Suite: Scenes from Middle Earth

darmes.zipMarch 200635.62 kB00:44:02
  • At the Sign of the Prancing Pony00:06:27
  • Helms Deep00:06:03
  • Laurelin00:07:31
  • Merry Folk of the Shire00:04:35
  • Minas Tirith00:06:48
  • The Grey Havens00:05:11
  • Where the Shadows Lie00:07:29
Composer:Darby, Bob (1947- ), English
Instruments:Two Flutes, Horn, Vibraphone
Submitter:Darby, Bob
Email:per_nefer (e-mail)
Started in 2002 from sketches made in the 70s inspired by certain aspects of Tolkein's great work, The Lord of the Rings, and completed in early 2006. As far as is possible, the scenes follow the chronology of the book (although this was not the order in which they were written) and are not intended to reflect the composer's judgement as to their significance within the overall plot - it's just that these conjured up certain vivid musical pictures. My thanks to Richard Woodroffe - Scriptorium Webmaster - for suggesting the idea of bringing in a setting of Frodo's song in the Prancing Pony at Bree.
1.The Merry Folk of the Shire (4m 35s)
This is intended to portray the carefree little folk going about their business, but an extended middle section creates a less light-hearted atmosphere,
representing the hidden depths of character and endurance that is gradually
revealed in the course of the story.
2.At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (6m 27s)
A dark smoky and rather sleazy bar where heated arguments among the inebriated can erupt and subside just as quickly. The hobbits enter and soon enter the spirit with Frodo making his famous rendition of the full old Hobbit version of Hey Diddle Diddle, at the end of which he does his disappearing act. This causes a brief moment of heated comment after which things revert to normal, with a final re-entry of the hobbit motif just to remind the listener that they still skulk somewhere in a hidden corner.
3.Laurelin (7m 23s)
This is the ancient name for the realm of Lothlorien - a place of magic and very
shortly after the fellowship dares to enter its terrain, they are confronted by a band of well-armed elves who have appeared, seemingly from nowhere. The tentative nature of the place is reflected in the music by a series of interacting short themes that recur in various ways but with a very flimsy structural framework. There is a more defined structure for the middle section, which is representative of the governance of the King and Queen, Celeborn and Galadriel, elves whose recollections go back to the very earliest era of earth's history. The outer section recapitulates, to be brought to an abrupt end, as the fellowship re-enter the harsh realities of the real world.
4.Helms Deep (6m 3s)
The mountain stronghold of the kings of Rohan is the chosen last defensive
position against the attack of the 10,000-strongUruk Hai ork army of Saruman. In
this piece, like the citadel, the themes are bold and the structure is solid, but the shifting 5/8 rhythm - sometimes 2+3, sometimes 3+2 and sometimes,
Indeterminate - suggests just a hint that all is not secure as it seems and there may be something unsound in the foundations.
5.Where the Shadows Lie (7m 29s)
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
These chilling lines are set to a wordless dirge from the start of the movement.
The use of sparse but harsh harmonies paint a scene of utter desolation and
despoilment as befits the realm of Sauron, the principle architect of destruction and desecratation.
6.Minas Tirith (6m 48s)
The mighty city and capital of what remains of the realm of Gondor is described
in the book as being built on seven ascending levels on a colossal promontory at
the east end of the Anorien mountain range. The movement opens with a strident
rising figure in unison on all instruments to represent the structure - a motif that is repeated throughout the piece. But unlike the ancient capital, Osgiliath - brought to ruin by the forces of Sauron - Gondor is a living city; a city preparing for war. A motif designating diverse activity is soon overtaken by a military march representing the mustering of troops for the forthcoming battle. The movement lends with a forceful and majestic restatement of the city theme in celebration of its victory over the enemy.
7.The Grey Havens (5m 11s)
Lapping water is the motif that runs from the beginning to the end of this movement, starting in the key of C and repeated through each rising chromatic sequence until it returns to its home key. In between there is the suggestion of
the comings and goings of great ships, until the last disappears into the west leaving the lapping theme itself to fade away - harbinger of the end of the third age and silently heralding in the fourth - the age of men.