This morning there was an interview on Radio New Zealand with two of the musicians who will be featured on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack. I’ve transcribed the parts of the interview that concerned the movies; sometimes the speech on the interview wasn’t clear so I’ll have to apologise for any inaccuracies that might cause.
RNZ: Technology might have made the filming of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ possible, but it’s good old-fashioned music that’ll bring Tolkien’s creatures to life.
Alan Kelly: My name’s Alan Kelly and I’m the guitarist and singer with the group ‘The Barleyshakes. I’m over here with Alan Doherty, a great flautist. In the last months we arranged…that we’d come over here this week to record with ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ …for a small piece of the music they needed…one of the pieces of music…I think they call it ‘The Theme” [this I couldn’t hear clearly] …it’s for the opening scene … so we’ll be recording that with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
I’ll just be playing the Irish drum, the [bodhran?] which means ‘deaf ear’ or ‘dull sound’ – that’s the Gaelic for that.
Alan will tell you a bit about the flute playing…that’s Alan Doherty to my right here….
We played one concert last time when we were here which was for the Hutt Valley Art Association at the Sacred Heart School at the Hutt…that enabled Howard Shore [the Rings composer – T] to come and see us and liase with…
Alan Doherty: – He’s the composer of the music…
Alan Kelly: – and he was happy with what we did, so that’s basically why we’re here. We came out under our own steam last time, this time they helped us out.
RNZ: So you must be familiar with the kind of tunes that are going to be involved in the music for ‘The Lord of the Rings?’
Alan Doherty: We got a bit of a shock ‘cos I got a recording of the piece of music that I thought was going to be the piece of music, so I learnt it off, and me not being able to read music I’d have to rewind and play it a lot of times on tape and try and learn it by ear – which I did. And then I come over here, and went into the hotel room, and get handed the CD of this kind of music, and it’s changed a bit….
RNZ: What’s this music like?
Alan Doherty: It’s a classical piece of music – it’s kind of Celtic but it’s not really …I’m going to be the soloist and that’s – the lead bit is a Celtic kind of tune –
Alan Kelly: It’s classical-based…
Alan Doherty: It’s classical-based, with an orchestra.
Alan Kelly: It’s to represent when the Hobbits are walking through the forest. So bits of it are dark, bits of it are bright, […] leaves the sun coming through the trees…it’s kind of neat[?]
RNZ: Why is there the Celtic connection? Is it a kind of myth and fantasy kind of sound?
Alan Kelly: Yeah, it sits into that type of world. Celtic music’s very old, it’s the ancientest type of music.
RNZ: When you were recording with the NZSO, as you say, you were given a CD and you… have to learn it and you have to go perform it – you can’t improvise. How do you feel in those situations?
Alan Doherty: Well, I was told to improvise, actually.
Alan Kelly: I can’t improvise.
Alan Doherty: He’s got to stick to a certain beat but..He [the composer] basically said to me – ‘There is the basic music.’ I won’t go off the rails with it – I just put in a couple of trills in there.
Alan Kelly went on to discribe the drum he used in the recording. It’s a circular hand-drum made with a goatskin stretched over a round frame. It’s played with a small stick. The pitch is altered with the right hand while playing. Alan Doherty talked about the tin whistles and flutes that he played, which most people will be familiar with.
These excerpts are from a National Radio programme supplied by Replay Radio, RNZ Ltd. You can order a copy of this programme by calling 0800 REPLAY (737 529) within NZ.
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