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

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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.”

Composer Paul Corfield Godfrey introduces "Beren and Luthien" with excerpts from the recording.

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

It is written in nine scenes plus a prologue and epilogue, a breakdown of which I add below.

First Triptych

 

Prologue:

The Chorus describes the Battle of Sudden Flame, the Dagor Bragollach; the Elvenking Finrod Felagund is saved from the forces of Morgoth by the intervention of the mortal Beren son of Barahir, to whom he swears an oath promising him assistance in the event of any future need.

 

Scene One:

After Finrod returns to his kingdom of Nargothrond, Sauron the servant of Morgoth captures Gorlim, one of Beren’s followers. He promises to release his wife from captivity if Gorlim will betray the whereabouts of Beren. The information is given, but Sauron nevertheless has him killed.

 

Scene Two:

Beren is in hiding near the lake of Tarn Aeluin. He sings of the loss of Gorlim and his journey in the woods. The chorus describes the apparition of the ghost of Gorlim, who warns of his betrayal and urges him to flee. Beren vows vengeance, and the chorus describes his flight into the forest of Doriath.

 

Scene Three:

They describe his journey through the haunted Mountains of Terror. A distant flute is heard in the woods as Lúthien begins her dance. [9] She sings an Elvish poem. The sudden appearance of Beren startles her, and she flees into the forest. Beren is abandoned, but she soon reappears and invites him to join in her dance. Beren gradually approaches her, calling her Elvish name, and as the distant flute is heard once more she sinks into his arms.

 

Second Triptych

 

Scene Four:

The scene changes to the Halls of Menegroth, the court of Thingol Lúthien’s father. The latter challenges Beren to explain his presence, but learning that he desires the hand of his daughter threatens him with death. Thingol’s immortal wife Melian warns him that he may not kill Beren, whose fate is wound with his; and Thingol declares that he will only yield Lúthien to Beren if the latter will bring him a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. After Beren has agreed and left on his apparently hopefless quest, Melian observes that Thingol has doomed either his daughter or himself.

 

Scene Five:

Beren seeks the assistance of Finrod Felagund, who describes the dangers that are involved in his quest. He seeks the aid of his people, but the sons of Fëanor repeat their Oath of vengeance on any who seeks to withhold a Silmaril from them as the rightful owners of the jewels; and none of the Elves of Nargothrond will follow their king.  Finrod abandons his throne and sets forth with Beren.

 

Scene Six:

Sauron confronts the disguised Finrod and Beren, asking them for information. He strips their concealment from them in a contest of enchantments and confines them in a dungeon. There Finrod is killed by a wolf as he tries to protect Beren. He dies, bidding Beren farewell. Beren hears the distant voice of Lúthien who has come to rescue him. She overcomes Sauron and banishes him; and then, finding Beren, declares that she will undertake his quest alongside him despite the dangers.

 

Third Triptych

 

Scene Seven

The chorus describe the fortress of Morgoth. Beren and Lúthien encounter Carcharoth, the Wolf of Angband, and cast him into slumber. They descend to confront Morgoth, who conceives in his heart a desire for Lúthien. She dances before him, but then casts a spell over him and his court rendering them unconscious.  Beren cuts a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown, but the roused Carcharoth then bites off his hand and swallows both that and the jewel.

 

Scene Eight:

The orchestra describes the flight of Beren and Lúthien, aided by the eagles, and their return to Doriath. The mortally wounded Beren bids farewell to the earth and to his love, but Lúthien tells him that she will follow him wherever he goes. Thingol enters to seek his prize, but Beren succumbs to his wounds.

 

Scene Nine:

The chorus describes Lúthien’s journey to the Halls of Mandos, where the dead wait. She sings a song before Mandos, who allows Beren to rejoin her in life for the duration of their mortal spans.

 

Epilogue:

The chorus sings of their journey back into the forest, singing sorrowless.

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

The Libretto

Texts are employed by permission of the estate of the late John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and HarperCollinsPublishers for use by Paul Corfield Godfrey.

 

The libretto for this work is compiled from the following sources:

The History of Middle-earth, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales (all edited by Christopher Tolkien) and The Lord of the Rings.

Prologue 

 

The Curtain rises into a scene covered in dense mist

UNSEEN VOICES  

Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame!

    Fires erupt through the mist, at first spasmodically and then in increasing brightness.  As dark shadows against the flames, shapes move: an army, bent on conquest.

UNSEEN VOICES

Slowly, like a cloud, the Shadow rolled from the North.  On the proud, that would not yield, the vengeance of Morgoth fell;

to death or thraldom all the North was doomed beneath his ghastly hand. 

His hosts he armed with spears of steel and brands of flame, and at their heels the wolf walked and the serpent crept with lidless eyes.

                                   

In the near foreground a group of warriors stand alone, isolated against the ghastly forces of Morgoth that surround them.  At their head is the Elvenking Finrod Felagund, and by his side stands the mortal man Beren son of Barahir with twelve companions, among whom is Gorlim.

 

UNSEEN VOICES              

Now forth leaped his ruinous legions, kindling war in field and forest and fenland. 

And in the fen of reedy Serech stood at bay Finrod with a small force in the day of defeat;

and Beren son of Barahir with his people came up with the bravest of his men to rescue him. 

And they cut their way out of the battle with great loss. 

The forces of Morgoth are driven towards the back of the stage.  Finrod comes to Beren, who stands leaning on his sword.

FINROD  

An oath I shall swear, of abiding friendship and aid in every need; and this oath I shall freely fulfil, even if I go down into the darkness.                                 

He gives Beren his ring in token of this promise, and leads his Elvish forces away to the back.  The front of the stage vanishes into total darkness.  Finrod turns at the summit of the hill towards the back and raises his arm in salute, before he too vanishes into the mist and gloom.

Interlude and Scene One

                                 

The fires die down, and below at the front of the stage a deep pit is slowly revealed.

 

UNSEEN VOICES 

Thus Felagund escaped, and returned to his dark fortress of Nargothrond; and there abode,

unconquered still and defying the sleepless hate of Morgoth. 

But Gorlim was enslaved, his house plundered and forsaken; and he was brought into the dreadful presence of Sauron, the Dark Lord.

 

Gorlim is now seen, chained and fettered to the sides of the pit at the front of the stage.  Above the pit is seen a dark and brooding form, that of Sauron.

SAURON  

Wouldst thou forsake thy life, who with a few words might win release for Eilinel thy wife,

and go in peace and dwell forever forsaking war?

              

GORLIM  

Eilinel, Eilinel!  I cannot forsake you.  I cannot linger, cold and loveless as a barren stone!

SAURON  

So thou wouldst bargain with me?  What is thy price? 

                          

GORLIM  

That I may find my Eilinel again, and with her be set free. 

                 

SAURON  

That is a small price for so great a treachery.  So shall it surely be.  Say on! 

Where may the rebel Beren now be found?

                      

He advances to the very edge of the pit.  Gorlim recoils in his fetters, but is drawn to look into the daunting eyes of Sauron who stares grimly into his face.

 

SAURON                        

Thou base and cringing worm!

Now drink the cup that I have sweetly blended for a fool!  Thou art deluded by a phantom, made to snare thy lovesick wits. 

Thy Eilinel is long since dead, food for worms less low than thou. 

Nonetheless I shall grant thy prayer; and thou shalt go now unto Eilinel, and lie in her bed

and be set free of my service, and be released from pain and war!

      

He signs to his creatures, who descend to Gorlim in the pit.  They close in on the chained man, and then one holds up his head.  Sauron smiles.  Sudden darkness.

 

Interlude and Scene Two

 

Mists begin once more to swirl across the scene.

UNSEEN VOICES  

But still there remained in hiding cold Beren, once a prince of men,

of land bereft and lordship shorn, now lurking as an outlaw in the grey woodland. 

Through moor and marsh, by tree and briar he wandered under leaves alone and sorrowing. 

  

Shadows of trees standing by the shore of a stagnant lake are thrown through the mists.

 

BEREN  

I hear rumour of the strength of Morgoth, and my food is nigh spent.  Gorlim in the woods is long astray or dead. 

I wandered long in shadows deep where dwell the dead;already hill and dale are shaken.  The hunt is up, the prey is wild!

And Orcs and phantoms prowl and peer from tree to tree, and every shade and hollow is filled with terror. The road is long.

He falls unconscious by the border of the lake.

UNSEEN VOICES

A great darkness of sleep came upon him, and it seemed to him that he came up out of the deep waters as a man that is drowning.

Beside the lake, carrion birds sat thick as leaves in the naked trees upon its brink, and blood dripped from their beaks.

Then he was aware of a shadow that came towards him across the water.

                         

A red glow glimmers in the distance; and in the ghastly illumination a wraith-like form drifts slowly across the surface of the lake.

GORLIM       

Gorlim I was, but now a wraith of will defeated, broken faith, traitor betrayed.  Go!  Stay not here! 

Awaken, son of Barhir, and haste! for Morgoth’s fingers close upon your throat; he knows your trysts, your paths, your secret lair. 

The fires suddenly go out, and the wraith vanishes.  A cold daylight fills the stage, in which the dead trees hang desolately in the mists by the lake shore.  Beren rises.

 

BEREN

Thy death I will avenge, even though my fate should lead at last to Angband’s gate! 

No more shall hidden bowstring sing, no more shall shaven arrows wing!

No more my hunted head shall lie upon the heath beneath the angry sky. 

UNSEEN VOICES                                                            

In winter’s night the houseless North he left behind, and stealing forth the leaguer of his watchful foe he passed;

a shadow on the snow, a swirl of wind, and he was gone. 

       

Interlude and Scene Three

The mists have once again covered the scene in darkness.

 

UNSEEN VOICES 

Southward he turned, and south away through valleys woven with deceit and washed with waters bitter-sweet

dark forces lurked in gulf and glen, where horror and madness walked;   

and spiders spun their unseen webs in which all living creatures were ensnared,

and monsters wandered there that were born in the long dark before the coming of the Sun, hunting silently with many eyes.

 

Slowly moonlight, clean and wholesome, begins to filter from above.  A woodland glade, heavy with the scent of spring, is slowly disclosed.  Hemlocks lie across the edge of the glade, and swift waters run through it.

 

UNSEEN VOICES                                            

The leaves were long, the grass was green, the hemlock-umbrels tall and fair,

and in the glade a light was seen of stars in shadow glimmering.

A movement through the trees is suddenly seen as Lúthien runs into the moonlight.  She pauses for a moment, listening; and the voice of pipes like the sound of distant nightingales fills the air as she begins to dance.

 

UNSEEN VOICES

Tinúviel was dancing there to music of a pipe unseen and light of stars was in her hair and in her raiment shimmering. 

LÚTHIEN           

Ir Ithil ammon Eruchín                  The Father raised the moon

menel-vîr síla díriel                        and the white-shining infinite heavens

si loth a galadh lasto dîn!              and the blossoms here beneath the leaves of the  trees!

A Hir Annun gilthoniel,                  O Queen of the West who kindled the stars,

le linnon im Tinúviel!                    I sing to you here like a nightingale!

 

Another movement is seen through the trees, this time towards the front.   Beren, weary and hardly able to stagger along, blunders into the edge of the glade and stops suddenly as if enchanted.

UNSEEN VOICES                            

Enchantment healed his weary feet that over hills were doomed to roam;

and forth he hastened, strong and fleet, and grasped at moonbeams glistening.              

 

Beren starts towards the dancing elf-maiden in the glade, but she with sudden movement eludes him and vanishes into the trees. 

 

UNSEEN VOICES

Through woven woods in Elvenhome she fled on lightly dancing feet, and left him lonely still to roam in the silent forest listening.

 

BEREN                                                                

Slowly the sundering flood rolls past!  To this my long way comes at last: a hunger and a loneliness, enchanted waters pitiless.

The trees begin to move; and in their movement Lúthien is then and again glimpsed, sometimes near and  sometimes far, but ever dancing.

UNSEEN VOICES                                            

He heard there oft the flying sound of feet as light as linden-leaves, or water welling underground in hidden hollows quivering.

Her mantle glistened in the moon, as on a hill-top high and far she danced, and at her feet were strewn the mists of silver wavering. 

LÚTHIEN                                                             

Come, dance now Beren, dance with me! the wild and headlong maze

they dance who dwell beyond the ways that lead to the lands of men; teach the feet of Lúthien!     

  

Beren starts after her into the forest, and the glade remains empty.  As if lifted from the enchantment of spring, a sudden winter descends on the scene.

 

UNSEEN VOICES                                            

Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves, and one by one with sighing sound

whispering fell the beechen leaves in the wintry woodland shivering.  

      

Beren once more emerges into the glade, but the winter landscape remains.    

 

UNSEEN VOICES

He sought her ever, wandering far where leaves of years were thickly strewn,        

by light of moon and ray of star in frosty heavens quivering. 

BEREN                                                                

Where art thou gone? the day is bare, the sunlight dark, and cold the air! Tinúviel, where went thy feet?

O wayward star!  O maiden sweet! O flower of Elvendom, too fair for mortal heart!  The woods are bare!              

Ere spring were born, the spring hath died!

   

Lúthien suddenly emerges into the glade, and halts half in amazement and half in desire, looking intently at Beren; then, suddenly, she turns to run once more into the trees.   

 

UNSEEN VOICES            

Again she fled, but swift he came.

 

BEREN                

Tinúviel!  Tinúviel!

 

UNSEEN VOICES            

He called her by her Elvish name, and there she halted listening.

Lúthien remains as though transfixed as Beren moves Slowly towards her.

UNSEEN VOICES

One moment stood she, and a spell his voice laid on her; Beren came, and doom fell on Tinúviel that in his arms lay glistening. 

         

The spring sights, sounds  and scents once more fill the forest.

 

UNSEEN VOICES

As Beren looked into her eyes within the shadows of her hair, the trembling starlight of the skies he saw there mirrored shimmering. 

Tinúviel the elven-fair immortal maiden elven-wise about him cast her shadowy hair and arms like silver glimmering.  

   

Darkness enshrouds them as they fall into a long embrace.  The Curtain falls very slowly.

                                                                                           

 

Prelude and Scene Four

 

The moonlit glade, as before.  Thingol is enthroned on high to the right of the stage with Melian at his side.  Before him stand Beren and Lúthien, hand in hand.

          

THINGOL   

Who are you that come hither as a thief, and unbidden dare to approach my throne?                              

 

LÚTHIEN   

He is Beren son  of  Barahir,  lord of men, mighty foe of Morgoth, the tale of whose deeds is become a song even among the elves.

 

THINGOL   

Let Beren speak! What would you here, unhappy mortal,

and for what cause have you left your own land to enter this, which is forbidden to such as you?  

Can you show reason why my power should not be laid on you in heavy punishment for your insolence and folly?

 

BEREN     

My fate, O King, led me hither, through perils such as few even of the elves would dare. 

And here I have found what I sought not indeed, but finding would possess for ever. 

Neither rock, nor steel, nor the fires of Morgoth, nor all the powers of the elf-kingdoms, shall keep me from the treasure I desire. 

For Lúthien you daughter is above gold and silver and beyond all jewels.                                             

 

There is a stunned silence; the courtiers surrounding Thingol make a convulsive movement, and then remain still.

                           

THINGOL [in a cold tone]  

Death you have earned with these words; and death you should find suddenly, had I not sworn an oath in haste;

of which I repent, baseborn mortal, who in the realm of Morgoth has learnt to creep in secret as his spies and thralls.

    

BEREN    

Death you can give me earned or unearned; but the name I will not take from you of baseborn, nor spy, nor thrall. 

By the ring of Finrod Felagund that he gave to me on the battlefield of the North,

my house has not earned such names from any Elf, be he king or no.

He takes the ring of Finrod from his hand and holds it up before the court.  Melian leans in haste over to Thingol.

MELIAN  

Forego your wrath; for not by you shall Beren be slain. 

Far and free does his fate lead him in the end, yet it is wound with yours.  Take heed!

THINGOL [looking at Lúthien, to himself] 

Unhappy men, children of little lords and brief kings, shall such as these lay hands on you and yet live? 

[to Beren] I see the ring, son of Barahir, and I perceive that you are proud and deem yourself mighty. 

But deeds alone avail not to win the daughter of Thingol and Melian. See now! I too desire a treasure that is withheld. 

For rock and steel and the fires of Morgoth keep the jewel that I would possess against the powers of all the elf-kingdoms. 

Yet I hear you say that bonds such as these do not daunt you. 

Go your way therefore! bring to me in your hand a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown;

and then, if she will, Lúthien may set her hand in yours. 

Then you shall have my jewel; and though the fate of the earth lie within the Silmarils, yet you shall hold me generous.

                             

BEREN [laughing]

For little price do Elvenkings sell their daughters; for gems, and things made by craft. But if this be your will, I shall perform it. 

And when we meet again my hand shall hold a Silmaril from the Iron Crown;

for you have not looked the last on Beren son of Barahir.

He turns and leaves through the forest, while Lúthien looks in fear after him.  Then the other elves lead her away in the opposite direction, and Thingol and Melian descend from their thrones into the centre of the glade.

MELIAN  

O king, you have designed cunning counsel. 

But if my eyes have not lost their sight, it is ill for you whether Beren fail in his errand or achieve it. 

For you have doomed either your daughter, or yourself.

 

THINGOL   

I sell not to elves or men those whom I love and cherish above all treasure.  

And if there were hope or fear that Beren should come ever back alive to Doriath,

he should not have looked again upon the light of heaven, though I had sworn it.   

A brooding silence falls upon the woods.  The darkness which has already covered the upper part of the stage at the back now extends itself over the whole scene.

                                                                                                                                                           

Interlude and Scene Five

 

In the upper stage Finrod is seen seated upon his throne in Nargothrond; before him as a suppliant stands Beren, the ring of Finrod held up before him.

BEREN  

My lord, I have a need of friends,

as one who treads a long dark journey and fears the road, yet dares not turn and look back on the lights he has left. 

There is naught but night before me, and I doubt to find the light I seek far beyond the hills.

FINROD  

It is plain that Thingol desires your death;

for not all the power of the elves has ever availed even to see from afar the shining Silmarils of Fëanor. 

For they are set in the Iron Crown, and treasured in Angband above all wealth;

and spirits of flame are about them, and countless swords, and strong bars, and unassailable walls, and the dark majesty of Morgoth.  And they are cursed with an oath of hatred, and he that even names them in desire moves a great power from slumber. 

Yet my oath also holds; and thus we are all ensnared.

        

The sons of Fëanor now become visible, standing in revolt before the throne of the King

UNSEEN VOICES            

Be he friend or foe or foul offspring of Morgoth Bauglir, be he mortal dark that in after days on earth shall dwell,

shall no law nor love nor league of powers nor might nor mercy nor moveless fate,

defend him forever from the fierce vengeance of the sons of Fëanor. 

Whoso seize or steal or finding keep the fair enchanted globes of crystal whose glory dies not, the Silmarils, is cursed forever!

                        

Finrod stands and, taking his crown from his head, casts it down before his feet.

           

FINROD    

Your oaths of faith to me you may break, but I must hold my bond. 

Yet, if there be any on whom the shadow of our curse has not yet fallen,

I should find at least a few to follow me, and should not go forth as a beggar that is thrust from the gates.

But the people of Nargothrond turn from him and depart; Beren alone remains, and turning he raises Finrod’s crown from the ground.

BEREN    

O King, to leave this realm is now our fate, but not to lose your rightful lordship.

For you remain my king, and theirs, whatever may betide.

 

Finrod turns and places his crown above the vacant throne.  The upper stage once more is shrouded in darkness

  

Interlude and Scene Six

 

Fires begin to blaze at the back of the scene and evil shapes  appear to move through the darkness.  A sudden blaze like a searchlight freezes and catches Beren and Finrod in the centre of the stage; they pull their cloaks about them to hide their identities, but the shadow of Sauron appears lowering above them.  Both cower.

 

SAURON 

Where have you been, and what have you seen?                    

 

FINROD 

We have seen tears and distress, burning fires and flowing blood; the ravens sit and the owl cries where we have been.                                          

SAURON  

Tell me then, what befalls in Elvenesse?  Who reigns now in Nargothrond, if you dared enter that realm?

                                                

FINROD  

Only its borders, where King Finrod Felagund rules. 

               

SAURON  

Then heard you not that he is gone?

 

FINROD   

Then Orodreth sits upon his throne. 

           

SAURON  

Sharp and swift are your ears, to get tidings of realms you did not enter! 

And what of that domain where robber Thingol and his outlaw folk cringe and crawl beneath the forests of drear Doriath? 

Have you heard nothing of the fair Lúthien?  Morgoth would possess that fair white body. 

But your captain looks fierce, his frown is grim! 

Why is he troubled to think of his master crushing Lúthien in his hoard, that what once was clean should be foul,

and  that what once was light should be darkened?

                                       

BEREN   

Who is Sauron, to hinder our work?  We serve you not, nor owe you obeisance; and we now would go.

                                                      

SAURON  

Patience! you need not abide very long; but first you shall hear me.

He advances towards the centre of the stage and unveils his cloak.  Finrod and Beren shrink back in dread.

 

UNSEEN VOICES                                                            

He chanted a song of wizardry, of piercing, opening, of treachery, revealing, uncovering, betraying.

     

Finrod suddenly throws aside his disguise and advances to meet Sauron.

 

UNSEEN VOICES

Then suddenly Felagund there swaying sang in answer a song of staying, resisting, battling against power,      

of secrets kept, strength like a tower, and trust unbroken, freedom, escape.

            

Beren, turning in terror from the contest of Finrod and Sauron, creeps backwards into a dark pit which opens at the front of the stage.

 

UNSEEN VOICES

Backwards and forwards swayed their song. Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong the chanting swelled,

Felagund fought. Then the gloom gathered; a vast smoke rushed forth, and Finrod fell before the throne.

Mists have veiled the whole scene, including the form of Sauron. All that is dimly visible is the pit, with the shapes of Beren and Finrod huddled in despair.

BEREN   

It would be little loss if I were dead; and I am  minded  all  to tell,  and so perchance to save your life. 

I set you free from your old oath, for you have endured more for me than ever was deserved.

FINROD  

O Beren, Beren! have you not learned that Sauron’s promises are frail as breath? 

From this dark yoke of pain shall neither of us ever escape with Sauron’s consent, whether he learn our names or no. 

And we should drink yet deeper of torment, if he knew he that the son of Barahir and Felagund were his captives;

even worse, if he should know our dreadful errand. 

       

The voice of Sauron is suddenly heard from the blackness above.

                    

SAURON  

True, true the word I heard you speak!  It would be little loss if he were dead, the outlaw mortal. 

But the undying Elvenking could suffer much that no man might endure. Perchance, ere all is done, I shall know your errand also. 

The wolf is hungry, the hour is nigh; Beren need not wait for death.

A large grey wolf suddenly appears out of the darkness and advances on Beren.  Finrod with a mighty effort advances to meet it, and struggles with the monster.  With his bare hands he succeeds in breaking the wolf’s neck; but with a dying lunge the wolf buries its teeth in Finrod’s chest and he falls back into Beren’s arms dying.                      

 

FINROD  

Farewell, my friend and comrade!  I go now to my long rest in the timeless halls beyond the seas and the mountains. 

It may be that we shall not meet again in death or life, for the fates of our kindreds are apart.  Farewell!

He dies.  Beren lowers his head over his body in grief; darkness covers the pit.  Sauron alone stands shrouded in gloom in the middle of the stage; then a distant voice is heard from above.

LÚTHIEN           

In western lands beneath the Sun the flowers may rise in Spring, the trees may bud, the waters run, the nightingales sing.     

Or there maybe ’tis cloudless night and swaying beeches bear the Elven-stars as jewels bright amid their branching hair. 

    

Beren raises himself in defiance.

BEREN

Though here at journey’s end I lie in darkness buried deep, beyond all towers strong and high, beyond all mountains steep,

beyond all shadows rides the Sun, and stars forever dwell. I will not say the day is done, nor bid the stars farewell.

LÚTHIEN [appears above, listening] 

I hear a song far under welling, far but strong; a song that Beren bore aloft. 

I hear his voice, as I have heard it often in dreams and wandering.

   

SAURON   

Ah, little Lúthien! what brought this foolish fly into my web? Morgoth! my reward will be great when to thy hoard this jewel is added.

A sudden blaze of golden light descends from above; Lúthien is seen to stand with arms raised above the form of Sauron cowering on the ground.

LÚTHIEN  

O dark phantom,  wrought of foulness, lies and guile! 

Here shalt thou be stripped of thy raiment of flesh, and thy ghost be sent quaking back to Morgoth;

there everlastingly thy naked self shall endure the torment of his scorn, pierced by his eyes,

unless thou yield to me the mastery of thy tower.

SAURON             

May darkness everlasting old that waits outside in surges cold drown law, and light, and Moon and Sun!    

May all in hatred be begun, and all in evil ended be, in the moaning of the endless Sea!

He rises in a sudden burst of dark evil; then the light consumes the darkness, and he fades as an impotent shadow.  Lúthien comes forward and finds Beren crouched over the lifeless body of Finrod.

   

LÚTHIEN           

Oh, Beren, Beren, almost too late have I thee found? Alas! in tears that we should meet, who once found meeting passing sweet! 

           

BEREN

O Lúthien, Lúthien, more fair than any child of men!        

O loveliest child of Elvenesse, what might of love did thee possess to bring thee here to terror’s lair?                         

O lissom limbs and shadowy hair, O flower-entwined brows so bright, O slender hands in this new light!

   

He embraces her, and then turns with equal fierceness away from her.

 

BEREN                            

Thrice now I curse my oath to Thingol, and I would that he had slain me in Doriath,

rather than that I should bring you under the shadow of Morgoth.

LÚTHIEN   

From the shadow of death you can no longer save me, for by my love I now am subject to it. 

You can turn from your fate and lead me into exile, seeking peace in vain while life lasts. 

But if you will not deny your doom, then either I forsaken must surely die alone,

or I  with you must challenge the fate that lies before you: hopeless, yet not certain.

She moves towards him as if to embrace him, but he moves away from her violently.  When she would embrace him again, he points with a grim gesture to the mangled body of Finrod lying at the front of the stage.  She recoils.  Fast Curtain.

                                           

                                                                                                                

Prelude and Scene Seven

 

The halls of Morgoth in Angband.  Vast heights and pits suggested on all sides.  Asleep on the upper level of the stage before the Gate lies the great wolf Carcharoth.

   

UNSEEN VOICES                                                            

A sable hill, gigantic, rampart-crowned under a gleaming sky,

on whose dark ground stand stony chiselled pillars of the vault with shaft and capital of black basalt.

There slow forgotten days for ever reap the silent shadows, counting out rich hours,      

and no voice stirs; and all the fretted towers black, hot and soundless, ever burn and sleep.

Beren and Lúthien in disguise appear at the back above, and start back in horror when they see the wolf .

 

BEREN   

What grievous terror and dread guard has Morgoth set to bar his doors against all entering feet? 

Long ways we have come at last to the very maw of death that opens between us and our quest!

Yet hope we never had.  No turning back! 

                          

He advances boldly to meet the wolf and rouses it from sleep.

 

BEREN                             

Who is this hungry upstart whelp that bars my way?  Aside! for I must in; or go, and swiftly tell my coming! 

The wolf bares its teeth and makes to attack him, but Lúthien coming swiftly forward bars its way with upraised hand.

LÚTHIEN  

O woe-begotten spirit, fall now into dark oblivion, and forget for a while the dreadful doom of life. 

Carcharoth falls unconscious at her feet; Beren and Lúthien turn to each other in rejoicing when a voice rises from below.

MORGOTH   

Shadow, descend! and do not think to cheat mine eyes!  In vain seek to hide from thy Lord’s gaze. 

None may defy my will; there is no hope nor escape for those that unbidden pass my Gate. 

Beren and Lúthien proudly descend to the lower stage.  Here at last is the Throne of Darkness, with Morgoth seated upon it.  He appears as a great shape of shadow, crowned with iron and wearing the three Silmarils set within the carcanet.  Beren sinks in horror to the ground, but Lúthien advances proudly, wrapping her cloak about her as a shadow.

 

LÚTHIEN  

A lawful errand brought me here from Sauron’s mansions to stand before thy mighty chair.

    

MORGOTH    

Thy name, thou shrieking waif, thy name! thou foolish, frail, bat-shapen thing, and yet not bat within! 

Sauron sent word but short while since.  Why now send such messenger as thou?

LÚTHIEN  

Thúringwethil I am, who cast a shadow over the ghastly face of the sallow moon in the doomed realm of shivering Beleriand.

               

MORGOTH   

Liar art thou, who seeks to weave deceit before mine eyes! 

Now leave thy false form and raiment! stand revealed, and delivered to my hand!

Lúthien casts her cloak aside and stands revealed before him

MORGOTH

So, Lúthien! like all Elves and Men a liar!  Yet welcome to my halls!  I have a use for every servant. 

What news of Thingol, lurking shyly like a timid vole in his refuge? 

What folly fresh is in his mind, that he cannot keep his offspring from straying thus?  or can design no better counsel for his spies?

 

LÚTHIEN  

The road hither was wild and long, but Thingol sent me not; nor does he know where his rebellious daughter has gone. 

Yet every road and path will lead at last to the North;

and here of  need I trembling come with humble brow to bow before thy throne.       

 

MORGOTH      

And here of need thou shalt remain now,  Lúthien, in joy or pain:     

which is the fitting doom for all rebels, thieves and upstart slaves. 

Why should ye not share in our fate, of woe and travail?  Or should I spare torment to slender limbs and frail bodies? 

Of what use here is thy babbling song and foolish laughter?  Minstrels strong are at my call. 

Yet I will give a brief respite brief, a little while to live, to the fair Lúthien, though dearly purchased.  

In slothful gardens many a flower like thee the amorous Powers are used honey-sweet to kiss,

and cast then aside underfoot, losing their bruised fragrance. 

But here we seldom find such sweetness amid our long and hard labours;

and who would not taste with their lips the honey, or crush with their feet the soft cool tissue of pale flowers,

to ease the slow dragging of time?

   

LÚTHIEN  

Lord! every minstrel hath his tune, and some are strong and some are soft; but Lúthien hath cunning arts for solace sweet of kings.  

She begins to dance.

UNSEEN VOICES        

And all the fires faded and were quenched.  But the Silmarils on Morgoth’s head blazed forth suddenly with a radiance of white flame; and the burden of that crown and of the jewels bowed down his head, as though the world were set upon it

laden with a weight of care and of desire. 

Then Lúthien catching up her robe sprang into the air, and her voice came dripping down like rain into pools profound and dark. 

She cast her cloak before his eyes, and set upon him a dream dark as the Outer Void where once he walked alone. 

Suddenly he fell, as a hill sliding in avalanche, and hurled like thunder from his throne lay prone upon the floors. 

The iron crown rolled echoing from his head.  All things were still.

Morgoth lies motionless upon the floor, his crown almost at Lúthien’s feet.  She looks briskly around and sees Beren, cast in a sleep upon the floor.  She runs rapidly to him and rouses him.

 

LÚTHIEN                           

Come forth, come forth! the hours have knelled, and Angband’s mighty lord is felled!

Awake, awake! for we two meet alone before the aweful seat.

              

Beren raises himself slowly and painfully from the ground; then, reaching for his knife, he cuts a Silmaril from the Crown.   There is a sudden crack of thunder; Morgoth stirs, and Beren  and Lúthien flee.  But the wolf Carcharoth has roused and now bars their way.  Lúthien, spent and faint, draws back; but Beren, holding the Silmaril high in his hand, advances to meet the wolf.

BEREN    

Get you gone, and fly! for here is a fire that shall consume you, and all evil things.

He thrusts the Silmaril into the mouth of the wolf.  There is a great howling, and the wolf bites off Beren’s hand before it curls back as the jewel sears its flesh.  Turning madly, it flees before them; Lúthien throws her cloak about the reeling Beren and hurries him away.  Fires and earthquakes rise from below, and then darkness covers the scene.     

 

Interlude and Scene Eight

 

Slowly the light begins to return.  The scene has returned  as  if  in a dream  to  the  forest  glade as    in Scene Three.  It is dawn and it is spring again.  Beren lies dying upon the grass; Lúthien is seated beside him.

       

BEREN                                                                

Farewell now here, ye leaves of trees, you music in the morning breeze!           

Farewell now, blade and bloom and grass that see the changing seasons pass;        

ye waters murmuring over stone, and meres that silent stand alone!          

Farewell now, mountain, vale and plain! Farewell now, wind and frost and rain

and mists and cloud, and heaven’s air, ye star and moon so blinding-fair,          

that still shall look down from the sky on the wide earth,

though Beren die; though Beren die not, and yet deep,         

deep, whence comes from those that weep no dreadful echo, lie and choke              

in everlasting dark and smoke.                

Farewell, sweet earth and northern sky, for ever blessed, since here did lie            

and here with lissom limbs did run beneath the moon, beneath the sun,      

Lúthien Tinúviel more fair than mortal tongue can tell.

LÚTHIEN                                                           

O proud and fearless hand and heart, not yet farewell; not yet we part! 

Not thus do those of elven race forsake the love that they embrace. 

A love is mine, as great a power as thine, to shake the gate and tower

of death with challenge weak and frail that yet endures, and will not fail            

nor yield, unvanquished were it hurled beneath the foundations of the world.   

Beloved fool! escape to seek from such pursuit; in might so weak

to trust not, thinking it well to save from love thy loved, who welcomes grave

and torment sooner than in guard of kind intent to languish, barred,           

wingless and helpless him to aid, for whose support her love was made! 

  

They embrace passionately.

                                           

BEREN and LÚTHIEN                                   

Though all to ruin fell the world and were dissolved and backward hurled

unmade into the old abyss, yet were its making good, for this:

the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea, that love for a time might be. 

 

Another long embrace.  Full daylight.  Thingol and Melian enter with their court; Beren looks up at them with pain in his eyes.

BEREN   

I have returned according to my word.  I come now to claim my own.

                              

THINGOL  

What of your oath, and of your vow?

  

BEREN   

It is fulfilled.  Even now a Silmaril is in my hand.

                     

THINGOL  

Show it to me!

Beren holds up his severed wrist.  Thingol looks at him a long time in silence.

 

BEREN   

Now is my quest achieved, and my doom full-wrought.

                       

He dies; Lúthien bends down over his body and kisses his lips.  A winter falls, and the light fades.

 

Interlude and Scene Nine

 

A cold unearthly light filters slowly from above; the scene is out of place, out of time.  The Guardians are seen, or glimpsed, seated in a semicircle about the centre of the scene.

    

UNSEEN VOICES  

And Lúthien came to the Halls of Mandos, beyond the mansions of the west upon the margins of the world,

where those that wait sit in the shadow of their thought. 

But her beauty was greater than their beauty, and her sorrow was greater than their sorrows;

and she knelt before Mandos and sang to him.

Lúthien stands as if transfigured in the centre of the semicircle; Beren is at her feet.

     

LÚTHIEN           

Long are the paths, of shadows made, where no footprint is ever made, across the hills, across the seas!               

Far, far away are the Lands of Ease, but the land of the lost is further yet, where the dead wait, while ye forget. 

No moon is there, no voice, no sound of beating heart; a sigh profound alone is heard. 

Far, far it lies, the Land of Waiting, where the Dead sit in their thought’s shadow, by no moon lit.

Mandos, a shrouded figure at the centre of the semicircle,  raises his hand.  Beren rejoins Lúthien in life.

 

Epilogue

  

The light slowly fades.   There is no movement.

UNSEEN VOICES            

Long was the way that fate them bore, o’er stony mountains cold and grey       

through halls of iron and darkling door and woods of nightshade morrowless. 

The Sundering Seas between them lay, and yet at last they met once more,       

and long ago they passed away in the forest, singing, sorrowless. 

 

The Curtain falls very slowly.

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.

Progress

17/09/2017 - This page added to site.  As of this date a "First Pass" at the orchestra has been completed ready to be worked upon with Paul before the voices are added.

30/12/2017 - A second pass at the orchestral parts has been completed with Paul's help.  The voices will start to be added soon.

04/01/2018 - Recording of vocals has begun, 2nd Tenor of the Chorus parts of the Prologue, Scene 1 and Scene 2 have been completed.  

20/01/2018 - 2nd Tenor Chorus part and a first take at Finrod has been completed and edited in.

10/02/2018 - 1st Bass Chorus part recorded today.

12/02/2018 - 2nd Soprano Chorus parts for the Prologue to Scene 3 recorded today.

14/02/2018 - 2nd Soprano and 1st Bass Chorus parts mixed in for the Prologue to Scene 2.

15/02/2018 - 2nd Soprano and 1st Bass Chorus parts mixed in for Scene 3.

16/02/2018 - 1st Bass Chorus parts mixed in for Scenes 5 and 6.

03/03/2018 - A first take at Beren in Scenes 1-5 recorded today.

23/04/2018 - 2nd Soprano Chorus parts recorded for scenes 5-9/Epilogue.

08/05/2018 - 2nd Soprano, 1st Bass Chorus parts mixed in for all remaining scenes.  First take at Beren in Scenes 6 & 7.

28/05/2018 - 2nd Mezzo and 2nd Bass Chorus parts recorded for the Prologue to Scene 3.

31/05/2018 - 2nd Mezzo and 2nd Bass Chorus parts mixed in for the Prologue to Scene 3.

16/06/2018 - First take at the rest of Beren recorded today.

20/06/2018 - 2nd Mezzo and 2nd Bass Chorus parts recorded for Scenes 5 to the Epilogue.

30/06/2018 - 2nd Mezzo and 2nd Bass Chorus parts mixed in for Scenes 5 and 6.

02/07/2018 - 2nd Mezzo and 2nd Bass Chorus parts mixed in for Scene 9 and the Epilogue.

12/08/2018 - Orchestral notes and clean up on the First Triptych.

06/09/2018 - Another pass at all of the orchestral parts to clean up ready for the rest of the vocals to go in.

16/09/2018 - Melian and Chorus 1st Mezzo recorded today! 

21/09/2018 - 1st Mezzo Chorus parts mixed in for the Prologue to Scene 2.

22/09/2018 - Melian and 1st Mezzo Chorus parts mixed in for the rest of the piece.

 

24/09/2018 - 1st Soprano Chorus parts recorded today.

26/09/2018 - 1st Soprano Chorus parts mixed in.

01/10/2018 - First recording session with our Luthien.  Scenes 3, 4, 9 and almost all of 6 done!

18/11/2018 - More Orchestral notes and minor retakes in the Prologue to Scene 2.

19/11/2018 - More Orchestral notes to Scenes 2 to the Epilogue.

26/11/2018 - Second recording session with our Luthien.  Barring any minor re-takes she is complete! 

06/01/2019 - Session with one of our Dark Lords!  Sauron is now recorded...

14/02/2019 - Morgoth session today. Our other dark lord is now recorded!

18/02/2019 - Libretto added to this page.

18/02/2019 - Recording session with Gorlim/Chorus Tenor 1.  The chorus is now complete and only one person is left to record!

25/02/2019 - Clean up of Disc One undertaken today.

02/03/2019 - Clean up of Disc Two undertaken today.

20/03/2019 - Recording session with our Thingol - all parts are now inputted.  Only a few re-takes and some clean up and Beren and Luthien is complete.

 

23/03/2019 - Re-takes with Beren and Finrod today.  All mixed in, along with a few orchestral notes.

 

25/03/2019 - Listen through with Paul today - a few minor fixes and then the only thing left to do is a couple of minor re-takes.

 

09/04/2019 - Re-takes with Luthien.  Now mixed in.

 

07/05/2019 - Audio locked down, booklet and CD art finalised and sent off to Prima Facie for manufacturing.

 

02/07/2019 - Available for pre-order now, please use the link at the top of this page.

 

14/07/2019 - We're proud to announce that our official launch event will be held at Tolkien 2019, in Birmingham.  On Saturday 10 August we will be at the event from 15:45 until the beginning of the masquerade, where you can come and purchase direct from us.  We will also have a listening corner set up where we will have the CD playing if you want to come and have a listen. Some of the cast members (to be announced before the event) and the composer will be present for a “meet and greet” as well as signing copies. The first twenty copies of Beren and Lúthien  purchased from us at this event will have been specially signed by the entire cast and composer.

 

12/08/2019 - CDs now available to purchase via the links above, digital platforms going live soon. 

01/09/2019 - Digital platforms now live.

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