Band: URUK HAI
Title: Quenta Silmarillion
Reason for update: Cassette re-issues of this long-deleted demo. There are effectively two versions of the reissue, both coming out in 2010: The first is a limited edition tape on Hexenreich Records (Estonia), cat ref HXNRCH027, with the full demo on both sides in a two-sided colour-inlay. The second version splits the song in to two parts, and was issued as part of the Split Series on Wulfrune Worxx (France) with 'Part 1' (cat ref WW98) backed with Hrefnesholt's "Fuchtelmandl" and 'Part 2' (cat ref WW100) backed with Hrefnesholt's "Dunklmoos" demo.
Although this release has been covered historically in Honour and Darkness the actual meaning of the title has not been discussed, so let's immediately put that particular issue to rest.
'Quenta Silmarillion' literally means 'Tale of the Silmarils' and is the third part of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (the longest part in the book, consisting of more than twenty chapters). Quenta Silmarillion deals with the history of Arda following the entrance of the Ainur as the Valar. The initial shape of Arda, chosen by the Valar, was of a symmetrical continent lit by two lamps: one in the continent's north, and one in the south. However the lamps were destroyed by the vicious Melkor. Arda was again darkened, and the lamps' fall spoiled the perfect symmetry of Arda's surface. Two main continents were created that are of concern to the story: Aman on the far West, and Middle-earth to the East, over the Great Ocean.
Following this, Melkor hid himself from the Valar in an enormous fortress, Utumno. He also surrounded himself with horrible beasts, many of them Maiar in the form of fell animals, known as Balrogs. Balrogs were to remain his most faithful servants and soldiers ever after. The Valar then made for themselves a home at the utmost West, upon Aman. Then the Valar began to reshape Arda yet again, making it habitable and preparing it for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men. However everywhere they went, Melkor followed them spoiling the fruit of their labour and damaging their achievements. Thus, the whole Arda was marred by Melkor's anger, envy and lust of power.
Utumno did not protect Melkor, however. He was taken prisoner and sentenced to three ages (about 9,000 years) of imprisonment. Utumno was laid bare; but all its evil was not destroyed. Before Melkor was taken captive, Arda witnessed the Awakening of the Elves, the first-born Children of Ilùvatar. Elves are described as anthropomorphic beings, who, however, are immortal and possess many virtues (beauty, health, ability to communicate with nature), beyond the share of Men. The Elves were met by the Valar and invited to join them in the West; however Melkor managed to reach some of the Elves even earlier. It is said that from them he bred the hideous race of Orcs whom both he and his follower Sauron used as soldiers.
At some time between the imprisonment of Melkor and his release, the Valar created the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, which filled Arda with light. There arose a mighty Elf among the house of Noldor, named Fëanor. Fëanor was skilled in crafts and his greatest achievement has been the making of three wonderful jewels, the Silmarils. The Silmarils contained the light of the Two Trees of Valinor (as the land of the Valar was known). By that time Melkor's captivity was over but through a vicious design he managed to destroy the Two Trees and to steal the Silmarils. Then he fled eastward, to the Middle-earth pursued by the furious Fëanor.
One Silmaril became a bright star; a second Silmaril was sunk in the water of the Great Ocean, and the third was lost in the depths of the Earth. Thus no trace remained on Middle-earth of the Two Trees of Valinor; but their influence lived on in the elements: air, water and fire/earth.
Given that history, you can see how the final demo became a pretty lengthy piece of music! However, the origin of the 'Quenta Silmarillion' release is also convoluted as past posts have alluded to. There exists an instrumental with a similar name as the final song on the "Lieder Aus Mittelerde" tape (the 4.26 version 'Quenta Silmarillion (Outro)' version) but also a 44.18 version which was on the self-titled "Hrossharsgrani" demo tape , both recorded in 1999. This version was extended to 61.13 in a third iteration of the piece on the demo "Ea", although these two longer versions never actually made it onto a 'proper' release as such, since both the self-titled release and "Ea" were one-off versions recorded for Hugin's friends only.
The track finally was issued to the public on CDr by AMF Productions as an Uruk Hai song - advertised in fact as "Pagan ambient with a deep and mystic atmopshere - the first ever Uruk Hai rehearsal session" recorded between 21-27 September 1999 - and had become an epic 78.39 track. For listeners keen on well-crafted ambient soundscapes (and Nazgul would have to assume that is you, gentle reader, as you've taken the time to get this far) then musically this demo should be right up your street. Effectively out of print at AMF for years (some CDr copies very occasionally surface, at a rate of about 1 every 5 years!) the very welcome reissue on two labels gives an excellent opportunity for the Uruk Hai fan to finally get his or her ears around the piece.
The Hexenreich version is now sold-out at the label, so the two parts on Wulfrune Worxx are your most likely source for this release (and you'll definitely benefit from the fact you'll get a Hrefnesholt demo on the reverse side too) and your best starting point to buy one would be Hugin's Uruk Hai Facebook page.
Incidentally, Nazgul apologises for the quality of the photo for the Hexenreich edition - on unfolding the inlay for the photographs the paper tore straight up the centre and proved to be as thin and delicate as tracing paper! The inlay is therefore literally held together at the bottom for the picture to be taken, and is consequently not the best image ever displayed on Honour and Darkness! The inlay is signed in gold pen on one side by Hugin, and on the other shows wording from Tolkien's novel. The lush green colours of the inlay work very nicely in fact, and despite Nazgul's ham-fisted attempts to destroy it still look very evocative.