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Paul Corfield Godfrey's
"Musical Chapters from The Hobbit after the mythology of JRR Tolkien"
Demo Recording

For many years the Tolkien Estate has refused to allow any musical treatment of the works of the author which employed his own words. Now they have agreed to make a concession in respect of the music of Paul Corfield Godfrey, whose cycle of “epic scenes from The Silmarillion” was finally completed in 2023 with the issue of a ten-CD series of recordings from Volante Opera and Prima Facie Records.

From a young age Paul Corfield Godfrey began adapting The Hobbit and subsequently composed the music to be performed over two evenings.  He attempted in the 1970s to gain the rights from Rayner Unwin for the work to be performed or recorded but was at that point denied.  The work was completed but remained fallow for many years whereupon, unfortunately, sections of it became lost. Upon completion of Musical Chapters from The Lord of the Rings Paul revisited the work, reworking parts of it to thematically match his cycles of The Silmarillion  and The Lord of the Rings and recomposing the lost sections.

The work is now, once again, complete and the rights have been secured with the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins for us to record and release a Complete Demo Recording of the work to sit alongside our releases of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.

Work on this recording is happening alongside our work of The Lord of the Rings where characters that appear in both cycles are recording their parts simultaneously so that the casting in continuous.  Once work is completed on The Lord of the Rings this cycle will become our main focus and we expect a release in 2026.

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

The Chapters

The work is divided up into "Chapters", which are broken down as follows:

The Hobbit, Part I - Over Hill and Under Hill

Chapter 1: The Unexpected Party (45 minutes)

Chapter 2: Riddles in the Dark (41 minutes)

Chapter 3: Queer Lodgings (25 minutes)

The Hobbit, Part II - Fire and Water

Chapter 4: Flies and Spiders (33 minutes)

Chapter 5: The Gathering of the Clouds (38 minutes)

Chapter 6: The Clouds Burst (51 minutes)

The Cast

Cast members will be added once they have completed recording their roles.

For performer biographies please click on the tab at the top of the page

HOBBITS:

Bilbo Baggins: Huw Llywelyn

Gollum:

WIZARDS AND OTHER ELEMENTALS:

Gandalf the Grey: Philip Lloyd-Evans

Gwaihir: Rosie Hay

Landroval: Emma Mary Llewellyn

Beorn:

The Thrush:

DWARVES:

Thorin Oakenshield: Julian Boyce

Fili:

Kili: Simon Crosby Buttle

Dwalin:

Balin:

Dori: Alastair Moore

Nori: Jasey Hall

Ori:  Gareth Long

Oin:

Gloin:

Bifur: Peter Wilman

Bofur: Howard Kirk

Bombur:

Dain, Lord of the Iron Hills: Jasey Hall

RACE OF MEN:

Bard:

Master of Lake Town:

1st Soldier of Lake Town: Peter Wilman

2nd Soldier of Lake Town:

ELVES:

Elrond:

Glorfindel:

Thranduil:

Galion: Jasey Hall

Elven Captain:

1st Elven Boatman:

2nd Elven Boatman: Simon Crosby Buttle

3rd Elven Boatman: Peter Wilman

4th Elven Boatman: Alastair Moore

5th Elven Boatman: Gareth Long

6th Elven Boatman:

FORCES OF EVIL:

William:

Bert:  Jasey Hall

Tom: Alastair Moore

Goblin King: Simon Crosby Buttle

Goblin Captain:

Goblin Slave Driver:

1st Spider: Rosie Hay

2nd Spider: Emma Mary Llewellyn

3rd Spider: Francesca Saracino

4th Spider: Sophie Yelland

Smaug:

CHORUS:

Soprano: Emma Mary Llewellyn

Mezzo: Carolyn Jackson/Helen Greenaway

Tenor: Simon Crosby Buttle

Bass: Julian Boyce

Synopsis

PART I - OVER HILL AND UNDER HILL

 

1             AN UNEXPECTED PARTY

Scene One          In the peaceful land of the Shire, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins is sitting outside his front door smoking a morning pipe when the wizard Gandalf arrives, searching for someone to participate in an ‘adventure’ that he is organising. The flustered and panic-stricken hobbit stammers out his refusal, but allows himself to be pressured into issuing an invitation to call for tea the next day.

Scene Two          Bilbo is however horrified when a collection of twelve dwarves arrives before Gandalf even appears, including Thorin Oakenshield the exiled King under the Lonely Mountain. The dwarves sing of their longing for their homeland, and Thorin explains how they were dispossessed by the dragon Smaug who stole their treasure. Bilbo allows himself to be enticed into joining their quest.

Scene Three       Out in the wilds, the company are dismayed when Gandalf seemingly abandons them and they fall victim to three marauding trolls who capture and propose to eat them. They are only saved when Gandalf returns and foments arguments among the trolls until they are caught and petrified by the rising sun. In their cave the dwarves find two Elven swords, and Bilbo took takes a knife from the store.                     

 

2             RIDDLES IN THE DARK

Prelude                A chorus of elves in the trees welcomes the company to the valley of Rivendell.

 

Scene One          Here Elrond, the master of the house, determines that the swords are heirlooms from the fall of Gondolin, and predicts that they will be needed as the dwarves cross the mountains.

 

Scene Two          In the mountains, the company take refuge from a storm in a cave; but the wakeful Bilbo dreams that a crack has opened in the rock-wall only to awaken as orcs emerge to capture the company. Gandalf alone escapes by the use of fire, but the dwarves are taken down to goblin-town.

 

Scene Three       Here the Great Goblin flies into a rage at the sight of Thorin’s sword, but is killed by Gandalf who leads the company away into the tunnels in search of escape. Bilbo alone is abandoned, and searching the ground he finds a ring which he puts in his pocket.

 

Scene Four         Bilbo comes to the roots of the mountains, and encounters Gollum who challenges him to a game of riddles promising to show him the way out if his loses. But when Bilbo asks what it is he has in his pocket, Gollum is unable to answer; and it is only when he searches for his ring that he realises that it is missing. In his conversation he reveals that the ring confers invisibility on its wearer, and Bilbo is able to follow him unseen as he rushes to intercept the hobbit’s escape.

 

Scene Five          Bilbo has the opportunity to kill Gollum, but moved by pity he refrains and dodges past, pursued by Gollum’s curses. He also manages to elude the orc guards and escape from the tunnels.

 

Scene Six             On the mountainside the dwarves and Gandalf are arguing about what they should do to find the missing hobbit, when Bilbo joins them; but he says nothing of the ring. Wolves are heard howling, and the company escape up the trees as orcs join in pursuit singing in derision. It is only when eagles descend from the mountains that the company are able to escape.

 

Scene Seven      The eagles agree to carry the company away from the mountains towards the east and further on their journey.        

 

3             QUEER LODGINGS

Scene One          The eagles deposit the company at the crossing of the Great River, where Gandalf reveals that he will have to leave them on other ‘urgent business’ once they reach the forest of Mirkwood. In the meantime, he will take them to find assistance.

 

Scene Two          Gandalf and Bilbo arrive at the house of Béorn, a skin changer, who gradually accepts the presence of the dwarves as they tell him of their adventures in the mountains and the killing of the Great Goblin. He will lend them horses to take them to Mirkwood, and advises them on the path they should take through the forest.

 

Interlude             The dwarves sing a song regarding the wind blowing around the Lonely Mountain and the lair of Smaug the dragon.

 

Scene Three       Arriving at the borders of Mirkwood, Gandalf leaves the dwarves and the hobbit to make their own way through the forest.  

 

PART II - FIRE AND WATER

4             FLIES AND SPIDERS

Scene One          In the forest the dwarves see distant lights and are drawn to an Elven feast; but when they attempt to seek help they find themselves in sudden darkness and are lost. Bilbo is left alone once more, but manages to kill as spider that seeks to capture him with his sword which he now calls Sting.

 

Scene Two          He finds the dwarves tied up in the spiders’ larder, but by mocking the spiders he manages to draw them away after him in pursuit – only for the dwarves then to be captured by the Wood Elves.

 

Scene Three       The Elvenking interrogates first Thorin and then Balin, but in unable to discover from either what their errand is in the forest. He orders that the dwarves should be imprisoned until they provide information, but Bilbo using his ring of invisibility contrives to slip in unseen.

 

Scene Four         In the dungeons the captain of the guard and the butler are celebrating when Bilbo manages to steal the keys and release the dwarves.  He packs them into barrels to be conveyed away down the river, and the Elven porters gaily despatch these into the water.

 

Scene Five          Arriving in Lake Town, the company are greeted by Bard as the leader of the guards are brought to the Master, who offers them assistance despite his scepticism that they will ever contrive to defeat Smaug.

 

5             THE GATHERING OF THE CLOUDS

Scene One          Thorin standing on the slopes of the Lonely Mountains searches for the hidden door into the caverns below, but it is Bilbo who led by the singing of a thrush actually finds the entrance.

 

Scene Two          Descending into the heart of the Mountain, the invisible Bilbo is able to engage in conversation with Smaug, discover the weakness in his armoured scales, and elude capture, but not before the dragon has realised that the raiders must have received help from the men of Lake Town.

 

Scene Three       Bilbo escapes back to the dwarves on the mountainside, and tells the dwarves of his discovery of Smaug’s vulnerability overheard by the thrush; but the dragon sets off to Lake Town in search of revenge.

 

Scene Four         Bard rouses the archers of Lake Town to resist the marauding dragon, but it is not until the thrush tells him of Smaug’s weak point that his arrow is able to find a mark and kill the beast. The folk of Lake Town, led by their Master, lament the destruction of their dwellings, but Bard declares that he will seek to re-establish his ancestral kingdom of Dale in the shadow of the Mountain which he now expects to find deserted.

 

Scene Five          Bilbo persuades the dwarves that they can only escape through the lower caverns of the mountain, despite the peril of the dragon. Reluctantly they agree.

 

Scene Six             Entering the dragon’s den once more, Bilbo finds the Arkenstone, the heart of the Mountain and the most treasured jewel in the hoard, and he is clad by Thorin in dwarvish mail. The thrush re-appears to tell them of the death of the dragon, but warns them that others beside themselves now seek to gain possession of the treasure: not only Bard seeking redress for the damage suffered by the Lake-men, but also the Elves of Mirkwood. Thorin sends the bird to seek aid from his cousin Dáin, and prepares for a siege.

 

6             THE CLOUDS BURST

Scene One          The dwarves are singing triumphantly of their regained kingdom, when Balin enters to tell them that the armies of both Bard and the Elvenking have now arrived. In parley with them Thorin refuses to negotiate under duress, and Bilbo is left on watch. When Bard approaches surreptitiously, Bilbo gives him the Arkenstone to aid in his bargaining.

 

Scene Two          The following morning Thorin remains obdurate until Bard offers the Arkenstone in exchange for reparations; and when he discovers that it was Bilbo who has given them the jewel, his fury is only averted by the sudden appearance of Gandalf who intercedes on behalf of the hobbit. Dáin now arrives at the head of an army of dwarves, and suddenly conflict erupts as the assembled forces are attacked by orcs and goblins also in seek of plunder. Pitched battle rages, and Thorin is severely wounded in the struggle. Bilbo, seeing the eagles arrive in the distance, is stunned by a falling stone.

 

Scene Three       Gandalf finds the unconscious hobbit on the battlefield, and takes him to Thorin with whom he is reconciled before the dwarf-king dies. Dáin is now proclaimed as King under the Mountain as the body of Thorin is solemnly interred.

 

Scene Four         Returning to the rejoicing Elves in Rivendell, Gandalf and Bilbo are hailed by Elrond and the latter is designated as an Elf-friend. They listen to the Elves singing as the night falls, and in a visionary final scene Bilbo is seen returning to his home enriched by his experiences.

Demo Recording Information

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

The solo parts will all be recorded using different professional singers with some doubling.

The Chorus in this work will be recorded two per voice part.  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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