Ben Del Maestro: The Angel’s Hymn by Lady~Eowyn
The young male soprano, Ben Del Maestro (full name, Benedict Del Maestro), made two vocal contributions to the musical score of The Two Towers. He was brought back to sing on the soundtrack of the Return of the King, a move that illustrates the pure genius of Howard Shore, the composer.
Without a doubt, Ben’s strongest and most powerful performance is within the track, “Forth Eorlingas”, in which we get a true glimpse of the power and emotion of his voice. Thematically, a Rohirric track, Shore begins with a soft, dreamy vocalization, but then quickly descends into build-up of tension with the use of loud brass instruments. He continually builds up tension and anticipation for the climax of the song and ultimately, the film, which occurs at about the two minutes and fifteen seconds mark. With the lone seraphic, ethereal vocals of Ben and the images of Gandalf leading the Rohirrim down the steep slope and the vivid, illuminating yellow light streaming down behind them, it is arguably one of the strongest examples of parallel sound in the trilogy.
Throughout the film, Ben’s soft, yet utterly angelic voice is used as a device for hope, goodness and light. His other performances are no exception. In “Minas Tirith”, Ben’s solo comes as Gandalf and Pippin ride out of Minas Tirith to aid Faramir’s troops.
His solo is synchronized with the length of time the light shines forth and repels Sauron’s forces. More focus and attention (more so than in “Forth Eorlingas”) seems to be placed Ben’s vocal in “Minas Tirith”, as there are no other vocals or instruments to accompany him.
Again, another example of how Shore has used Ben’s vocal ability as a symbol for hope and light. Another instance would be in “Isengard Unleashed”; Ben’s vocals go in harmony with the decision of the Ents to retaliate against Saruman – which yet again becomes a symbol for hope and good. However, this time Ben’s voice is blended in with the instruments, and his voice is less distinguishable.
Howard Shore carefully plans when Ben’s solos will arrive (of course, it must be in accordance with the film to evoke maximum emotion and meaning) and is usually characterized by a building up of anticipation with a slower and longer pace of music.
Unfortunately for Ben’s fans, very little is known about him. He performed with the established London Oratory School Scholas (choir) on the Lord of the Rings soundtracks. Whether he still performs with them to this day is unknown. Outside Lord of the Rings, Ben has also lent his vocal ability to the soundtrack of the acclaimed anime series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. He performs on the series’ theme song, “Inner Universe” along side Origa, and another track, “Fish – Silent Cruise”.
Images from Arwen-Undomiel
Info on Ben Del Maestro from Wikipedia