In Summary: Choral Interpretation of Tolkien’s Elvish Verse

Well, the summer is over and so is my project. Finally.

 

In my proposal I set out to compose a piece of choral music two to three minutes in length, using the text of one of the songs that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote into his epic novel The Lord of the Rings. All being said and done, the finished piece is just a hair over three minutes long, and the text I decided to use is known as the Ambar-metta, which translates into English as “world’s-end” or “end of the world.” It was originally quoted by Elendil, an outcast on the isle of Númenor, when he fled the island shortly before it was Sodom-and-Gommorah’d by the Valar (the gods of Middle-earth) for being full of corruption fraught by Sauron. However, Elendil and a small band of his followers were still faithful to the Valar, who took pity on them and deposited them safely on the shores of Middle-earth. The Ambar-metta was recited a second time by Aragorn, descended from Elendil after forty generations and the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor, during his coronation ceremony following the destruction of the One Ring. In both of these instances, the Ambar-metta is sung amidst a context of overwhelming grief and loss of life, and yet the words carry hope for a future brighter than the tragedies that have just occurred. I attempted to bring across this mood in my composition.

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