Paul Corfield Godfrey's "The Fall of Gondolin: Epic Scenes from the Silmarillion, Part Four" Demo Recording
This musical work was composed before the publication of The Fall of Gondolin by J R R Tolkien, ed. C R Tolkien, in 2018 and is not associated with it. The literary work is © The Tolkien Estate Limited and C R Tolkien 2018. FALL OF GONDOLIN is 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 “The Fall of Gondolin” after the mythology of J. R. R. Tolkien will be released by ASC Records & Prima Facie Records in September 2018.
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 Fall of Gondolin (complete demo recording) PFCD092/093
FALL OF GONDOLIN
During the period 1982-97 Welsh composer Paul Corfield Godfrey produced a series of ‘epic scenes’ drawn from J R R Tolkien’s posthumous writings for The Silmarillion, 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 an orchestra of some eighty players, but has only ever been performed in excerpts until now.
Following on the success last year of the CD of the composer’s music including the piano rondo Akallabêth and other Tolkien works, Prima Facie Records in collaboration with Volante Opera Productions now presents the first instalment in a complete recording of the epic scenes, to be released in a series of double CD albums. In a review last year Chris Seeman of the Tolkien Music Website wrote: “In the annals of Tolkien-inspired music, Paul Corfield Godfrey is the proverbial oliphaunt in the closet” and expressed a hope that more of his work would be recorded in the near future. Accordingly this set of The Fall of Gondolin will be followed next year by a release of Beren and Lúthien, to be followed in due course by The Children of Húrin and Fëanor.
The singers are all professional artists from Welsh National Opera, and the sets will 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. The booklet with this set of The Fall of Gondolin 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.
In a review last year of the composer’s Akallabêth, Göran Forsling referred to his music as “accessible and captivating”. Brian Wilson in another review compared his Tolkien songs to the Housman settings of Vaughan Williams, and observed that he would not be surprised if “some of Godfrey’s music becomes as well-loved as the Vaughan Williams.” We would hope that audiences will enjoy the further exploration of this extensive work.
For reviews please click on the links below:
Composer Paul Corfield Godfrey introduces "The Fall of Gondolin" with excerpts from the recording.
Composer Paul Corfield Godfrey briefly analyses "The Fall of Gondolin" with excerpts from the recording.
The Recording Process
This recording project has had a lengthy gestation period, the beginnings of which was in the spring of 2016. We had been tasked to arrange a concert of music to commemorate the First World War in the summer, and came upon the idea of mounting concert of art songs that were either written by composers who served in the war, or settings of poetry that were written by poets who served. The programme went together quickly, except that Simon, being a fan of Tolkien, felt that some settings of his work should be included. Tolkien, after all, had served in the war and had begun to write the beginnings of his "Middle Earth" at that time.
Whilst aware of the Donald Swann settings, we were intrigued to see if anyone else had written anything for classical singers that we may include. On a long journey between Milton Keynes and Plymouth, on tour with WNO, Simon was sat idly on Google searching for any hits that may be of interest. He came across a page of the music of Tolkien and in it a stub of a page mentioning the composer Paul Corfield Godfrey and his operatic works.
This was, of course, of great interest to us and we quickly found his website and contacted him for any more information he could provide. To our great delight he responded to our request for information very quickly, and gave us two bits of information that were of miraculous coincidence; samples of his scores were held in the Ty Cerdd music library in the Wales Millennium Centre (directly below where we work) and that he lived a very short distance from where we are based.
Fate was not on our side for the aforementioned concert, as we had to submit a programme before we could see any of his music. However Paul came to our little concert and since then we have stayed in contact, over the phone and through various meetings (usually over dinner after shows that he has come to see).
Paul gifted to us a large amount of his vocal music, the majority of which we are still exploring, but one large thing attracted us more than most, the vocal scores of his epic scenes based on the Silmarillion, of which the Fall of Gondolin had an immediate attraction due to it's large sections of tenor and baritone music. The only way to hear this music was via the old synthesised recordings that Paul himself made years ago. Using the software at our disposal, we started to input small sections of the piece into the computer to hear it played using modern sampled instrument sets.
The first section inputted was "The Horns of Ulmo", an aria for Tuor in the second triptych of the piece. This was of great intrigue, so much so that Simon recorded a test vocal to the sampled instruments. This quickly escalated as more of the piece was inputted into the computer to hear. With it the germ of an idea; what if we could somehow involve our friends, all of them professional singers and create a demo recording of the piece?
With the, most appreciated, assistance of Paul in our limited spare time an orchestral track was created using two different versions of his score, the full orchestral score and the modified version he used to create his recording years ago. From there we have been relying on the kindness and willingness of our friends to participate, especially as they are giving up their precious free time to come and record the required voice parts. Without them this project would not be able to proceed, and for that we will be eternally grateful.
The first sample is an orchestral one of the Wedding March from Scene Seven. This shows how we used the sampled instruments to create the orchestra for the Demo Recording.
The second sample is a choral one of the Hymn to Illuvatar from Scene Nine. This is an example of the choral sound we created using the voices of eight singers for the Demo Recording.
The third sample is of the Epilogue, Tuor is departing on his ship and bidding farewell to his wife. We hear the distant elven voices passing over the sea from Valinor.
"The Silmarillion Part Four: The Fall of Gondolin" is composed for ten characters, semi-chorus, full chorus and orchestra.
The characters are as follows (in order of singing):
Ulmo, Lord of the Waters (Bass): Martin Lloyd
Turgon, the King of Gondolin (Bass): George Newton-Fitzgerald
Aredhel, his sister (Mezzo-Soprano): Louise Ratcliffe
Eöl, a dark Elf (Baritone): Julian Boyce
Maeglin, son of Eol and Aredhel (Bass-Baritone): Stephen Wells
Ecthelion, Captain of the Guard of Gondolin (Baritone): Philip Lloyd-Evans
Tuor son of Huor, a mortal man (Tenor): Simon Crosby Buttle
Voronwë, a mariner of Gondolin (Baritone): Julian Boyce
Idril Celebrindal, Daughter of Turgon (Soprano): Anitra Blaxhall
Morgoth, the enemy (Bass): Laurence Cole
Chorus of unseen voices and people of Gondolin:
Anitra Blaxhall/Emma Mary Llewellyn/Louise Ratcliffe/Helen Greenaway/
Michael Clifton-Thompson/Simon Crosby Buttle/Julian Boyce/Laurence Cole
It is written in nine scenes plus a prologue and epilogue, a synopsis of which I add below.
The Chorus sings of the deeds of Eärendil the seafarer, which have now receded into the mists of memory. Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, appears to the Elvenking Turgon and bids him to lay down his arms and found the Hidden City of Gondolin.
The fair city of Gondolin is built. Turgon dwells there with his daughter Idril Celebrindal and his sister Aredhel. Turgon has decreed that no one who knows the city’s location may leave it. Aredhel defies her brother’s will and leaves the city to wander abroad in Middle Earth. Aredhel, wearying of the delights of Gondolin, informs her brother that she intends to leave the city.
She is captured by the Dark Elf Eöl, who takes her as his wife. She bears him a son, Maeglin. Eöl admonishes Maeglin, telling him that he is his son and not a child of Gondolin. Upon his exit Maeglin asks his mother to lead him to Gondolin away from his father’s tutelage. She consents and the two flee their bondage.
Aredhel and Maeglin travel to Gondolin, but, unbeknownst to them, are followed by Eöl. Turgon welcomes the return of Aredhel and offers Maeglin a high place in the city. Ecthelion, the Captain of the Guard, rushes in and informs Turgon that another has come unbidden into the city. Aredhel admits to her brother that the newcomer is her husband and begs him to stay his hand. Turgon welcomes Eöl into his city and his family. He informs him that now he has entered Gondolin he may no longer leave. Eöl is determined to leave and to take his family away with him. Turgon gives him and his son a choice: stay or die. Eöl chooses the latter and attempts to kill his son with a spear. Aredhel steps between her husband and son, intercepts the blow and is killed. Eöl is condemned and thrown from the ramparts of the city. Idril approaches Maeglin to console him but something in his gaze frightens her. She leaves him alone.
We are introduced to Tuor, the son of the fallen Huor, who is journeying to the shores of the ocean. A great wave arises and brings Ulmo with it. Ulmo addresses Tuor and bequeaths to him the former arms of Turgon and a mission: to warn Turgon that the fall of Gondolin draws near. Ulmo pulls a wrecked ship from the sea and upon it is Voronwë, an Elf of Gondolin, who was sent by Turgon on a failed mission to seek aid from the Blessed Realm. Voronwë and Tuor discuss the errand that Ulmo has set. Voronwë describes to Tuor his labours in the sea and finally agrees to take him to the Hidden City.
Tuor tells Voronwë of his vision of Ulmo and his errand. Voronwë leads Tuor to the dark and concealed Gates of the City of Gondolin. They are challenged at the Gate by Ecthelion.
Ecthelion refuses the pair entry into Gondolin until Tuor removes his cloak and reveals the arms of Turgon, bequeathed to him by Ulmo. Turgon, Idril and Maeglin greet the visitors. When Tuor imparts the message of Ulmo to the King he refuses to abandon his city. Tuor, now trapped within the city, is left behind with Idril who offers him aid. This is much to the dismay of the on looking Maeglin, who is himself enamoured of Idril.
Tuor and Idril are married and have a baby son Eärendil. As their child grows so too does their love but they are being watched by the jealous Maeglin. The couple sing of their longing to see the Blessed Realm.
Maeglin is brought before Morgoth, where he offers to betray the whereabouts of the Hidden City if he is rewarded.
The City of Gondolin is celebrating the first morning of summer and all sing an Elvish hymn to Ilúvatar. It is at this point that Morgoth looses his whole force against Gondolin. Turgon, realising his folly at not heeding the words of Ulmo, tells his people to flee and follow Tuor as their leader. The King remains behind, refusing to strike any blow and sends a reluctant Ecthelion after them. Maeglin attempts to seize Idril and Eärendil. Tuor struggles with him and casts him from the walls to the same death as his father before him. A sudden burst of flame from below rises and engulfs Turgon and from it rises a Balrog, which threatens Tuor and his family. Ecthelion rushes forward and hurls himself at the Spirit of Flame. Both fall to their death in the abyss. Tuor and Idril lead the survivors away from the fallen city and down towards the sea.
A now aged Tuor bids his wife and adult son farewell as he boards a ship. His aim is once more to sail the ocean and seek the Blessed Realm. Idril sings of her husband and his journey, whilst seeing a bright light shining through the mists as he comes to the end of his journey.
For more information please see the composer's website (link below).
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.
The bidding of the minstrel
The Curtain rises into darkness: a dim light as of mist on the sea slowly becomes visible
Sing us a tale of Eärendil the wandering,
chant us a lay of his white-oared ship,
more marvellous-cunning than mortal man’s pondering,
foamily musical out on the deep.
Sing us a tale of immortal sea-longing
the Eldar once made ere the change of the light,
weaving a wine-like spell, and a burning
wonder of spray and the odours of night;
gallantly bent on measureless faring,
ere he came homing in sea-laden flight,
circuitous, lingering, restlessly daring,
coming to haven unlooked for, at night.
But the music is broken, the words half-forgotten,
the sunlight has faded, the moon is grown old,
the elven-ships foundered or weed-scathed and rotten,
the fire and the wonder of hearts is grown cold.
Who now can tell, and what harp can accompany
with melodies strange enough, rich enough tunes,
pale with the magic of cavernous harmony,
loud with shore-music of beaches and dunes?
The song I can sing is but shreds one remembers
of golden imaginings fashioned in sleep,
a whispered tale told by the withering embers
of old things far off that but few hearts keep.
The scene darkens and the sea mists vanish; the Elvenking Turgon is seen, weary from battle. Through the darkness is heard a voice.
The voice of ULMO
Now shalt thou go to Gondolin, Turgon; and I will maintain my power in the vale and all the waters therein, so that none shall mark thy going, nor any find there the hidden entrance against thy will. But love not too well the works of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Elves lieth in the West, and cometh from the Sea.
Turgon removes his armour, lays down his arms and leaves them behind.
Slowly the scene is revealed: the highest platform of the Tower of the King in the Hidden City of Gondolin.
And Turgon rose, and went with his household silently through the hills, and passed the gates in the mountains, and they were shut behind him. But behind the mountains the people of Turgon throve, and they put forth their skills in labour unceasing, and Gondolin became fair indeed. High and white were its walls, and smooth its stairs, and tall and strong was the Tower of the King. There shining fountains played, and in the courts of Turgon stood images of the Trees of old. But fairest of all the wonders of Gondolin were Idril, Turgon’s daughter, that was called Celebrindal; and Aredhel his sister, the White Lady.
The light which has slowly been growing now reveals Turgon seated on his throne with Aredhel at his side.
But Aredhel wearied of the Guarded City, desiring ever the longer the more to ride again in the wide lands and to walk in the forests; and when years had passed, she spoke to Turgon and asked leave to depart.
Go then if you will, though it is against my wisdom; and I forebode that ill will come of it, both to you and me.
I am your sister and not your servant, and beyond your bounds I will go as seems good to me. And if you begrudge me an escort, then I will go alone.
I grudge you nothing that I have. Yet I desire that none shall dwell beyond my walls who know the way hither; and if I trust you, my sister, others I trust less to keep guard on their tongues.
Aredhel turns away from him with a gesture of contempt, and leaves the hall. Turgon sinks down into his throne in despair. At once the stage begins to darken, and increasingly the shadows of a dark and tangled forest are cast across the scene.
So Aredhel rode abroad, seeking for new paths and untrodden glades; and she walked in the twilight of Middle-earth when the trees were young, and enchantment lay upon it still.
Interlude and Scene Two
But the trees of Nan Elmoth were the tallest and darkest in all the world, and there the sun never came; and there Eöl dwelt, loving the night and twilight under stars. And so it came to pass that Eöl, the Dark Elf living in deep shadow, saw Aredhel as she strayed among the tall trees, and he desired her; and he set his enchantments about her, so that she draw ever nearer to the depths of the wood. And when, weary with wandering, Aredhel came to him, he welcomed her and led her into his dwelling. And there she remained; for Eöl took her to wife, and it was long ere any heard of her again. And they wandered far together by the light of the sickle moon, or under the stars. And Aredhel bore to Eöl a son in the shadows of Nan Elmoth, and he called him Maeglin, which is, The Sharp Glance.
The lights have indicated the passing of the years. Eöl now is seen again, standing on the edges of the wood with Aredhel by his side. Here also now stands the young Maeglin, looking out with yearning beyond the borders of the forest. As the light becomes stronger it becomes clear that an argument is in progress.
You are of the House of Eöl, Maeglin, and not of Gondolin. All this land is my land, and I will not deal nor have my son deal with the slayers of my kin, the invaders and usurpers of our homes!
He storms away into the darkness of the forest; Maeglin turns with eagerness towards his mother.
Lady, let us depart while there is time! What hope is there in this wood for you or me? Here we are held in bondage, and no profit shall I find here. Shall we not seek for Gondolin? You shall be my guide, and I shall be your guard!
She flings her arms around him. Eöl, returning out of the forest, sees them disappear into the distance and sinks down onto the ground.
Interlude and Scene Three
The scene slowly changes back to the Tower of Gondolin as in Scene One, with Turgon seated on his throne.
And, driven by anger and despair, Eöl rode hard upon the way that they had gone before; and Aredhel and Maeglin came to the Gate of Gondolin and the Dark Guard under the mountains.
Aredhel and Maeglin are led in before the King; both are dressed in fair and lordly garments and have put aside the travel-worn cloaks.
I rejoice indeed that my sister has returned to Gondolin; and now more fair again shall my city be than in the days when I deemed her lost. And Maeglin shall have the highest honour in my realm.
ECTHELION [enters the hall below in great haste]
Lord, the Guard have taken captive one that came by stealth to the Dark Gate. Eöl he names himself, and he is a tall Elf dark and grim; yet he names the Lady Aredhel as his wife, and demands to be brought before you. His wrath is great and he is hard to restrain; but we have not slain him as your law demands.
AREDHEL [aside to Maeglin]
Alas! Eöl has followed us, even as I feared. But with great stealth was it done; for we saw and heard no pursuit as we entered upon the Hidden Way.—[to Turgon] He speaks but the truth. He is Eöl, and I am his wife, and he is the father of my son. Slay him not, but lead him hither to the King’s judgement, if the King so wills.
Turgon nods his consent to Ecthelion, who gives a signal to his guards. Eöl is brought in wearing his travelling garments. Turgon rises from his throne and descends to meet him, extending his hands in token of friendship.
Welcome, kinsman; for so I hold you. Here you shall dwell at your pleasure, save only that you must here abide and depart not from my kingdom; for it is my law that none who finds his way hither shall depart.
I acknowledge not your law. No right have you or any of your kin in this land to seize realms or to set bounds, either here or there. I care nothing for your secrets and I came not to spy, but to claim my own: my wife and my son. Yet if in my wife you have some claim, then let her remain; let the bird go back to her cage, where soon she will sicken again as she sickened before. But not so Maeglin. My son you shall not withhold from me. Come, Maeglin son of Eöl! Your father commands you. Leave the house of his enemies and the slayers of his kin, or be accursed!
Turgon turns with enquiry to look at Maeglin, but the latter stands still as if rooted, and makes no sign.
I will not debate with you, Black Elf. By the swords of the Eldar alone are your sunless woods defended. Your freedom to wander there wild you owe to my kin; and but for them, long since you would have laboured in thraldom in the pits of Angband. And here I am King, and my doom is law. This choice only is given to you: to abide here, or to die here: and so also for your son.
Eöl stands long without word or movement, while a still silence falls upon the hall. Suddenly he throws back his cloak and brings forth a javelin.
The second choice I take, and for my son also! You shall not hold what is mine!
Aredhel springs before Maeglin as Eöl casts the javelin, and the dart takes her in the breast. Those standing by seize Eöl and hold him fast; Maeglin standing below Turgon looks at his father and remains silent.
So! you forsake your father and his kin, ill-gotten son!
Here shall you fail of all your hopes, and here may you yet die the same death as I.
Ecthelion leads Eöl to the back, and they cast him over the precipice behind the throne which rises sheer above the valley. Many others bear the body of Aredhel away; Maeglin alone remains, looking out over the vale below. Idril comes to him, and touches him by the hand; Maeglin draws back in surprise and looks into her eyes. Idril starts back slightly, and then, recovering herself, follows after Aredhel’s bier. Maeglin remains alone, looking after her. The Curtain falls.
Prelude and Scene Four
The scene opens into the mists as in the Prologue.
Huor the brother of Húrin was slain in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears; and in the winter of that year Rian his wife bore her child in the wilds, and he was called Tuor. And when Tuor had lived thus in the hills for three and twenty years, Ulmo set it in his heart to depart from the house of his fathers; and at last unawares he came to the black brink of Middle-earth, and saw the great and shoreless Sea.
The mists part, and a high clifftop is seen looking down over a vast ocean. On the top of the cliff stands Tuor, and he stretches out his arms as if to encompass the horizon, breathing the sea air.
And at that hour the sun went down beyond the rim of the world, as a mighty fire. And it grew cold, and there was a stir and a murmur as of a storm to come. And it seemed that a great wave arose, and upon it lay a mist of shadow. Then, as it drew near and rushes closer, there stood dark against the rising storm a shape of great height and majesty.
The storm now rises even higher, and the shape of Ulmo rises from the waters above it. Tuor has remained throughout the foregoing alone upon the cliff with outspread arms; now he sinks in awe to his knees.
Rise, son of Huor! for now shalt thou walk under my shadow.
Haste thou must learn, for in the fires of Morgoth thy goal will not long endure.
What then is my goal, Lord?
To find Turgon, and to look upon the Hidden City.
And I shall array thee as my messenger, even in those arms which long ago I decreed for thee.
The shape of Ulmo raises his left hand; and below on the cliff appears Turgon’s great suit of golden mail and a helm. Tuor raises himself and walks to the cliff, and girds himself.
By this token I will take these arms, and upon myself the doom that they bear.
But in the armour of Fate there is ever a rift, and in the walls of Doom a breach, until the End. And now the Curse of Mandos hastens to its fulfilment, and all the works of the Eldar shall perish. The last hope alone is left, the hope they have not looked for and have not prepared. And that hope lieth in thee; for so I have chosen.
Then shall Turgon not stand against Morgoth, as all yet hope? And of little avail shall I be, a mortal man alone among so many and valiant of the High Folk of the West.
It is not for thy valour along that I send thee, but to bring into the world a hope beyond thy sight, and a light that shall pierce the darkness. Go now, lest the Sea devour thee! And I will send one to thee out of the storm, and thus shalt thou be guided.
I go, Lord! yet now my heart yearneth rather to the Sea.
Ulmo raises his right hand, and the storm crashes forward onto the land. Tuor clambers back to the top of the cliff, while the shape of the Valar vanishes into the darkness. The storm rages across the scene with increasing violence, and Tuor crouches down beneath its fury. In the distance it appears that a ship is driven forward onto the rocks and founders. Slowly the storm dies down and a cold dawn steals quietly across the shore. Tuor rises and looks across the sea, and then calls in a loud voice.
Hail, Voronwë! I await you.
VORONWË [a tall dark Elf, clad in a travel-stained cloak, rises from the shore by the wrecked ship and clambers up towards Tuor]
Who are you, lord? Long have I laboured in the unrelenting Sea; is the Shadow overthrown? Have the Hidden People come forth?
Nay, the Shadow lengthens, and the Hidden remain hid.
But who are you? For many years ago my people left this land, and none have dwelt here since.
And now I perceive that despite your raiment you are not of them as I thought, but are of the kindred of men.
I am. And are you not the last mariner that sought the West from the Havens?
I am. Voronwë son of Aranwë am I. But how you know my name and fate I know not.
The Lord of Waters spoke to me, and sent you hither to be my guide.
Then great indeed must be your worth and doom! But whither should I lead you, lord?
I have an errand to Turgon, the Hidden King. There doom will strive with the counsel Ulmo. Will Turgon forget that which he spoke to him of old: Remember that the true help of the Elves lieth in the West, and cometh from the Sea?
VORONWË [turns away and looks out across the Sea]
Often have I vowed in the depths of the Sea that I would dwell at rest far from the Shadow in the North, where spring is sweeter than the heart’s desire. But if evil has grown while I have wandered, and the last peril approaches, then I must go to my people.
Then we will go together, as we are counselled. But whither will you lead me, and how far?
You know the strength of men; yet how think you that I could labour countless days in the salt waters of the sea? But the Great Sea is terrible, Tuor son of Huor; and it works the Doom of the Valar. Worse things it holds than to sink into the abyss and so perish: loathing, and loneliness and madness; terror of wind and tumult, and silence and shadows where all hope is lost and all living things pass away. And many shores evil and strange it washes, and many islands of danger and fear infest it. But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside. Yet whether we saw only clouds still more remote, or glimpsed indeed the mountains about the long strands of our lost home, I know not. Far, far away they stand, and none from mortal lands shall come there ever again, I deem.
Mourn not, Voronwë. For my heart says to you that far from the Shadow your long road will lead you, and your hope will return to the Sea.
And yours also. But now we must leave it, and go in haste.
They rise and pull their cloaks about them. The scene darkens.
Interlude and Scene Five
A campfire flickers in the darkness. Tuor and Voronwë are seen huddled over it.
In a dim and perilous region, in whose great tempestuous ways
I heard no sound of men’s voices—in those eldest of days
I sat on the ruined margin of the deep-voiced echoing sea
whose endless roaring music crashed in foaming harmony
on the land besieged for ever in an aeon of assaults
and torn in towers and pinnacles and caverned in great vaults;
and its arches shook with thunder and its feet were piled with shapes
riven in old sea-warfare from those crags and sable shapes.
Then the immeasurable hymn of Ocean I heard as it rose and fell
to its organ whose stops were the piping of gulls and the thunderous swell;
heard the burden of the waters and the singing of the waves
whose voices came on forever and went rolling to the caves;
’twas a music of uttermost deepness that stirred in that profound,
and the voices of all Oceans were gathered in the tumult as the Valar
tore the earth in the darkness, in the tempest of cycles ere our birth;
till the tides went out and the wind died and all sea-music ceased,
and I woke to silent caverns and empty sands and peace.
The campfire dies down. Slowly a cold and bitter morning dawns. The camp is pitched below a mountainside. Voronwë rises and looks out towards the foothills, but Tuor remains huddled in his cloak for warmth.
Fell is this frost; and death draws nigh to me, if not to you. Have I escaped the mouths of the sea, but to lie under the snow?
Short is the sight of mortal men! Here is the mouth of the Dry River, and this is the road we must take.
They rise and advance slowly towards the mountains; darkness falls about them, as if they had entered a deep cleft.
If this is a road, it is an evil one for the weary.
Yet it is the road to Turgon.
Then all the more do I wonder, that its entrance lies open and unguarded.
I had looked to find a great gate, and strength of guard.
It is indeed strange, that any incomer should creep thus far unchallenged. I fear some stroke in the dark.
ECTHELION [the voice comes from total darkness, and the challenger is not seen]
Stand! stir not! or you will die, be you foes or friends.
We are friends.
Then do as I bid.
Interlude and Scene Six
A light is struck in the darkness; Ecthelion is seen holding a lantern and closely inspecting the faces of Tuor and Voronwë.
This is strange in you, Voronwë. We were long friends. Why do you set me thus cruelly between the law and my friendship?
If you had led hither unbidden another of the elven houses, that were enough.
But you have brought to knowledge of the Hidden Way a mortal man, and as one of alien kin I should slay him.
Often shall the wanderer return than he set forth. What I have done, I have done under command greater than the law of the Guard. The King alone should judge me, and him that comes with me.
I am Tuor son of Huor of the House of Hador and the kindred of Húrin; and these names, I am told, are not unknown in the Hidden Kingdom.
And you are come to its Gate. Know then that no stranger who passes it shall ever go out again, save by the door of death.
He holds up the lantern, and a great golden Gate is seen outlined in the darkness.
Speak not ill-boding! If the messenger of the Lord of Waters go by that door, then all who dwell here shall follow him.
Lord of Fountains, hinder not the messenger of the Lord of Waters!
He raises his hand towards the Gate, which at once swings open before him to reveal the high Tower of Gondolin as in Scene One.
ECTHELION [in awe]
Now no further proof is needed; and even the name that he claims matters less than this clear truth: that he comes from Ulmo himself.
Turgon enters to meet Tuor with Idril on his right and Maeglin on his left.
Rejoice that ye have found the Hidden City, where all who war with Morgoth may find hope.
Gondobar, City of Stone, it is called, and the City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin, the Stone of Song and Tower of Guard.
Behold, O Lord of the City of Stone, I am bidden by the one who makes deep music in the abyss, and who knows the minds of elves and men: the Days of Release draw nigh. Therefore I have been brought to you, to bid you number your hosts and prepare for battle; for the time is ripe.
That I cannot do; for I will not adventure my people against the fires of Morgoth.
Hear the words of the Lord of Waters! The Curse of Mandos hastens to its fulfilment, and all the works of the Eldar shall perish. Abandon therefore this fair and mighty city that you have built, and go down to the sea.
The paths of the Sea are forgotten, and the highways faded from the world. Enough of my people have gone forth into the wide waters never to return, and have perished in the deeps or wander now lost in the trackless shadows. It may come to pass that the Curse of Mandos shall find me too ere the end, and treason awake within these walls; but only then will they be in peril of fire. I have spoken.
He turns from his throne above the City and leaves. Tuor alone remains at the front and sinks slowly to his knees, weeping in despair. Idril comes forward to succour him, and Tuor looks into her eyes; but this time she does not draw back, but seizes his hands in a fervent and loving embrace. Maeglin, alone at the back of the stage, looks on with a jealous eye.
Wedding march and Scene Seven
The high Tower of Gondolin; views stretch out on all sides. Tuor and Idril, now married with a baby son Eärendil, provoking the unspoken jealousy of Maeglin, stand side by side watching the evening fall. The room stands empty; Tuor is looking to the west.
There elven lights still lingering lie
on grass more green than in gardens here,
on trees more tall that touch the sky
with swinging leaves of silver clear.
While world endures they will not die,
nor fade nor fall their timeless year,
as moon unmeasured passes by
o’er mead and mount and shining mere.
When endless eve undimmed is near,
o’er harp and chant in hidden choir
a sudden voice uprising sheer
in the wood awakes the wand’ring fire.
With wand’ring fires the woodlands fill;
in glades forever green it glows.
In a dell there dreaming niphredil
as star awakened gleaming grows,
and ever-murmuring musics spill;
for there the fount immortal flows,
its water white leaps down the hill
by silver stairs. It singing goes
to the field of the unfading rose
where, breathing on the growing briar,
the wind beyond the world’s end blows
to living flame the wand’ring fire.
The wand’ring fire with quickening flame
of living light illumines clear
that land unknown by mortal name
beyond the shadows dark and drear
and waters wide no ship may tame.
To haven none his hope may win
through starless night his way to steer.
Uncounted leagues it lies from here,
in wind on beaches blowing free
’neath cliffs of carven crystal sheer
the foam there flow’rs upon the Sea.
O Shore beyond the Shadowy Sea!
O Land where still the Valar be!
O Haven where my heart would be!
The waves still beat upon thy bar,
the white birds wheel; there flowers the Tree!
Again I glimpse them long afar
when, rising West of West, I see
beyond the world the wayward star,
than beacons bright in Gondobar
more fair and keen, more clear and high.
O Star, that shadow may not mar!
nor ever darkness doom to die.
They embrace deeply. Slowly the light fades and total darkness covers the scene.
Total darkness still. In that darkness are heard two voices.
Voice of MAEGLIN
I am Maeglin, son of Eöl who had to wife Aredhel sister of Turgon, the King of Gondolin.
Voice of MORGOTH
What is that to me?
Voice of MAEGLIN
Much is it to you; for if you slay me, be it speedily or slowly, you will lose great tidings concerning the City of Stone that you would rejoice to hear.
Sudden light falls on the face of Maeglin, possessed with a sharp eagerness. Slowly this too fades .
The high Tower of Gondolin is once again revealed. The whole of the force of Gondolin is assembled. Turgon stands on the steps of his throne with Idril and Tuor below on his right hand, Maeglin below on his left, and Ecthelion and Voronwë below again. All stand looking at the starlight gleaming on the mountains, and watch towards the east for the first glow of sunrise.
Ilu Ilúvatar en kárë eldain The Father made the world
i fírimoin For Elves and Mortals
ar antaróta mannar And he gave it into the hands
Valion. of the Lords.
Númessier. They are in the West.
Eldain er kárier Ithil, For Elves they made the Moon,
nan hildin Úranor. but for Men the red Sun:
Toi írimar! which are beautiful.
Ilquainen antar annar To all they gave in measure
lestanen Ilúvatáren. the gifts of Ilúvatar.
VORONWË, MAEGLIN, ECTHELION and TURGON
Ilu vanya, fanya, eari, The world is fair, the sky, the
imar, ar ilqua ímen. seas, the earth, and all that is in them.
Írima ye Gondobar. Lovely is Gondobar.
IDRIL, TUOR, MAEGLIN, VORONWË, ECTHELION and TURGON
Nan úye sére indoninya But my heart resteth not
símen, ullume; here for ever;
ten sí ye tielma, yéva for here is ending, and there
tiel are inarquelion; will be an End and fading;
írë ilqua yéva nótina when all is counted and all
hostainiéva, yallume; is numbered at last,
ananta úva táre fárea, but yet it will not be enough,
ufárea! not enough.
Man táre antáva nin What will the Father, O
Ilúvatar, Ilúvatar Father, give me
enyárë tar i tyel, írë in that day beyond end when
Anarinya queluva? my Sun faileth?
Suddenly a red light, as of flames, erupts upon the scene. But it comes not from the direction of the sunrise but from the north.
Morgoth is upon us!
At once all flee hastily to gather arms. Turgon remains alone upon his throne with Idril and Tuor at his side. Maeglin alone stands apart and brooding.
TURGON [pale and shaken]
Evil have I brought upon the City of the Flower of the Plain in despite of Ulmo, and now he leaves me to wither in the fire.
Great is the fall of Gondolin.
Gondolin stands yet, and Ulmo will not suffer it to perish!
Hope is no more in my heart for the City, but the Children of the One shall not be worsted for ever.
Many of the people re-enter, fully armed.
Fight not against doom, O my people! Seek those who may safety in flight, if there be yet time; but let Tuor have your loyalty.
Thou art King!
Yet no blow will I strike more. Let Tuor be your guide and chief. But I will not leave my City; I will burn with it rather.
Lord, who are we if you perish?
If I am King, obey my words; and dare not parley further with my commands!
Here then will I make my stand, if Turgon goes not forth!
He rushes down with many of the others and noises of battle are heard offstage. Turgon slowly advances towards the highest point of the Tower, and stands looking down on the destruction of the City. Idril makes to move after him, but Maeglin moves slowly towards her and seizes her by the arm. She turns with a look of horror and shrinks back; Tuor turning sees them, and rushes on Maeglin. There is a brief struggle. Tuor brings Maeglin to the brink of the precipice, and casts him over.
IDRIL [turns to look upwards at the unmoving Turgon, and shrieks]
Ah! woe is me, whose father awaits his doom upon his topmost Tower!
Now will I get your father hence, be it from the Halls of Angband!
My lord! my lord!
There is a sudden burst of flame from below, and Turgon falls into the abyss.
The fume of the burning, and the stream of the fair fountains withering in the flame of the dragons of the North, fell upon the vale in mournful mists.
Behind the throne the dreadful shadow of the Balrog arises. Tuor and Idril turn and flee, when suddenly through the smoke and ruin Ecthelion appears and stands alone confronting the Balrog. Suddenly he rushes forward and hurls himself towards the Spirit of Flame. With a great cry both fall to oblivion in the abyss. With the fall of the Balrog a sudden darkness descends on the scene and the fires die rapidly down.
Then a green turf came there, and a mound of yellow flowers amid the barrenness of stone, until the world was changed.
Darkness has now totally covered the scene.
The Last Ship
The shores of the Great Sea, as in Scene Four. A dim and misty day, with a shadowy boat seen in the distance. A now aged Tuor and Idril stand alone by the shore.
I know a window in a western tower
that opens on celestial seas;
from wells of dark behind the stars
there ever blows a keen unearthly breeze.
Its feet are washed by waves that never rest.
There silent boats go by into the West
all piled and twinkling in the dark
with orient fire in many a hoarded spark
that divers won
in waters of the rumoured sun.
DISTANT FEMALE VOICES
Man kenuva fáne kirya Who shall see a white ship
Métima hrestallo kira, leave the last shore,
i fairi néke the pale phantoms
ringa súmaryasse in her cold bosom
ve maiwi yaimië? like gulls wailing?
There sometimes throbs below a silver harp,
touching the heart with sudden music sharp;
or far beneath the mountains high and sheer
the voices of grey sailors echo clear
afloat amid the shadows of the world
in oarless ships and with their canvas furled,
chanting a farewell and a solemn song;
for wide the sea is, and the voyage long.
DISTANT FEMALE VOICES
Man tiruva fána kirya, Who shall heed a white ship,
wilwarin wilwa, vague as a butterfly,
ëar-kelumessen in the flowing sea
rámainen elvië, on wings like stars,
ëar falastala, the sea surging,
winga hlápula the foam blowing,
rámar sisílala, the wings shining,
kale fifírula? and the light failing?
The shadowy ship draws close into the shore. Tuor embraces Idril, and enters the ship. At once through the mists the ship sets sail into the Ocean and slowly draws away as Idril stands alone looking after it.
O happy mariner, upon a journey far
beyond grey islands far from Gondobar
to those great portals on the final shores
where faraway constellate fountains leap
and, dashed against Night’s dragon-headed doors
in foam of stars, fall foaming in the deep!
DISTANT MALE VOICES
Man hlavula rávëa sure Who shall hear the wind
ve tauri lillassië, roaring like leaves of forests,
ninqui karkar yarra the white rocks snarling
isilme ilkalasse, in the moon gleaming,
isilme píkalasse, in the moon failing,
isilme lantalasse in the moon falling
ve loikolíkuma: like a corpse-candle:
raumo narrua, the storm rumbling,
undume rúma? the abyss moving?
While I look out alone behind the moon
imprisoned in the white and windy tower,
you bide no moment and await no hour
but go with solemn song and harpers’ tune
through the dark shadows and the shadowy seas
to the lost land of the Two Trees,
whose fruit and flower are Moon and Sun,
where light of the earth is ended and begun.
DISTANT MALE VOICES
Man kenuva lumbor ahosta Who shall see the clouds gather,
menel akúna the heavens bending
ruxal’ ambonnar, on crumbling hills,
ëar amortala, the sea heaving,
undume hákala, the abyss yawning,
enwina lúme the old darkness
elenillor pella behind the stars
atalantëa mindonnar? upon fallen towers?
Great lights begin the shine through the mists, as of a shower of golden water.
You follow Eärendil without rest,
the shining mariner beyond the West
who passed the mouth of night, and launched his bark
upon the seas of everlasting dark.
Man tiruva rákina kirya Who shall heed a broken ship
ondolisse morne on the green rocks
nu fanyare rúkina, under red skies,
anar púrëa tihta a bleared sun blinking
axor ilkalannar on bones gleaming
métim’ auresse? in the last morning?
IDRIL and UNSEEN VOICES
Here only long afar, in tears of pain,
I glimpse the flicker of the golden rain
that falls forever on the outer seas
beyond the country of the shining Trees.
Man kenuva métim’ andúne? Who shall see the last evening?
As the lights through the mists grow ever stronger, the curtain slowly falls.
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: Turgon, Aredhel, Idril, Eol, Maeglin, Ecthelion, Voronwe, Tuor, Ulmo and Morgoth will all be recorded using different professional singers (the only double casting is that of Eol and Voronwe, both of whom never meet in the piece and have both been recorded by Julian).
The Chorus posed a problem, our options were to either use synthetic voices, real voices synthetically multiplied, or record with a minimum of voices and present a "chamber chorus" version. Synthetic voices would sound strange against the real voices of the principal roles. Multiplied voices, whilst a valid option for some music, do not work very well with operatic voices, often not working at all. This left us with the final option of two per voice part, 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.
11/09/2017: Today our Idril/Chorus Soprano 1 came and did her first session. This means that as of today we have Idril, Eol, Ecthelion, Voronwe, Tuor and Ulmo in place. The chorus parts of Soprano 2, Alto 2, Tenor 2 and Bass 1 have been completed, with Soprano 1 added to the first triptych. So we are well over halfway in the recording process!
13/09/2017: Maeglin has now been recorded and temporarily mixed in with everyone else along with Idril. A more concerted effort with mixing will be done once all the voices are in.
02/10/2017: Idril re-takes and Chorus Soprano 1 finished today. Only four people (not including re-takes) now left to record.
05/10/2017: Tuor re-takes for "Horns of Ulmo" and general clean up of the current chorus parts.
25/11/2017: We've been away on tour so progress has unfortunately been slow. Today the re-takes on the parts of Voronwe and Tuor are now completed.
04/01/2018: Clean up of the "Horns of Ulmo" and following scene. This page updated with character list, cast to be added upon completion of the project.
07/01/2018: Chorus Tenor 1 recorded, cleaned up and mixed in today. Only three people left to record!
01/02/2018: This afternoon was spent wonderfully with PCG working through the second two acts balancing the "orchestra". A few large sections of the piece are now complete except for mastering.
02/02/2018: Morgoth and Chorus Bass 2 recorded today.
03/02/2018: Morgoth and Chorus Bass 2 mixed in. Only two people left to record!
10/02/2018: A few small re-takes of Chorus Bass 1 and Voronwe to clean up glitches.
16/02/2018: Some clean up, from Paul's notes, of the Orchestral parts to the first half of the piece.
03/03/2018: The adverse weather in our area has meant we have had to cancel recording sessions, to reschedule in a few week's time around our work schedules.
10/04/2018: Aredhel and Chorus Alto 1 recorded today. Only Turgon left to be recorded.
15/04/2018: Morning spent mixing and mastering the entire work.
23/04/2018: Turgon recorded today in every scene except the hymn in Scene 9. The rest to be recorded in a couple of days along with mixing, edits and notes from Paul. The end of the recording process is in sight!
25/04/2018: Turgon recording complete! Now to mixing and editing.
26/04/2018: Evening spent mixing and working through Paul's Orchestral notes. Synopsis and cast added above.
07/05/2018: More mixing and clean up done today in preparation for the next meeting with Paul later this week.
10/05/2018: Afternoon spent with Paul finalising the mix of Gondolin - a few notes, a couple of minor re-takes and Gondoln will be complete.
31/05/2018: Mastering has begun, still waiting on a couple of re-takes.
07/06/2018: Libretto added to this page. More news to come shortly.
04/07/2018: Barring any last minute tweaks Recording and Mastering is now complete.
07/07/2018: Afternoon spent with Paul locking down the Master. Very exciting news coming soon, pleased keep an eye on here and our social media feeds...
03/08/2018: Updates to this page including press release, cover art and audio samples.
20/08/2018: Pre-orders now available! Please click on the above link. iTunes and Amazon links to follow upon release on the 1st September.
01/09/2018: Now released! Please order using the link at the top of this page.