Symphony No. 1 - Gandalf


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Johan de Meij This PowerPoint presentation covers a brief history of Johan de Meij, J.R.R. Tolkein, and
Piece Duration: 6 1/2 minutes focuses on the battles of Gandalf. The presentation also covers Gandalf's horse Shadowfax,
Presentation Duration: 35-40 minutes compositional techniques, and also contains a performance video for either an audience or
student viewing. All Powerpoints contain director notes, and resources.

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  • Symphony No. 1: Gandalf (The Wizard) Movement I by Johan de Meij Piece Duration: 6 minutes 25 seconds Presentation Duration: 35 minutes with video performance.
  • Johan de Meij born on November 23, 1953 in Voorburg, Netherlands. Known as the Dutch conductor and composer of his Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings”. Studied trombone and conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music at the Hauge. Symphony No. 1 “Lord of the Rings” in five movements including I. Gandalf (The Wizard), II. Lothlórien (The Elvenwood) , III. Gollum (Sméagol), IV. Journey into the Dark (Mines of Moria/The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm), and V. Hobbits were completed in 1987, and premiered in 1988 by “ Groot Harmonieorkest van de Gidsen” under the baton of Norbert Nozy. British author, J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), penned the “Lord of the Rings” collection that tells the tale through three novels of Frodo Baggins and his destiny to destroy the one ring that rules all. “ The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers”, and “The Return of the King.” are the books in the popular “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy.
  • Gandalf is one of the central characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Trilogy. In the Fellowship of the Rings, Gandalf is described as “…shorter in stature than the other two (Elrond and Glorfindel); but his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. In his aged face under great snowy brows his dark eyes were set like coals and could leap suddenly into fire.“ Gandalf is a wizard that is very wise, uses his magic, and is rather handy with a sword (Glamdring). Known as The Grey because of the grey cloak he wore, later Gandalf is sent back after his fight with a Balrog, and his color is change to white. Middle Earth is a factious land that J.R.R. Tolkien created in his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Gandalf becomes a great friend with the inhabitants of Middle Earth including the Elves, Humans, and Hobbits. Hobbits are a race that can be related to the human race, but if you ask a hobbit, they are their own separate race. They are short in stature, around three to four foot tall. They are a little stout, and can have pointy ears. Gandalf befriends Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien book “The Hobbit”, and later his nephew Frodo in “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
  • Gandalf has many battles in the books of Tolkien, in fact, he is featured in almost of Tolkien’s books about Middle Earth. One battle in particular that is involved with the Symphony No. 1 is in Movement IV, and described in “The Fellowship of the Ring”. The Journey into the Dark (Mines of Moria/The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm), is one battle that can not be forgotten. Though being a fictitious story, the event in the book is very tense. The Fellowship led by Gandalf to destroy the One ring, containing nine representatives of the free races of Middle Earth, are unsuccessful trying to pass over the mighty peaks of the Misty Mountains. They decide to pass through the Mines of Moria, which since has been overrun by orcs (not very friendly). They encounter the orcs, and Gandalf leads them across the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. The bridge is guarded by a beast called the Balrog (a very large demon, in the shape of man, that has control over fire and shadow.) As the company of the fellowship escape, Gandalf faces the beast, defeats him, but as the Balrog is falling into the abyss he came from, Gandalf is caught by the whip of the Balrog and is torn into the abyss also. The Fellowship is force to continue the mission without the help of Gandalf. The Balrog and Gandalf survive the fall into the abyss. Gandalf pursues the Balrog and destroys him, only to die himself. He is resurrected and clothed in white robe to continue his mission to destroy the One ring.
  • Rohan, a realm in Middle Earth, and a popular place for cavalry and horses, roams one of the mightiest and fastest horse, Shadowfax. Shadowfax was the chief of the Mearas (Prince of horses), was tamed by Gandalf, and is featured throughout “The Lord of the Rings” books. In the Symphony, we hear a fast and furious ride of Gandalf and Shadowfax. Shadowfax like most of the horses of the Mearas, had special characteristics. Shadowfax was the fastest, fearless, and also could understand the speech of man. Elves (another race of Middle Earth) are smarter than humans, well the Mearas are considered smarter than the average horse.
  • An opening fanfare begins the movement, and introduces the noble and wise characteristics of Gandalf himself. Gandalf’s melody is stated first by bassoons and baritones and is then shared throughout the ensemble. In the fourth and fifth movements of the symphony, Gandalf’s theme returns in different forms. At measure 36, we will play the wild ride of Gandalf and Shadowfax. This portion of the movement is driven by the timpani, snare drum, and ascending sixteenths in the brass and woodwinds. This portion of the composition could be compared to the race of Gandalf and Pippin to the city of Minas Tirith to help prepare the city for a great war. This section transitions into a large ritard mimicking the slowing gallop of Shadowfax into a rich Maestoso section recapturing the mystic powers of Gandalf. The movement ends with a fanfare that reminds us of the opening, and ends with a powerful (unison) concert F. This is also a perfect transition into the second movement.
  • -Lothlórien is a large forest in Middle Earth inhabited by Elves. It is a mystical and dangerous forest. Mystical because of the Elves and royal female elf Galadriel. Dangerous because of the Elves (who have great hearing and vision, archery skills, and very intelligent). We also hear in the climax of the second movement of the symphony the encounter of Frodo and Galadriel in the Symphony. Galadriel tests Frodo on what he sees in her mirror, he sees a fateful future, Frodo in turn is frightened and offers the One ring to Galadriel. Galadriel considers this a test, and says in a frightful seen in the book and movie that the One ring would make her “beautiful and terrible”. She does not take the ring and passes the test. -Movement III mimics the grotesque characteristics of Gollum or Sméagol . [Picture of 1978 animated movie of the Lord of the Rings.] -Movement IV is portrays the fellowships journey into the Mines of Moria and their escape from the Balrog across the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. As discussed earlier. -Movement V takes us back in the Shire (another area of Middle Earth) to experience the carefree and optimistic Hobbits. It is a happy and treated as a folk-song that the hobbits would sing (which they enjoy doing). The movement ends with Frodo, Bilbo, and Gandalf boarding a ship and headed into the west, never to be seen again.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien has a collection of books that are centered around The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, including The Hobbit, and The Tolkien Reader (collection of stories from Middle Earth. There are many more books that he wrote, and some that were published posthumously (after his death). The Silmarillion is a collection of stories that his son found and published. The Silmarillion tells the story of Middle Earth before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings . Books have also been published that continue the story of Middle Earth, but not written by Tolkien. The New Line Cinema released in 2001-2003 the three movies that captured the stories of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King were directed by Peter Jackson. Numerous attempts at trying to stage the story of The Lord of the Rings, the most recent is the London production that cost 49 million dollars to stage. Other productions have been in Toronto, Canada and Cincinnati, Ohio. What are your opinions about the movies, books, on stage, and how the music may relate to the story? [picture from the London stage production of the Lord of the Rings]
  • -Videos used from The Lord of the Rings movies, and pictures from various websites. A shorter version is also available, please edit as needed. -Video sequences borrowed with permission from a webring of LOTR video creator. -Video is also available online, please email if you wish to use for a concert to Music is obviously turned down before movie is shown.
  • Symphony No. 1 - Gandalf

    1. 1. Symphony No. 1:The Lord of the Rings“ Gandalf ” – Movement IJohan de MeijCreated by John Sierakowski (2007)Northern Illinois UniversityGrade 5
    2. 2. History of the Composition• Johan de Meij• Symphony No. 1 (1984-1988)• J.R.R. Tolkien• “The Lord of the Rings”Northern Illinois University 2
    3. 3. Movement I “Gandalf, The Wizard”•Gandalf: The Grey•Middle Earth•HobbitsNorthern Illinois University 3
    4. 4. More Gandalf • Battles of Gandalf •Movement IV •Gandalf : The WhiteNorthern Illinois University 4
    5. 5. Shadowfax • A horse of Rohan •Chief of the Mearas •A unique breedNorthern Illinois University 5
    6. 6. Composition techniques • Mystic and Grand Opening • Shadowfax • FinaleNorthern Illinois University 6
    7. 7. Other movements in the SymphonyII. Lothlórien (The Elvenwood)III. Gollum (Sméagol)IV. Journey into the Dark a. Mines of Moria b. The Bridge of Khazad-DûmV. HobbitsNorthern Illinois University 7
    8. 8. Related Information• In books• In the movies• On stage• DiscussionNorthern Illinois University 8
    9. 9. Performance Video (optional)Northern Illinois University 9
    10. 10. Resources CitedBloom, H. (2000). J.R.R. Tolkien. Philadelphia: Chelsea HouseBroadway, Challis, McNew, Smith and Urban. (2003). The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien: Essays and Reflections on Middle Earth. New York: Cold SpringDe Meij, J. (1988). Symphony No. 1: I Gandalf (The Wizard). Amsterdam: Amstel Music.De Meij, J. (2001). Gandalf (The Wizard) [Recorded by Ensemble Vent et Percussion de Québec, René Joly] Symphony No. 1: The Lord of the Rings. [sound recording: compact disc] Quebec: Atma Classique (1998)No Author (2007). Gandalf the Grey. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from website: Author (2007). Gandalf the Grey. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from website: Author (2007). The Encyclopedia of Arda: The Reference Guide to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from website Author (2007). The Lord of the Rings: On Stage. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from website: Author (2007). The Music of Johan de Meij & Søren Hyldgaard. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from website:, J.R.R. (1954). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Tolkien, J.R.R. (1955). The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Tolkien, J.R.R. (1955). The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Northern Illinois University 10