs of tension with bass trombones and violins, this is a powerful composition, whilst “On the Doorstep” builds from quiet beginnings into a towering epic. ”The Courage of Hobbits”  “Inside Information” and “Kingsfoil” move onto “A Liar and a Thief”, a personal favourite with powerful growling  power.

”My Armor Is Iron” a searing and powerful composition, which preludes ”I See Fire” performed by Ed Sheeran, a more relaxed acoustic guitar piece which works remarkably well within this powerful composition.  Ed Sheeran, the 22-year old British singer/songwriter and Tolkien fan was honoured to work with Peter Jackson on this song as Jackson is one of his favourite director’s.  This album comes to a spectacular conclusion with “Beyond the Forest” a haunting and mesmerising composition which makes a prodigious finale.

This is a soundtrack to cherish, it is intricate and far from a light relaxed listening experience, it is intense but ultimately rewarding. It is rich and bold filled with ambition and I feel a tremendously enjoyable addition to any collection. The addition of the Ed Sheeran track is a clever move which breaks up an otherwise heavy composition and introduces music listeners from both sides of the fence to appreciate new music styles. At times this album veers to the dark side but take time and you will be richly rewarded, I’m already looking forward to the next instalment.

Review by William J. Old

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