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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' (Special Ed.)
Artist - Howard Shore

The incredible Special Edition of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey contains the full score from the film with seven (7) extended score cues, six (6) exclusive bonus tracks, and deluxe liner notes packaged in a 2 CD hardcover digibook!

I know, right! True value for money, for once in this business!!

And so, created and composed by the always-brilliant Howard Shore, we begin with 'My Dear Frodo,' a work that soars for 8 minutes solid and is the perffect cinematic way to start the first disc of this wonderous tale. It also includes so beautiful choir work and some deep-throated background moments for depth. That is followed by the subtle, yet playful 'Old Friends (Extended Version),' 'An Unexpected Party (Extended Version),' an entertaining albeit short 'Blunt the Knives (Exclusive Bonus Track)' sung by The Dwarf Cast, 'Axe or Sword?,' 'Misty Mountains' (again from The Dwarf Cast & Richard Armitage), the slow at first and then soaring 'The Adventure Begins,' then the tuneful flutes and the horns of 'The World is Ahead,' 'An Ancient Enemy,' the beautiful melodies of 'Radagast the Brown (Extended Version),' 'The Trollshaws (Exclusive Bonus Track),' the vibrant depth of 'Roast Mutton (Extended Version),' 'A Troll-hoard,' the poundingly-thrilling 'The Hill of Sorcery,' and brought to a close with the boombastic 'Warg-scouts.'

The second disc begins with the orchestral heights of 'The Hidden Valley,' before going into 'Moon Runes (Extended Version),' the loud and dark 'The Defiler,' the angelic choir sounds of 'The White Council (Extended Version),' 'Over Hill,' a soaring (as you'd expect) 'A Thunder Battle,' 'Under Hill,' the playful 'Riddles in the Dark,' the truly epic 'Brass Buttons,' the vibrant chants of 'Out of the Frying-Pan,' the flute work of 'A Good Omen,' the Celtic-vibed 'Song of the Lonely Mountain (Extended Version) sung by Neil Finn (of Crowded House), 'Dreaming of Bag End,' 'A Very Respectable Hobbit (Exclusive Bonus Track),' and then bagpipes lead us into 'Erebor (Exclusive Bonus Track),' 'The Dwarf Lords (Exclusive Bonus Track),' and the final track in this exhaustive collection, 'The Edge of the Wild (Exclusive Bonus Track).'

I guess the only things that can be added to this review are a) the scores do see "samey" after a while, given the amount of them and the movie-theme present, and b) the packaging of this Special Edition is a tight squeeze, to be sure! Once you open it it's a cardboard fold-out digi-pack with sleeves for both discs. Thus, it is very hard to remove said discs from their tight slots without getting your fingerprints all over them, sadly. Hey now, some collector's are into all that!