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Paul Corfield Godfrey's "Epic Scenes from The Silmarillion, Part Two: Beren & Luthien" Demo Recording
Beren Cover Art

This musical work was composed before the publication of Beren and Luthien by J R R Tolkien, ed. C R Tolkien, in 2017 and is not associated with it. The literary work is © The Tolkien Estate Limited and C R Tolkien 2017. BEREN AND LUTHIEN a trade mark of The Tolkien Estate Limited

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that our Demo Recording of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s operatic work “Beren and Luthien” after the mythology of J. R. R. Tolkien will be released by ASC Records & Prima Facie Records in August 2019.

Artwork for the release provided by Ted Nasmith.

All artists appear by arrangement with Welsh National Opera.

Below is the press release from Prima Facie:

Prima Facie Records is pleased to announce the release of Beren and Luthien (complete demo recording) PFCD110/111

BEREN AND LUTHIEN

Following the successful release last year of The Fall of Gondolin, the closing segment of the series of ‘epic scenes’ drawn from J R R Tolkien’s posthumous writings for The Silmarillion, Prima Facie Records in collaboration with Volante Opera Productions now presents a recording on 2 CDs of Beren and Lúthien, Part Two of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s cycle written during the period 1982-97 and employing a large variety of posthumously published texts by the author with the permission of the Tolkien Estate. The cycle, extending in performance over four evenings, is the largest-scale work of classical music written in Wales in the twentieth century, demanding a full roster of solo singers, chorus and orchestra, but has only ever been performed in excerpts until now.

As before, the singers are all professional artists from Welsh National Opera, and the sets make available for the first time a fully representative recording of the music with the complete lyrics by Tolkien. Because of budgetary and other constraints, the orchestra is represented by sampled sets (using the sounds of real instruments) which have been carefully balanced and adjusted in collaboration with the composer to obtain as close a result to the sound of an actual orchestra as possible. Commenting on this aspect, Brian Wilson in a review of The Fall of Gondolin for Music Web International remarked “I wondered how well this would work, but need have had no apprehensions; it works very well and it’s the only way such a project could have been realised. I need only say that the music is often hauntingly beautiful.”

The booklet with this set of Beren and Lúthien explains the methods of production in greater detail, and also includes an essay by the composer on the manner in which the author’s text has been adapted for music. Chris Seeman, reviewing The Fall of Gondolin for the Tolkien Music Website, remarked that the work “delivers nearly two hours of pure Tolkienian epic – Tolkienian not simply by virtue of its subject matter but more importantly by its libretto, which is 100% Tolkien’s own text. Or rather texts. In order to flesh out each essential movement of the story, Godfrey has made eclectic use of a variety of texts pertaining to the tale, much as the published Silmarillion was synthesised by Christopher Tolkien from the different manuscripts available to him.” He described the set as “a superb rendition of an unparalleled story [whose] greatest virtue lies in its ability to enhance rather than overshadow that story.”

For reviews please visit Paul Corfield Godfrey's Website (link at the bottom of this page).

Our trailers for this recording and the Complete Silmarillion.

Audio Samples

The first sample is from the love scene (Scene 3) and is a choral interlude that takes place as the lovers share their first embrace.

As Beren looked into her eyes - Demo Recording
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The second sample is from the orchestral music for Luthien's dance before Morgoth.

Luthien's Dance before Morgoth - Demo Recording
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The third sample is from the final duet between Beren and Luthien, Beren dying in his the arms of his beloved.

O proud and fearless hand and heart - Demo Recording
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The Piece

"The Silmarillion Part Two: Beren & Luthien" is composed for eight characters, full chorus and orchestra.

The characters are as follows (in order of singing):

 

Finrod Felagund, the King of Nargothrond (Tenor): Simon Crosby Buttle

Sauron, servant of Morgoth (Bass): Jasey Hall

Gorlim, follower of Beren (Tenor): Michael Clifton-Thompson

Beren, son of Barahir (Baritone): Julian Boyce

Lúthien Tinúviel, daughter of Thingol (Soprano): Angharad Morgan

Thingol Greycloak, King of Doriath (Bass): Martin Lloyd

Melian, his queen (Mezzo-Soprano): Helen Jarmany

Morgoth, the enemy (Bass): Laurence Cole

Chorus of unseen voices: Anitra Blaxhall/Emma Mary Llewellyn/Helen Jarmany/Helen Greenaway/Michael Clifton-Thompson/

Simon Crosby Buttle/Julian Boyce/Jasey Hall

For more information, annotated libretto and analysis please visit the composer's website (link at the bottom of this page)

Demo Recording Information

The recording is being produced using Reaper software and is utilising the Eastwest Software/Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra sampled instruments.

The main parts: Finrod, Sauron, Gorlim, Beren, Luthien, Thingol, Melian and Morgoth will all be recorded using different professional singers.

The Chorus will be recorded two per voice part, as per Gondolin, which would accommodate the splits in the parts.  Each of these voices, due to the limited space and equipment, is recorded individually and post processed to fit with the others.  This is the method we use when creating learning tracks for choirs, as it gives us the opportunity to isolate parts and fix problems without having to have everyone back to re-record.

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