Mauceri prods 'Rings' symphony

In yet another instance of the classical music/motion picture connection, fans of "The Lord of the Rings" movies can look forward to a symphonic version of Howard Shore's music for the trilogy. The Oscar-winning composer is putting the finishing touches on a six-movement score that he will premiere Dec. 1 in Wellington, New Zealand, in conjunction with the debut there of the final film in the series, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

The music project was initiated by Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conductor John Mauceri, who led the first two movements of the symphony -- "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" -- at a Bowl concert in 2001.

"Three years ago, I suggested to Howard that his scores would make a great epic symphony," Mauceri said the other day from Pittsburgh, where he was rehearsing Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" in his role as music director of the Pittsburgh Opera. Mauceri is also serving as artistic advisor to Shore on the "Rings" symphony project.

"I believe that film composers should be encouraged to create performing editions of their scores that can exist separate from the films," Mauceri said. "The really good film scores exist outside of the film, just like the great ballet scores exist outside of the stage."

The complete work, with two movements devoted to each of the films, is scored for orchestra, chorus, children's chorus and soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists. After the Wellington premiere, Mauceri will conduct the Asian premiere in Taiwan on Dec. 10. No plans for a U.S. premiere have been announced.

-- Chris Pasles

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