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NZSO hits high note with Hobbit sequel

Last updated 05:00 12/07/2013

Sir Peter Jackson's second instalment of The Hobbit movie has become music to the ears of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The NZSO will record the soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Wellington Town Hall, most probably in September, before the century-old venue undergoes $43.7 million of earthquake strengthening.

The orchestra will work with Oscar-winning Canadian composer Howard Shore.

"The very first music ever recorded for Howard Shore's magnificent score for The Lord of the Rings was done here, in Wellington, back in 2001 in the town hall," said Sir Peter. "The piece, written for the Fellowship's journey into the Mines of Moria, was beautifully performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and showcased the exceptional acoustics of this over 100-year-old building."

Music for the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was mostly recorded overseas, including a contribution from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The soundtrack made the top 10 charts in the United States.

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NZSO chief executive Christopher Blake said the orchestra was looking forward to performing the music. "It's wonderful to have our national orchestra involved in this iconic New Zealand film.

"It means our music will be enjoyed by literally millions of people worldwide, and it is further recognition of our world-class standards of performance, and of New Zealand's international standing in the film industry."

Mr Blake said the NZSO had considerable experience and skills in recording film soundtracks. "Recording film soundtracks requires particular focus and efficiency - our musicians have to play to the highest levels and often under significant time pressures.

"It's a demanding process to be part of and we know our players will do a fantastic job."

Positively Wellington Venues chief executive Glenys Coughlan said the decision to record in the town hall was "an amazing way to punctuate" its temporary closure for strengthening.

"This is a brilliant achievement for Wellington and it has been challenging for us to stay ‘mum' on this while we negotiated all the arrangements. The benefits of this go well beyond the use of the town hall and I think we are fortunate to have such a strong advocate for Wellington in Peter Jackson."

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due to be released in December.

- The Dominion Post

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