When reviewing any piece of work, I do my best to take it in isolation and not let related materials influence my judgement. I’m afraid with ‘The Hobbit’ soundtrack, that’s just not possible so expect lots of references to ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ to follow.
I’m sure I don’t need to go into the plot of the film here. Covering the first in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, this soundtrack was composed by Howard Shore, who also scored ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. The old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ rings true here and Shore is the perfect choice to compose ‘The Hobbit’ soundtrack.
It begins as you’d expect with ‘My Dear Frodo’, bridging the gap between the two sets of trilogies. It’s very reminiscent of the opening of ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ which is the point, of course, but I wouldn’t have minded something a bit fresher.
What this soundtrack seems to be missing is its own identity. It was only in the track ‘Blunt The Knives’, in which the elves made fun of Bilbo, I felt like I was listening to ‘The Hobbit’ soundtrack rather than ‘Lord Of The Rings’. A few more like this would have been welcome and given the soundtrack its own voice.
The overall soundtrack isn’t as heavy-going as ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, it’s a little softer to suit the brighter story. There are some nice Celtic tones in there that will take you directly to Middle-Earth and join Bilbo’s quest. In the first half of the album, ‘Radagast The Brown’ is probably the best track with a beautiful ethereal chorus opening.
Towards the end of the album, it really gets going, with the folky ‘Song Of The Lonely Mountain’ and ‘A Very Respectable Hobbit’ being stand-outs.
It’s a good soundtrack and still worth picking up, but if not for what has come before, it would be great. It’s just a shame that it has borrowed so much its older sibling.
(pub: WaterTower Music. 2 CDs 32 tracks 127 minutes. Price: $17.99 (US) £10.00 (UK)
check out website: www.watertower-music.com/