The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power soundtrack – a mystical musical return to middle earth

2 September 2022, 18:05

The new The Lord of the Rings prequel premiered on Amazon Prime on 2 September 2022
The new The Lord of the Rings prequel premiered on Amazon Prime on 2 September 2022. Picture: Amazon Studios

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Amazon Prime’s new The Lord of the Rings prequel brings viewers back to Middle Earth with a familiar nostalgic soundscape of ethereal voices, yearning horns and soaring strings...

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered on Amazon Prime on 2 September two and a half years after filming began and a budget of over £600 million, the most expensive TV show ever made.

The Lord of the Rings series has captured the hearts of millions of fantasy fans over the past two decades with the release of six genre-defining films directed by Peter Jackson, based on the J. R. R. Tolkien books, The Hobbit, published in 1937 and its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, published in 1954-5.

The latest entry, The Rings of Power, is however an original work inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien’s books and appendices, though set thousands of years before the events of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Anticipation among fans has been sky-high for this nostalgia-brimming show, so we’ve gathered all the information possible on the series’ sorcerous score to see what hidden tuneful treats await...

Read more: Hear the Lord of the Rings score at Classic FM Live on 10 October 2022 at the Royal Albert Hall

What is the plot of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power?

Set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, this prequel series is set during the ‘Second Age’ of Middle Earth, a time of relative peace.

Season One of The Rings Of Power will be told across eight episodes, releasing weekly on Amazon’s streaming service.

Telling the stories of an ensemble cast of characters made up of Elves, Dwarves, Númenóreans, Southlanders, and Harfoots (ancestors of the Hobbits), each episode takes viewers across a multitude of impressively designed landscapes of Middle Earth.

Welsh actor Morfydd Clark, leads the large cast as the legendary elf, Galadriel. By her side, English actor, Robert Aramayo plays Elven politician and architect, Elrond. Both elves are prominent characters in the Lord of the Rings series, as in J. R. R. Tolkien’s world, they are immortal beings. In Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films series, these characters were portrayed by Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving respectively.

Per the description on Prime Video, “From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone”.

Read more: A trumpeter played ‘Misty Mountain’ from The Hobbit in a stairwell… and the reverb sounded amazing

The enchanting Elven kingdom of Lindon
The enchanting Elven kingdom of Lindon. Picture: Amazon Studios

Who wrote the music for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power?

The Lord of the Rings is synonymous with the mighty musical scoring of Howard Shore.

Shore composed the music for each of the six Jackson films: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King, and The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).

Over the course of these films, the Canadian composer wrote over 22 hours of music, and his music for the first Lord of the Rings trilogy earned him four Grammy Awards, three Oscars, and two Golden Globes.

Shore returns as the main theme composer for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, scoring the opening titles of the Amazon Prime series.

Read more: The Lord of the Rings soundtrack: all you need to know about Howard Shore’s score

However, this time, the honour of scoring the main soundtrack has fallen to American composer, Bear McCreary.

The Emmy-nominated musician is known for composing the music for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., historical drama Outlander and the comic-book based apocalyptic drama, The Walking Dead.

Though Shore’s main theme and McCreary’s score were created separately, the American composer told Deadline that he was “struck by how perfectly the theme and my original score... [fitted] together so beautifully”.

McCreary is a long time fan of Shore’s, and on the red carpet at Amazon Prime’s premiere in London for the new Lord of the Rings series, he told Screen Rant, “Howard Shore’s score for the Lord of the Rings films has had an influence on every note of music I have written since I was 21, so that's undeniable.

“I definitely leaned into that influence, and I want to create a sense of continuity for fans like me. I’m not trying to rock the boat or unpleasantly surprise you.”

Read more: Definitively the greatest film scores of the 21st century so far

In a teaser released by Amazon Music two weeks before the show premiered, McCreary takes fans through the soundworlds of the various groups of characters in The Rings of Power.

In the video above he explains, “Each place in The Rings of Power needed to have a sound that was distinct.

“When we’re with the Elves, you’re going to hear choirs ethereal voices. With the Dwarves, we have the deep male vocals.

“The Harfoots are a nomadic people. They are so connected to nature that I thought it would be cool if their sounds felt very natural.

“Númenor, that was my chance to create one of the most foundational sounds to the Rings of Power. The harmonic language has this middle eastern progression.”

Owain Arthur as Durin IV, prince of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm
Owain Arthur as Durin IV, prince of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm. Picture: Amazon Studios

McCreary composed the nine hours of music in just eight months, which was then recorded across four days. The score features a 90-piece orchestra, 40-voice choir, and countless soloists playing instruments including the bagpipes, bodhrán drums, and nyckelharpa.

The choir sang in multiple languages, based on those created by J. R. R. Tolkien in his books. Tolkien invested a lot of time creating a multitude of his own dialects for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, inspired by ancient Germanic languages.

In the Amazon Prime series soundtrack, the choir sing in Sindarin and Quenya (Elvish languages); Khuzdûl (the language of the Dwarves), Black Speech (the language of Sauron), and Adûnaic (the Númenórean language).

The soundtrack for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power was released on all major streaming services on 19 August 2022, two weeks before the series dropped on Amazon Prime.

The prequel series premiered in London on 30 August, and an after party was held at the British Museum.

McCreary surprised guests attending this event with a suite of the music he had written for the series, played by a 10-piece percussion ensemble, full choir, and violin soloist, Sandy Cameron.

The composer told Twitter, “We shook the walls of the British Museum!”.

The tracklist for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power

The soundtrack for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power features 39 tracks transporting listeners easily across the vast map of Middle Earth.

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Main Title – Howard Shore
2. Galadriel – Bear McCreary
3. Khazad-dum – Bear McCreary
4. Nori Brandyfoot – Bear McCreary
5. The Stranger – Bear McCreary
6. Numenor – Bear McCreary
7. Sauron – Bear McCreary
8. Valinor – Bear McCreary
9. In the Beginning – Bear McCreary
10. Elrond Half-elven – Bear McCreary
11. Durin IV – Bear McCreary
12. Harfoot Life – Bear McCreary
13. Bronwyn and Arondir – Bear McCreary
14. Halbrand – Bear McCreary
15. The Boat – Bear McCreary
16. Sundering Seas – Bear McCreary
17. Nobody Goes Off Trail – Bear McCreary
18. Elendil and Isildur – Bear McCreary
19. White Leaves – Bear McCreary
20. The Secrets of the Mountain – Bear McCreary
21. Nolwa Mahtar – Bear McCreary
22. Nampat – Bear McCreary
23. A Plea to the Rocks – Bear McCreary feat. Sophia Nomvete
24. This Wandering Day – Bear McCreary feat. Megan Richards
25. Scherzo for Violin and Swords – Bear McCreary
26. Sailing into the Dawn – Bear McCreary
27. Find the Light (Amazon Music Exclusive) – Bear McCreary
28. For the Southlands – Bear McCreary
29. Cavalry – Bear McCreary
30. The Promised King (Amazon Music Exclusive) – Bear McCreary
31. Water and Flame – Bear McCreary
32. In the Mines – Bear McCreary
33. The Veil of Smoke – Bear McCreary
34. The Mystics – Bear McCreary
35. Perilous Whisperings – Bear McCreary
36. The Broken Line – Bear McCreary
37. Wise One – Bear McCreary
38. True Creation Requires Sacrifice – Bear McCreary
39. Where the Shadows Lie (Instrumental) – Bear McCreary

The first two episodes of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, with a new episode releasing weekly from 9 September.