by April Helms

Special Products Editor

Fans of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, particularly the movies, were able to enjoy the Academy-winning music score at Blossom Music Center July 21.

The music, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Chorus and the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, was conducted by Howard Shore himself, the composer of the beautiful music that accompanied the groundbreaking movie trilogy.

I have all three soundtracks of the movies, and have listened to them several (dozen) times. But there's an experience with hearing the music -- even if it's just selections -- live that can't be duplicated even with the most sophisticated recording equipment. Besides hearing slightly different nuances to the music, the audience was treated to a visual delight of John Howe's and Allan Lee's drawings projected to accompany the music _ a sumptuous storyboard if there ever was one. (Howe and Lee were the conceptual designers for the movies.). Also, there were a couple of sections not included on the CDs, so I was able to listen to something new, at least for me.

I knew that whomever sung the soprano solos -- sung by Renee Fleming in the original recording -- would have big shoes to fill, but Kaitlyn Lusk's sweet, wide-range soprano voice was more than up to the task. Other soloists included Manuel Gomez, boy soprano, Kimberly Lauritsen, mezzo-soprano and Robert Thompson, baritone.

The Cleveland Orchestra handled the music well, capturing the emotion and tension of the music. The Blossom Chorus seemed to struggle at first, but smoothed out after the first movement of "The Fellowship of the Ring.

Other Blossom Festival concerts

The remaining Blossom Festival concerts include:

* Aug. 5 -- Schubert Symphony No. 9, with Jaha Ling, conductor, 7 p.m.;

* Aug. 11 -- Beethoven Symphony No. 5, with Jaha Ling, conductor, 8 p.m.;

* Aug. 12 -- Bravo Broadway, Robert Porco, conductor, 7 p.m.;

* Aug. 18 -- Brahms Symphony No. 2, with Roberto Minczuk, conductor, 8 p.m.;

* Aug. 19 -- French Impressions, with Andrew Grams, conductor, 7 p.m.;

* Aug. 25 -- Zinman Conducts, with David Zinman as conductor, 8 p.m.;

* Aug. 26, -- The Canadian Brass, 7 p.m.; and

* Sept. 1 and 2 -- Rodgers and Hammerstein on Stage and Screen, with George Daugherty, conductor, 8:30 p.m. both nights.

Call 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141 to order tickets, or visit www.clevelandorchestra.com for information.

E-mail: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3153