Official Stamps Launch
On Monday 2 Dec, NZ Post had an official launch of their new lotr:ttt stamps in the Grand Hall in the parliament buildings. NZ Post had graciously invited a few fans to come along and join in the festivities. 13 fans showed up, 5 in costume, and were treated to wine and yummy nibbles. Most fans were Wellingtonians, but Gordan won the prize for farthest distance traveled, having driven down from Hawkes Bay that day (about a three-hour drive!). There was chatting for a bit as different slides from lotr:ttt were shown at the front of the room. Fans got to know each other, politicians talked to fans and everyone generally schmoozed. We noted that some of the slides were new pictures that we hadn't seen, and quite nice at that!
The room quieted down as they showed the lotr:ttt trailer, and then the speakers got up. They talked about the remarkable achievement LOTR is and what it has done for NZ, and then talked about the stamps themselves. They apologized for only being able to show us slides of the stamps, since the official release day wasn't until 4 Dec. After the speeches finished, they put out beautiful press release folders, and packages of the complete lotr:fotr stamp set for us all to take home. [More]
Along with nice pictures of the stamps and flyers, the folders themselves are gorgeous. I think everyone had a grand time, and the NZ Post was thrilled with the fan involvement. Thanks to Jemma and Kate for their work in getting the fans there.
Te Papa Poster & Signing
I talked with Jane Fahy at Te Papa today, and she told me of two exclusive things. one is that they are going to be selling the exhibit poster (see pic) probably starting next week. and on 20 Dec from 11am to 11.45am Ian Brodie will be at the exhibition store signing his new book 'The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook'
Musical Mythologies NZSO Concert
the NZSO played in Wellington on Thurs 5 Dec under the conductor John Mauceri. unfortunately the house was not full, and it should have been because it was marvelous. they opened with 'The Ride of the Valkyries' from Wagner's ring cycle. It is a famous and much loved piece, and they did it credit. John Mauceri then introduced us to the night, in both English and elvish (to appreciative applause from the audience).
he then talked about the Wagner piece, telling a bit about the ring cycle, and other ring mythologies in different cultures. I don't usually count on the symphony to be the place to learn about ancient legends, but I must say I learned some stuff tonight. did you know that Zeus gave Prometheus the first ring? now I knew that Zeus is Jupiter in Roman mythology, but never knew that he was the maker of the ring, hence why the planet with the ring is named Jupiter....see, the symphony teaches you things). anyway, that was his introduction to the next piece 'Jupiter' from Holst's 'The Planets,' another familiar piece that the symphony performed very nicely.
John then introduced us to the next piece, 4 movements from John Williams' 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone'. They played "Hedwig's theme" (that is the opening of the movie); "Diagon Alley," which John explained uses recorders and a lot of older percussion instruments. It was a lovely duet between the Harpist and a contra-bassonist (which is mighty big, let me tell you) portraying the magical harp and the sleeping and snuffling Fluffy, the three headed dog. They closed with "Harry's magical world" (the concluding music of the movie). again, the symphony did a fine job on the lovely music, and it was really fun to see and hear all the unusual instruments.
after the break, the choir came in and John introduced the second half which was the 45 minute recomposition that Howard wrote to perform in the
Hollywood bowl earlier this yr. this was the Southern Hemisphere premier of the work. John talked about what an amazing accomplishment it is for Howard to create almost 10 hrs of symphony for this epic trilogy, and then to take time out to rework music from the first movie into this beautiful symphony.
John then talked about the books themselves, describing Frodo as an "everyman with hairy feet," that lead this ring mythology to a different place than most - instead of trying to poses the magical ring, JRR Tolkien's story is about trying to destroy it, setting it apart from most ring myths.
the symphony is in two movements, set to belong to book 1 and book 2 of the lotr:fotr. the 1st movement is only about 12 minutes, and includes the opening music, and the Hobbiton music. the second, longer, movement starts in Rivendell, journeys to Moria, Lothlorien, down the River Anduin, and ends with the battle and the breaking of the fellowship. anyone who saw the performance in LA knows that Howard did a fabulous job of fitting the themes together into this symphony and adding some other sounds with percussion that are reminiscent of horse hooves in Hobbiton and sword clanging in the battle. as you all know this is fabulous music, and listening to it live is just amazing. the NZSO did a great job. I hope more symphonies around the world get a chance to perform this music so more people will get a chance to see and hear it performed live.