Mathematics aficionados have had fun this year with the once-in-a-lifetime PI Day — 3.14.15. 9:26:53. Symphony Silicon Valley has more numbers for the inner geek in all of us.
Author and musicologist Doug Adams spent many years with Howard Shore, analyzing the themes of numerology in his score of Lord of the Rings movies, resulting in the book, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Film: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore’s Scores.
Numerical themes have been analyzed throughout the history of mankind, music, and mythology. In the case of Lord of the Rings, J.R.Tolkien made a big deal out of the number nine.
Adams explains the themes of the score, places, events, and people, as depicted in nines. There are nine people that set off on the journey, nine original rings, nine notes in many phrases within the score, and more nines throughout the story.
Nine is present in other motifs, and musical arrangements, where certain themes are heard over and over. In the case of LOTR the number nine can be heard in several important themes. One has only to listen closely to discern three groupings of three notes played, in the second phrase of the Fellowship Theme. The first phrase of the History of the Ring Theme contains nine notes which, if played simultaneously, form the Ringwraith’s signature chord. In a ‘trilogy of trinities’ nine notes form the backbone of much of the stunning music in this score.
And that’s not all. The ‘tale of the tape,’ to use sports speak, is even more impressive.
When Symphony Silicon Valley performs the Lord of the Rings trilogy, simultaneous to the movies being shown on a huge screen, there will be 250 musicians on stage, made up of the orchestral instrumentalists, chorale members and children’s chorus.
These voices and musicians will be performing a total of 22 hours in a matter of four days. That only leaves a few hours for eating and sleeping. This becomes a marathon for each of the 100 instrumentalists, the 100 adult vocalists, and the 50 members of the children’s chorus. Not only a physical marathon, but a mental one as well.
The backdrop for the concert stage is a huge screen, 20 feet high and 48 feet wide, that will be showing the three Lord of the Rings movies in high definition.
Think of it: the sheet music alone…and this is just for the conductor…is 1200 pages, printed on 11-inch by 17-inch paper. Depending on the instrument, each musician receives several volumes of sheet music to study in advance.
“We will need a fork-lift to carry this music to the theatre,” said Andrew Bales, General Director of Symphony Silicon Valley. “These are the only West Coast performances of this epic event and our musicians are thrilled to bring it to you.”
The Lord of the Rings films, directed by Peter Jackson and based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novels, have won 17 Academy Awards. The Symphony Silicon Valley, choruses and soloists will be on stage beneath and in front of the screen for these historic performances. Seats for each individual performance are available in a price range of $60, $90 or $120.
Lord of the Rings Cycle 1:
April 16, 2015 7:00 pm The Fellowship of the Ring
April 17, 2015 7:00 pm The Two Towers
April 18, 2015 7:00 pm The Return of the King
Lord of the Rings Cycle 2
April 18, 2015 1:00 pm The Fellowship of the Ring
April 19, 2015 1:00 pm The Two Towers
April 19, 2015 6:30 pm The Return of the King
The San Jose Center for the Performing Arts is located at 255 S. Almaden Blvd, San Jose, CA 95113.
These special performances are coming directly from Lincoln Center in New York, where they will be presented by a Swiss orchestra, with European musicians, the week before San Jose’s performances. (The New York performances are sold out.) Tickets for all three films in San Jose may still be purchased in a complete trilogy package at $330, $240 and $150.
About Symphony Silicon Valley:
Symphony Silicon Valley (SSV) is the professional symphony orchestra of San Jose. Led by a roster of distinguished guest conductors on the European model, SSV is an anchor tenant of the magnificently restored California Theatre, one of Northern California’s most outstanding music halls. Besides the Orchestra’s core Classics programming, other concerts include Target Summer Pops free family-friendly outdoor music festival serving 17,000 annually and ArtSPARK, the County’s free arts education program for students in grades 3-6, which serves 20,000 to 30,000 students each season.