BonMothma writes: More observations from the perspective of a singer in the Mendelssohn Choir as we complete week 2 of rehearsals and preparations for the “Lord of the Rings Symphony” coming to Pittsburgh next weekend.

The music that the choir is using looks like it was put together by about 6 different people. On some pages, each measure is numbered; on others, only the first measure of a line is numbered. I found this especially ironic since there was a posting earlier this week with Howard Shore’s talking about the importance of numbering each measure in a movie score. It is perhaps more important in a way for the Symphony since I’m sure the original score was recorded in sections, and the orchestra and choir didn’t have to jump to different tempos and moods without a break, as we will have to for the live performance.

The phonetic text also seems to differ from one section to the next. Some words are in the pronunciation guide; some are not. Some of the text is less phonetic and more Elvish. One page is pure Elvish as it appears in Tolkien’s text, with no explanation that this is the case. Also, they not only lumped all of the Elvish languages into one translation, they put the Dwarvish in with it, too, with no notation that it is an entirely different language. In spite of these problems, the overall pronunciations are sounding pretty good.

I’ve seen many reviews by fans saying that the singing in the “Khazad Dum” sequence is not loud enough. After looking at it more closely and hearing the men working on it this week, I can see why. “Dimholt Road” touched on this last week when he talked about Shore’s using the low male voice to convey the deepness of the Dwarf city. I imagine that when this was recorded originally, the all-male choir was much larger than the male sections of the choirs that are appearing on this tour. Also, as the notes are very low, they are hard to sing loudly. I got the feeling that these were at the bottom of the ranges of some of the bases and baritones. As a result, it will not have the power and fullness of the original soundtrack and score.

There is a genuine enthusiasm in the choir from fans and non-fans alike. Everyone wants to do their best, and there have been many comments regarding the beauty and power of the different sequences. As we were going over one part, Dr. Page commented, “I don’t know what’s happening here, but it must be very sad.” It was Smeagol’s theme as heard in “The Forbidden Pool,” which isn’t a particularly sad moment, but it certainly conveys the pathetic nature of poor, poor Smeagol.

We rehearse with Mr. Shore on Monday. Woo-hoo!

Lady of Lorien