It took music maestro AR Rahman three years to finish the album for the stage adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, working with 200 musicians and technicians for every song. The album, which has pushed up his international status, was released in February.
"Since it required more finances than I could afford, a private airline (Jet Airways) is sponsoring it," Rahman, who has recently opened a western classical music conservatory in Chennai, told IANS.
"Every song has a minimum of 200 musicians and technicians involved in it. Huge choirs and orchestras were brought into play. We recorded the album in London and mixed it right here in Chennai in my studios. The whole crew came down from all over the world," he added.
All songs are in English and in Elvish... the language of the Lord Of The Rings.
"I had lots of help from fellow-musicians like Christopher Nightingale. It took me three years to do the album. Without help from like-minded musicians it'd have taken five years."
With Rahman increasing his Western assignments, it looks like to be Bollywood's loss. Rahman is deliberately turning down big Bollywood assignments because of copyright and royalty issues regarding music sales.
Rahman is reluctant to talk about the issue. "It's too complicated. But yes, the issue of publishing rights does stop me from accepting more Bollywood offers," said Rahman.
"Those who want to work with me in Mumbai are agreeable to my terms and conditions. Those who do but won't agree to my conditions are going to other composers."
"At the moment, I've also cut down my film assignments because I want to focus on my western-classic music conservatory. With this conservatory I hope to bridge the gap between Western classical and Indian ragas. Imagine a thumri being played by an orchestra! Or a Carnatic raga being a part of a big Hollywood epic!" he added.
Commenting on his Bollywood assignments, Rahman said: "I can't be doing just films all my life. I need to take my music to another level now. But whenever I work in Mumbai, I give it my fullest concentration, as I did for Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar, which I'm very proud of. The music takes both Ashutosh and me to another level."
Looking back, the talented composer is not the least content with his achievements.
"No matter how much you do, it's never enough. Music is my only therapy. There're so many awful things happening in the world. I wish I could heal the world. All I can do is use my music, which I do. My peace anthems like Vande Mataram and Pray for me, brother are a small candlelight in the storm. But you never know which candle will light a thousand other candles."