Symphony I (de Meij)

From Wind Repertory Project
Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij

Subtitle: The Lord of the Rings

General Info

Year: 1987 / 2023
Duration: 43:35
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Amstel Music through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $770.00   |   Score Only (print) - $138.00 (individual movements also available separately)


1. Gandalf (The Wizard) – 5:50
2. Lothlorien (The Elvenwood) – 7:50
3. Gollum (Sméagol) – 10:20
4. Journey in the Dark – 8:05
5. Hobbits – 9:00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboes I-II (II doubling English Horn)
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III (Solo div. a2)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat or C Trumpet I-II-III-IV (I doubling B-flat Flugelhorn)
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium (div.)
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Anvil (with hammer)
  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (or Tam-tam)
  • Indian Bells or Bell Tree)
  • Jawbone (or Vibraslap)
  • Ratchet
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Toms
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Woodblock
  • Xylophone


Errata and suggestions from Johan de Meij posted with permission 4/8/2013

I. GANDALF (The Wizard)

  • 5 Quasi fermata on 3rd beat
  • 18/19 Trumpet I remains A [dotted half note slurred to half note in 19]
  • 24 Trombones ff, no slurs [marcato], horns & saxes staccato instead of tenutos
  • 35 Timpani E 8va bassa
  • 58 Tuba lower voice E (not D)
  • 60 3rd Horn (F) [part], beat 3&: tie eighth note to beat 1 of meas. 61
  • 63 3rd Horn (F) [part], beat 3&: tie eighth note to beat 1 of meas. 64
  • 91 3rd Horn (F) [part], beat 3&: tie eighth note to beat 1 of meas. 93
  • 94 3rd Horn (F) [part], beat 3&: tie eighth note to beat 1 of meas. 95
  • 72 Trombone II = D, not C
  • 103 Piccolo downbeat of 3 is an E
  • 107 Trombone II = delete repeated measure in part
  • 111 Ad lib. Woodwinds & Horns 2nd time only!
  • 111 Trombone II first note A (not B)
  • 116 Trombone II first note B-flat (not B)
  • 127 Trumpets: valvet = velvet mute [substitute: bucket or cup mute]
  • 138/139 Alto Sax I 8va up ad lib. [cp English horn]
  • 144 Piccolo first note A-flat (not A)
  • 149 Bells: quasi tremolo, fast – not rhythmical
  • 152 Piano accent on first note (not 2nd)

II. LOTHLORIEN (The Elvenwood)

  • 1 to 14 Horns con sordino
  • 103 Horn II G, not Gb
  • 104 Flute I first note = G, not B; Flute II first note = Eb/G, not F/G
  • 106 Euphonium TC, 16th note at the end of the first beat should be an A, not a B
  • 106 Euphonium BC, 16th note at the end of the first beat should be a G, not an A
  • 149-166 Piano 8va bassa sempre

III. GOLLUM (Sméagol)

  • 6 Xylophone wrong in part – score correct
  • 9 Vibraphone wrong in part – score correct
  • 13 Quasi fermata on 1st note [lunga]
  • 90/91 Piano play as in 92
  • 110 no 4/4 in percussion!
  • 138 Trumpet II last note B, not A
  • 159/160 Gong fails in part [?]
    • Based off Marine Band recording with Johan de Meij conducting, the gong is taken out from the part at this measure
  • 289 Eb Clar. & Sopr. Sax bells up! [ad lib.]


  • 1-53 Timpani the D 8va bassa ad lib.
  • 141-144 Piano 8va bassa, sempre con pedale.


  • 11 Bari sax tie half note to eighth note
  • 50 Clar. III = A, not G
  • 102 Alto sax 2 c-natural
  • 128 Bari sax tie across barline to 129
  • 156 Flutes add dot to beat 2 quarter note
  • 163-170 2nd time Horns Bells Up!
  • 163 – 183 snare drum should have 32nd grace notes before every quarter note [as in score, part is wrong]
  • 184 Trumpet 4 missing from score
  • 186-189 snare drum tacet after the first note
  • 189 Horn II = G, not Gb
  • 208 Clarinet 3 = C#, not C-natural
  • 219 Horn II one bar missing – same as 217/218

!! All five movements: C-Tuba part should sound an octave LOWER as written [8va bassa sempre]

Program Notes

Johan de Meij’s first symphony The Lord of the Rings is based on the trilogy of that name by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book has fascinated many millions of readers since its publication in 1955. The symphony consists of five separate movements, each illustrating a personage or an important episode from the book. The movements are:

I. GANDALF (The Wizard)
II. LOTHLORIEN (The Elvenwood)
III. GOLLUM (Sméagol)
a. The Mines of Moria
b. The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm

The symphony was written in the period between March 1984 and December 1987, and had its première in Brussels on 15th March 1988, performed by the Groot Harmonieorkest van de Gidsen under the baton of Norbert Nozy. In 1989, The symphony The Lord of the Rings was awarded a first prize in the Sudler International Wind Band Composition Competition in Chicago, and a year later, the symphony was awarded by the Dutch Composers Fund. In 2001, the orchestral version was premiered by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Although it is not simple to summarize such an extensive and complex work, the main outline is as follows: the central theme is the Ring, made by primaeval forces that decide the safety or destruction of the world. For years it was the possession of the creature Gollum, but when the ring falls into the hands of the Hobbits the evil forces awake, and the struggle for the ring commences. There is but one solution to save the World from disaster: the ring must be destroyed by the fire in which it was forged: Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor, the country of the evil Lord Sauron.

It is the Hobbit Frodo who is assigned to carry out this task, and to assist him a company, the Fellowship of the Ring, is formed under the leadership of Gandalf, the wizard, which includes the Hobbits Sam, Peregrin and Merin, the Dwarf Gimli, the Elf Legolas, Boromir and Aragorn, the later King. The companions are secretly followed by Gollum, who does not shun any means, however perfidious, to recover his priceless ring. However, the companions soon fall apart and , after many pernicious adventures and a surprising dénouement, Frodo and Sam can at last return to their familiar home, The Shire.

Explanation of the five movements:

I. GANDALF (The Wizard) The first movement is a musical portrait of the wizard Gandalf, one of the principal characters of the trilogy. His wise and noble personality is expressed by a stately motiff which is used in a different form in movements IV and V. The sudden opening of the Allegro vivace is indicative of the unpredictability of the grey wizard, followed by a wild ride on his beautiful horse, Shadowfax.

II. LOTHLORIEN (The Elvenwood) The second movement is an impression of Lothlórien, the elvenwood with its beautiful trees, plants, exotic birds, expressed through woodwind solos. The meeting of the Hobbit Frodo with the Lady Galadriel is embodied in a charming Allegretto; in the Mirror of Galadriel, a silver basin in the wood, Frodo glimpses three visions, the last of which, a large ominous Eye, greatly upsets him.

III. GOLLUM (Sméagol) The third movement describes the monstrous creature Gollum, a slimy, shy being represented by the soprano saxophone. It mumbles and talks to itself, hisses and lisps, whines and snickers, is alternately pitiful and malicious, is continually fleeing and looking for his cherished treasure, the ring.

IV. JOURNEY IN THE DARK The fourth movement describes the laborious journey of the Fellowship of the ring, headed by the wizard Gandalf, through the dark tunnels of the Mines of Moria. The slow walking cadenza and the fear are clearly audible in the monotonous rhythm of the low brass, piano and percussion. After a wild pursuit by hostile creatures, the Orks, Gandalf is engaged in battle with a horrible monster, the Balrog, and crashes from the subterranean bridge of Khazad-Dûm in a fathomless abyss. To the melancholy tones of a Marcia funèbre, the bewildered companions trudge on, looking for the only way out of the mines, the East Gate of Moria.

V. HOBBITS The fifth movement expresses the carefree and optimistic character of the Hobbits in a happy folk dance; the hymn that follows emanates the determination and noblesse of the hobbit folk. The symphony does not end on an exuberant note, but is concluded peacefully and resigned, in keeping with the symbolic mood of the last chapter, The Grey Havens, in which Frodo and Gandalf sail away in a white ship and disappear slowly beyond the horizon.

- Program Note by Johan de Meij


State Ratings

  • Florida
    • Grade V: Any 1 Movement
  • Iowa
    • Grade VI: Mvt. V Hobbits
  • Minnesota - Category I for Mvmt. III - Gollum or any 2 Movements
  • New York
    • Grade VI: Mvt. I Gandalf
    • Grade VI: Mvt. V Hobbits


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

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Works for Winds by This Composer