--By Kristen Shalbinkski
"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" returned to the silver screen at Radio City Music Hall this October 8 and 9 for a special two-night-only engagement. The best part? The screenings featured a live symphony orchestra playing the entire score along with the movie. Ludwig Wicki conducted the orchestra, which included over 300 musicians from the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Youth Choir and Dessoff Symphonic Choir.
Now after seeing the film with live musical accompaniment, I have to say this is what a 3-D movie should be like. Forget about cool special effects jumping out at you. Having the orchestra perched directly beneath the screen and playing the score to perfection added another layer of emotion to the film to accompany the already eye-popping 2-D visuals. The "Two Towers" soundtrack is amazing alone, but hearing it performed live in person gives you a greater appreciation for both the music and the movie.
At certain points during the film, I found that I was completely focused on the orchestra, and at other times I forgot that they were even there because the music was so on point. I even got the chills during the film, especially feeling the music's effect during the scenes in Rohan, Helm's Deep and Forth Eorlingas when Gandalf, Éomer and the Rohirim come charging down on the Orcs at Helm's Deep. Everyone in the audience was clapping and cheering during these moments and throughout the entire film.
After the end credits concluded, Ludwig Wicki and the rest of the orchestra received a standing ovation. And the crowd rose to its feet once again when the man himself, Howard Shore -- who composed the music for all three films -- came out on stage to thunderous applause.
For any fan of the "Lord of the Rings" or of great orchestral music... or both, this was a night that will not be soon forgotten. So plan ahead and remember to get tickets to "Return of the King," which will hit Radio City with a live symphony orchestra next year.
Will you be lining up to see "Return of the King" with a live symphony orchestra next year?