Kendra Preston Leonard: “Heavy Metal Elves”

The title alone is clickbait, don’t you think? 🙂

This week at The Avid Listener, we bring you the first of a new set of four essays by frequent contributor Kendra Preston Leonard. These essays examine literary works that are (or have come to be) closely intertwined with music. In this essay, Kendra turns to Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings, which over the years has served not only as the inspiration for new songs and song cycles, but also as fodder for folks musicians and bands such as Led Zeppelin. LOTR is also, as Kendra tells us, a favorite for heavy metal bands. Here’s a teaser:

“Long before Howard Shore composed the music for the live-action Lord of the Rings movies, readers were fascinated by J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy and its music. The trilogy of books, a fantasy set in an Earth-like world called Middle Earth, was written between 1927 and 1949 and published in the United Kingdom between 1954 and 1955. Though the book was slow to catch on in England, where Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature at Oxford University, American audiences, particularly those interested in the growing counterculture movement, agreed with poet W. H. Auden, who deemed the work as masterpiece. The Lord of the Rings has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 38 languages, and has been the inspiration for countless other fantasy novels, artwork, video games, and music.”

If you teach music, or literature, or music and literature, or if you’re a fan of LOTR, you should read the full essay here. Stay tuned next week for “Nintendo, Stravinsky, and the Aesthetics of Limitation” by Will Gibbons.

The Avid Listener: Listen. Write. Discuss. Repeat.

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