Good news for all the fans out there who are disappointed that we have yet to see tales from The Silmarillion performed on stage or screen: composer Paul Corfield Godfrey’s suitably epic opera of First Age stories is now available, in a recording made by singers from Welsh National Opera. We may not yet be seeing these tales; but at least you can listen to them!
There are four parts to this mammoth labour of love, all using text taken directly from Tolkien’s writing (with full permission from the Tolkien Estate). Fëanor, Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin are available now; and they will be joined in 2023 by a fifth and final part, The War of Wrath. Here are details from the official press release:
PAUL CORFIELD GODFREY’S EPIC SCENES FROM THE SILMARILLION
after the mythology of JRR Tolkien
The Paul Corfield Godfrey Music Trust, Volante Opera Productions and Prima Facie Records are proud to present their recordings of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s musical adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion: Fëanor, Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin.
Composition began on these works in the 1980s with permission from the Tolkien Estate and the assistance of both Christopher and Priscilla Tolkien. For the last six years Volante Opera Productions have been hard at work producing these recordings so that for the first time since their inception these tales of the First Age of Middle-earth are available for the world to hear.
With the 2022 release of Fëanor on double CD and digital download the recording of the cycle of works as originally intended is complete. The nine hours which constitute the cycle form the largest work of classical music written in Wales in the twentieth century, and are performed by singers from Welsh National Opera together with a sampled (not synthesised) orchestra. The booklets which come with each of the four double albums contain detailed explanations of the manner in which the recording have been made, as well as track listings, synopses and an essay on each of the relevant parts by the composer.
Quite apart from the sheer scale of the work, the “epic scenes from The Silmarillion” are also unique in that (unlike nearly all of the Tolkien-influenced music available) the texts are drawn entirely from the words of Tolkien himself, with the agreement and permission of the Tolkien Estate. This certainly makes the score the most substantial vocal setting of any Tolkien material available.
We are also proud to announce that a newly completed fifth (and final) piece has now been added to the cycle: The War of Wrath. The addition of this work brings the tales of the First Age to a suitable epic conclusion. This is currently in the process of being recorded and is due for release mid 2023.
Double CD sets, full and vocal scores are also available for purchase, and the complete texts (including where relevant translations from Elvish), musical analysis and a guide are all available from www.paulcorfieldgodfrey.co.uk.
Double CD sets and digital downloads available through all usual channels: signed copies and further information can also be found on www.volanteopera.wales
Music published by: ZARATHUSTRA: The Paul Corfield Music Trust
Texts: used by kind permission of the estate of the late John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and HarperCollins Publishers.
Artwork by: TED NASMITH used with permission.
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It would be wonderful to see this composition fully staged one day; let’s hope that may happen! TORn will be chatting with folks involved in this project soon, so we’ll bring you more information about this exciting work soon. Meanwhile, you can chat about this piece – and more! – with fellow fans on TORn’s discord; and you can enjoy the trailer: