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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers—The Complete Recordings

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy has always been about scale: epic grandeur in cinemas, extended editions appearing in theatres and on DVD and, of late, the Complete Recordings editions of Howard Shore's Oscar-winning soundtracks. Though The Two Towers score suffered from the Academy's brief embargo on nominating scores with previously nominated material, its predecessor and successor took home the gold with much of the same thematic material to be heard on this deluxe four-disc soundtrack set. An unusually exhaustive soundtrack packaged with a terrific 45-page booklet, The Two Towers—The Complete Recordings is a music lesson in a box as Shore lays out his artistic strategy, beginning with every note of music in the original theatrical versions of the films, broadening to substantive portions of music from the extended edition (plus never-before-heard-in-their-entirety original studio tracks) and focusing by Douglas Adams' incisive liner notes, which explain the use of recurrent themes. Shore meets Jackson in ambition, delivering a full-bodied score (performed brilliantly by The London Philharmonic Orchestra) that encompasses songs used to help define the film's characters and cultures. These tracks span three packed discs, while a fourth disc presents the score in potent DVD Audio. Soundtrack lovers could ask for little more than a collection with such attentive detail.

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