The Fall of Gondolin (PFCD092/093) £15.00
Paul Corfield Godfrey (2-CD set)
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 ad- justed 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.
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.
Paul Corfield Godfrey lives in Wales, studying composition and conducting with Alan Bush and David Wynne. His works as a composer include a cycle of epic scenes based on J R R Tolkien's The Silmarillion, extracts from which have been performed in Oxford. Other works have been performed in London and elsewhere throughout England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, America, Australia and New Zealand. He has appeared as a performer both on radio and television, and a number of his works have been broadcast.