Since the beginning of The Piano Guys, “Lord of the Rings” has been our most requested work. As we reach one million subscribers we thought it fitting to dedicate this arrangement to our “subs.” This was an intimidating project — encompassing the power and the beauty of the many musical themes throughout the movies; capturing the emotion and the “epic” nature of the story; and all with a few cellos, a piano, and a couple Canon 5D Mark IIs.
We normally write our tunes during intense compositional binges — the bulk of our songs have been written within the period of a few days. This one was different. It was a drawn-out process during which we studied the music of The Lord of Rings, contemplated what themes to incorporate, how they could tell the story by flowing from one to the other. We also spent a lot of time finding new ways to imitate instruments from various sections of the orchestra using Steve’s cellos — from the brass section through the woodwind section to the percussion section.
We love the story of The Lord of the Rings. It is a tale that has spiritual meaning for us. We love its messages — that “even the smallest person can change the course of the future,” that “there’s good in this world and it’s worth fighting for,” “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” … and that everyone should have a “second breakfast.” =) We love the poignant depiction of loyalty between the Fellowship of the Ring (we even included the “Fellowship” theme twice at 0:18 and 3:58 in the arrangement to feel like a common thread in the music as it is in the story.) We wanted to paint these messages musically as vividly as possible. Like so many things in the creative realm, and to paraphrase Mr. Bilbo Baggins, the hardest part was the first step. After a brief introduction of the Hobbit Theme and Fellowship Theme (arguably the most relevant musical moments) we felt strongly that we needed to begin with the deeply touching melody that serves as the soundtrack to Arwen’s vision of her future son (in the extended version of Return of the King). That gave way to a Divenely-led journey from the Shire and Rivendell through Isengard and Rohan to Gondor’s victory over Mordor.
We endeavored to represent each of the major allies and opposing forces in the story:
(There’s also a little hint at Shelob — see if you can find it) =)
After the music was complete we set out to find the right locations. We were determined to stay within Utah to see how well we could portray the incredible locations of Lord of the Rings without traveling too far from home. Paul, while driving with his family in St. George, noticed a grove of trees off to the side of the road across from an elementary school and convinced everyone in the car to hop out and take a look. It was as if they had stepped into another world…It’s hard to believe the main locations you see in this video are just a few yards off busy roads in Southern Utah (with the exception of the mountain scenes, of course!) We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked on this shoot — the entire video was filmed within 24 hours! It’s a miracle that it turned out. =) The scenes in our video are not meant to exactly “match” the Lord of The Rings locations, but rather allude to them abstractly.