Songs from Rivendell

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Filk Songbook
Title: Songs from Rivendell (The Rivendell Suite)
Publisher:
Editor(s): Marion Zimmer Bradley
Date(s): 1969
Medium: print
Size: chap book
Subject: Tolkien
External Links:

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Songs from Rivendell is a 1969 filk songbook by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It contains music and arrangements for several poems from the novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien [1]

The fanwork, according to a note in its inclusion in The Middle-earth Songbook in 1976 (as "The Rivendell Suite") says it was copyrighted in 1969.

Notes from it 1976 Publication

The filks were printed in The Middle-earth Songbook with this introduction:

The Rivendell Suite is a Tolkien set of filks by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The music is by Bradley, the words from "TLotR (mostly)."

In Mythopoeic Society circles at least, the Rivendell Suite comprises some of the most famous musical settings for Tolkien's poems; but surprisingly it has not been made available up to now in any fan-publication. As originally written, the Suite contained the following pieces in the following order:

1. Song of the Eldar in Exile (O Elbereth Gilthoniel") 2. Elvish Lullabye 3. Hobbit Walking Song (Roads Go Ever, Ever On) U. In Western Lands 3. Children's Song from Dale (The King Beneath the Mountain) 6. The Sea-songs of Legolas 7. Galadriel's Lament

This is the version you may have heard sung at conventions a few years ago. There was also something called the Rivendell Valley Song (O Where Are You Going) which was dropped from the suite since it was written for chorus and cannot be sung well individually. ("It was not," says Marion, "very good music anyway.")

At the suggestion of the author, we do not include the Sea-songs in this ver sion of the Suite, because they are very difficult, with extremely complex parlando rhymes, and demand a lot more technique than the others, Marion comments, "They are, I suppose, 'art songs' or 'leider', while the other songs were all conceived in the manner of British folk music," Instead, at Marion's suggestion, we substitute the Lament for Boromir, a duet arranged for bass and alto.

This Suite is Copyright 1969 by Marion Zimmer Bradley, All rights reserved, including public performance for profit.

A 1991 Recording

In 1991, Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover were asked by Elisabeth Waters to arrange, perform, and record "The Rivendell Suite" on cassette as a birthday present for Marion Bradley. They recorded:
...six of Marion's settings, plus three of Kristoph's, and Marion was very pleased with the results. Only two copies were ever made of that original cassette. Then, Kristoph and I got to thinking how it might be a good idea to set some more of the songs and see if we could get permission from the Tolkien Estate to release the recording commercially. [2]
In 1991, Bradley mentioned her daughter has given her a tape of the Rivendell Suite "a group of songs I wrote some years ago to words by Tolkien." [3] Bradley wrote:
On the good side of the news, my daughter Moira is earning her living with harp-and-folksong gigs. Some of you saw her at Mythcon, where she sang some exquisite music. Moira is doing very well now, and my best present this Christmas was a tape of the Rivendell Suite (a group of songs I wrote some years ago to words by Tolkien), recorded by my foster son Kristoph Klover, on which Moira sang Galadriel's song to her own harp arrangement. Most of the songs were arranged by Kristoph's wife Margaret Davis, who did truly beautiful arrangements. I have VERY talented children. [4]
In 1996, the project was authorized by the Tolkien Estate, and they were granted a license to produce 1,000 cassettes. The title was changed to "The Starlit Jewel", because the Tolkien Estate had forbidden them to use the title "The Rivendell Suite".
Well, it all started due to our relationship with Marion Zimmer Bradley. Kristoph and I both knew her personally; she actually considered Kristoph her foster son. Marion had set seven of Tolkien's poems to music in 1969 and called them "The Rivendell Suite." In 1991 we were asked by Marion's secretary if we would arrange, perform, and record "The Rivendell Suite" on cassette as a birthday present for Marion. We recorded six of Marion's settings, plus three of Kristoph's, and Marion was very pleased with the results. Only two copies were ever made of that original cassette. Then, Kristoph and I got to thinking how it might be a good idea to set some more of the songs and see if we could get permission from the Tolkien Estate to release the recording commercially. Then followed four years of communications with the Estate's lawyer, until we were finally granted a limited license to produce and sell 1000 cassettes. We were forbidden to call it "The Rivendell Suite," so we titled it "The Starlit Jewel," which was released on tape in 1996. In 1999, we re-petitioned the Estate for further permission to make 2000 CDs, which was granted. "The Starlit Jewel" CD is a much superior product to the tape; in the interval between recordings we upgraded our recording equipment substantially, to a computer-based state-of-the-art system, so we remixed and remastered the original recording and rerecorded several of the songs as well. [5]

References

  1. MZB Newsletter
  2. interview with Margaret Davis for Strange Horizons, 19 November 2001
  3. Darkover Newsletter #54 (September 1991)
  4. Bradley writes this in "Darkover Newsletter" #55 (December 1991)
  5. THE STARLIT JEWEL; archive link