Composer Howard Shore has scored all of the films in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series, but on his new CD, it’s two concerti inspired by Chopin taking center stage. His piano concerto called Ruin and Memory was premiered by Lang Lang in China, and Sophie Shao plays his cello concerto, Mythic Gardens. (You can hear the latter on Rik’s show Wednesday night).

There’s more about the CD at Howard Shore’s website.

The world of J.R.R. Tolkien was brought to life in Peter Jackson’s films with memorable scores by Howard Shore. But even without serving a specific story, he says, the two concertos do have a narrative thread. “The piano concerto was written first, and It was created for the 200th anniversary of Chopin,” Shore explains. “So it’s a Chopin-inspired piece, and then the cello concerto followed, and I wrote it as a companion piece to the piano concerto. So in a way I was creating a concert work, but I was still basing it on a narrative, a story of Chopin’s life.” He’s used to writing music for specific players, and he did so for these two commissioned works as well. Lang Lang gave the premiere of Ruin and Memory, and Mythic Gardens was written for Sophie Shao. “It was very natural for me to write a piece for Lang Lang. Really what I do is I observe him. I look at his breathing, his movement, the energy that he puts out, and how he works in slower movements. So it’s a very physical process in a way, for me. And the same with Sophie Shao, the great cellist who played the cello concerto. A lot of it had to do with her physicality, her movement. And then I’m writing a piece to reflect that.”