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Paul Corfield Godfrey's "The Silmarillion, Part Three: The Children of Hurin" Demo Recording
Children of Hurin Cover Art

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.”

For reviews of the recording please visit the composer's website (link at the bottom of this page)

Our trailers for this recording and the Complete Silmarillion set.

Audio Samples

The first sample is the beginning of the Prologue where Morgoth is tormenting Hurin.

Prologue: I am the Elder King - Demo Recording Cast
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The second sample is the Choral introduction to Scene Four.

Scene Four: Thus did Turin come to Nargothrond - Demo Recording Cast
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The third sample is from the love duet for the cursed Turin and Nienor.

Scene Eight: And did you also flee from it... - Demo Recording Cast
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The Piece

"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)

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.

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