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Tolkien Week, Symphonically

Author John Cech
Air Date 9/21/2004

Tolkien Week, Symphonically Transcript

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By any chance does this sound a little “hobbity” to you? It’s from the final movement, called “Hobbits,” of Johan de Meij’s Symphony No. 1, which was inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and which premiered in 1988, some 30 years after the Ring books had been published. This is not the music that was used in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, but it sounds like it could have been. And you will be hearing a lot it in coming years, since it has been arranged to be performed both by orchestras and symphonic bands. In fact, it’s currently becoming part of the repertory for many high school bands around the country, and one of them in your home town may even be giving a concert of de Meij’s full work this week, which the American Tolkien Society has designated “Tolkien Week.” In fact, tomorrow is officially Hobbit Day, and Tolkien’s birthday. The English writer is known to be a stickler for detailed authenticity in the fantasies that he created — just ask any of his many, many fans. And there wouldn’t have been a soprano saxophone in Middle Earth, but somehow I think Tolkien might enjoy the creative liberties that de Meij has taken in his interpretation of Gollum:

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And I know Tolkein would like the epic grandeur that the movement devoted to Gandalf brings to the concert stage:

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I just received Paula Thornton’s approval for using the Buchholz Wind Symphony’s performance of the Hobbits. This piece was used as part of their live performance during the Florida Bandmaster’s Association District 4, 2004 Assessment/Festival. Paula is Director of Bands at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida. Here’s a web connection if you need more info on her and the program:

Posted in Literature, Music