Paul Corfield Godfrey's "The Silmarillion, Part Three: The Children of Hurin" Demo Recording
Also available on:
This musical work was composed before the publication of The Children of Hurin by J R R Tolkien, ed. C R Tolkien, in 2007 and is not associated with it.
The literary work is © The Tolkien Estate Limited and C R Tolkien 2007.
It is with great pleasure that we can announce that our Demo Recording of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s operatic work “The Children of Hurin" after the mythology of J. R. R. Tolkien will be released by ASC Records & Prima Facie Records in April 2020.
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 The Children of Hurin (complete demo recording) PFCD126/127
THE CHILDREN OF HURIN
Following on from our successful releases of both Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin, Parts Two and Four of a 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 The Children of Húrin, the third part of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s cycle.
The Children of Húrin was in 1982 the first part of the cycle to be composed, and employed a variety of posthumously published texts by the author with permission of the Tolkien Estate and the assistance of the late Christopher Tolkien - one of the people to whom this work is dedicated.
As before, the singers are all professional artists from Welsh National Opera, and the set makes 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 The Children of Húrin 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 in his review of Beren and Lúthien for the Tolkien Music List described the work as “a tour de force of words delivered with passion and epic grandeur. This is hands-down the most potent actualization of Tolkien’s writing I have heard to date”. In a comment on the earlier release of The Fall of Gondolin he described that work as “a superb rendition of an unparalleled story [whose] greatest virtue lies in its ability to enhance rather than overshadow that story.”
Our trailer for the recording.
The first sample is the beginning of the Prologue where Morgoth is tormenting Hurin.
The second sample is the Choral introduction to Scene Four.
The third sample is from the love duet for the cursed Turin and Nienor.
"The Silmarillion Part Three: The Children of Hurin" is composed for thirteen characters, full chorus and orchestra.
The characters are as follows (in order of singing):
Morgoth, the enemy (Bass): Laurence Cole
Húrin Thalion, Lord of the House of Hador (Spoken): Julian Boyce
Túrin, his son (Tenor): Simon Crosby Buttle
Morwen Eledhwen, wife of Húrin (Mezzo-Soprano): Helen Greenaway
Saeros, a councillor of Doriath (Tenor): Michael Clifton-Thompson
Mablung of the Heavy Hand, a Captain of Doriath (Bass): Stephen Wells
Beleg Cúthalion, a Captain of Doriath (Baritone): Philip Lloyd-Evans
Gwindor, a Lord of Nargothrond (Baritone): Julian Boyce
Finduilas, daughter of the King of Nargothrond (Soprano): Emma Mary Llewellyn
Glaurung, first and greatest of dragons (Bass): George Newton-Fitzgerald
Niënor, daughter of Húrin (Soprano): Angharad Morgan
Dorlas, a woodsman of Brethil (Tenor): Michael Clifton-Thompson
Brandir, Lord of the men of Brethil (Baritone): Philip Lloyd-Evans
Chorus of unseen voices and peoples of Doriath, Nargothrond and Brethil: Angharad Morgan/Emma Mary Llewellyn/Louise Ratcliffe/Helen Greenaway/Michael Clifton-Thompson/Simon Crosby Buttle/Julian Boyce/Jasey Hall
For more information and analysis please visit the composer's website (link at the bottom of this page)
Morgoth has captured Húrin of the house of Hador in battle. He lays a curse upon Húrin’s family and binds him to a high place to witness their doom.
Morwen, the wife of Húrin and heavy with child, is with their son Túrin. The pair debate the fate of Húrin, with Túrin believing that he is dead. Morwen decides to send Túrin away to the Elven Realm of Doriath for protection from the Easterlings that now rule their land. She bids him farewell.
Once Túrin reaches Doriath Morwen gives birth to a daughter, Niënor. Túrin grows and becomes a fierce warrior, but is forever touched by sorrow and worry for his mother and sister. Saeros, a friend of King Thingol, mocks Túrin and insults Morwen. Túrin overpowers him and forces him to run for his life whilst he chases him. Mablung tries to stop Túrin but a fearful Saeros leaps from a cliff and dies. Mablung attempts to take Túrin before the King but Túrin scorns his judgement and leaves. Beleg, Túrin’s friend, enters having sought the truth of the encounter. The King pardons TúHe takes with him the Black Sword Anglachel, a gift from the King. Beleg vows to find his friend and bring him back. rin, deeming him wronged and provoked.
Beleg searches for Túrin and comes across Gwindor, an elf of Nargothrond, unconscious by a tree. Beleg wakes Gwindor, who tells him that he escaped from capture in Angband and that he recently saw a company of Orcs passing with a man in chains. Beleg, followed by Gwindor, chases after the Orcs through a wild storm and comes upon their camp. There he finds an unconscious Túrin and attempts to free him using Anglachel. This wakes Túrin, who jumps to his feet and in the darkness takes the sword and slays Beleg, believing him to be an Orc. A flash of lightning reveals Beleg’s face and Túrin realises his mistake.  A grieving Túrin learns from
Gwindor of a rumour from Angband about a curse upon Húrin’s family.
Gwindor brings an incognito Túrin to Nargothrond. He tells Túrin that he will be safe there but Túrin believes it would be better for all of the host of Nargothrond to take the fight to the enemy. Finduilas, the daughter of King Orodreth, betrothed of Gwindor, finds her heart turned towards the stranger. Gwindor, realising he has lost his love, has turned sullen and distant towards Túrin. Gwindor tries to confess his love to Finduilas and warns her not to trust Túrin. He reveals all he knows of Túrin’s family and curse. Finduilas confesses to Gwindor that, while she loves him, her love for Túrin is greater. She admits that she knows that Túrin does not love her in return, seeing her like a mother and a Queen. She greets Túrin by his name and berates him for not telling her himself. Túrin blames Gwindor for bringing his curse back upon him but Gwindor believes that the curse lies on the man, not his name.
The host of Nargothrond, under Túrin’s command, goes forth into battle against Morgoth. The dragon Glaurung lays siege to Nargothrond and succeeds in destroying it. Gwindor is killed and Finduilas is captured. Túrin rushes back to the ruins, only to be intercepted by the dragon, who holds him in his bewitching gaze whilst Finduilas is taken away. Once the dragon’s spell breaks, Túrin rushes away after Finduilas.
Morwen and Niënor, now under the protection of Mablung, come in search of Túrin. Morwen attempts to leave Niënor behind and go on alone. However, her daughter insists on staying with her and searching for her brother. As Morwen decides to search for Túrin at
Nargothrond, Mablung attempts to stop them going any further. He cannot fulfil his duty to protect them if they continue. Morwen and Niënor carry on without his escort. Morwen becomes separated and lost in the ruins of Nargothrond. Niënor comes upon Glaurung, who casts a spell of forgetfulness upon her. She runs off into the forest.
Scene Seven :
Túrin comes into the forest of Brethil, encountering a group of men led by Dorlas. Túrin learns that Finduilas was slain by the Orcs and that Dorlas spoke to her as she lay dying. Dorlas recognises Túrin as the great captain of Nargothrond. The chieftain of the men of Brethil, a lame man named Brandir, approaches and berates Dorlas for greeting the cursed man. Túrin determines to forget his name and kin, which have only brought evil to others, and takes the name Turambar.
Niënor, still under the spell of forgetfulness, also comes to Brethil, where she is discovered by Dorlas and Túrin. Túrin and Niënor find themselves irresistibly attracted to one another. Túrin gives her the name Niniel and the two fall quickly in love. They marry and Túrin vows to never go to war again, unless to protect her or their home. She becomes pregnant and for the first time in Túrin’s life he is at relative peace.
Brandir warns his people that Glaurung is coming to destroy them. Túrin vows to kill the dragon and goes forth with Dorlas. Dorlas and Túrin approach Glarung’s location but Dorlas, turning to flee when he sees the dragon, falls into a ravine and dies. Túrin presses on alone and succeeds in killing the great worm. Brandir approaches with Niënor in search of Túrin. They find him unconscious at the feet of the dying dragon, who with his final breath removes the spell of forgetfulness from Niënor. In horror at the realisation that she is pregnant with her brother’s child, she throws herself to her doom in the river. The men of Brethil come in search of her, but Brandir tells them all of Túrin and Niënor. Túrin awakes and when Brandir tries to tell him the truth he calls him a liar and slays him. Mablung approaches, hailing the slayer of Glaurung. Túrin asks him for tidings of his family. He is told the truth, that Morwen is lost and Nienor was bewitched and ran off into the wilds. Túrin calls upon his sword, Anglachel, to end his life and throws himself upon the blade.
Húrin, freed from captivity, comes to Túrin’s grave. There he finds a dying Morwen. She asks him what happened to their children and he cannot answer.
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 of Morgoth, Hurin, Turin, Morwen, Saeros, Mablung, Beleg, Gwindor, Finduilas, Galurung, Nienor, Dorlas and Brindir will all be recorded using different professional singers with some doubling of parts.
The Chorus will be recorded two per voice part, as per Gondolin and Beren, 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.