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Tolkien Ensemble

The Tolkien Ensemble

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The Tolkien Ensemble is a Danish ensemble which aims to create "the world's first complete musical interpretation of the poems and songs from The Lord of the Rings". They published four CDs from 1997 to 2005, in which all the poems and songs of The Lord of the Rings are set to music. The project was approved by both the Tolkien family and HarperCollins Publishers. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark gave permission to use her illustrations in the CD layout.

Permanent members are Caspar Reiff and Peter Hall , Signe Asmussen , Öyvind Ougaard , Katja Nielsen (double-bass), and Morten Ryelund Sørensen .

The Ensemble has toured Europe in 2007, combining their own works with soundtrack pieces from Howard Shore's soundtrack to the film trilogy as well as live narration by Christopher Lee.


Composer Caspar Reiff founded the Tolkien Ensemble in Copenhagen in autumn 1995. At that time, Caspar Reiff was studying guitar at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He formed an ensemble consisting of fellow students from the Academy and his former guitar teacher, composer and multi-musician Peter Hall , LLCM London College of Music.

The goal set by the two composers, Caspar Reiff and Peter Hall, was to create the world's first complete musical interpretation of the poems from J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece 'the Lord of the Rings', And the ensemble, which was to form the base of this vision, was named 'The Tolkien Ensemble' - an ensemble entirely devoted to the works of Tolkien.

The Tolkien Ensemble's first concert took place at Gjorslev Castle on 21 January 1996 and was followed by a number of successful concerts in Denmark. Towards the end of 1996 Caspar Reiff and Peter Hall were granted permission by the Tolkien Estate to record the first 12 songs from 'Lord of the Rings', and the very heart of the project, the recording of the music, was about to begin.

The two composers chose the young Danish conductor, Morten Ryelund as producer and this was to have a major influence on the interpretation of the music and the project as a whole. Morten Ryelund later became a full member of the Tolkien Ensemble and the ensemble was granted permission by HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to use her illustrations on the CD cover. These unique illustrations, created when she was Crown Princess of Denmark, were to become a recurrent feature on all the Tolkien Ensemble's later CD's.

The first album, An Evening in Rivendell, was released in autumn 1997 and was given outstanding reviews by the press. Then followed a number of concerts, one was in Oxford, England , where - to the delight of The Tolkien Ensemble - members of the Tolkien family were among the audience.

An Evening in Rivendell was followed by the album A Night in Rivendell , an album which contained the more sombre songs from the Lord of The Rings. On this CD The Tolkien Ensemble worked with, among others, the singers Povl Dissing, who sang the part of Gollum, Kurt Ravn and Ulrik Cold .

At this point, in the summer of 2000, The Tolkien Ensemble had reached 'cult status' among Tolkien enthusiasts all over the world, but the ensemble were still waiting for their big break-through ...

This came alongside the growing interest for The Lord of the Rings, when director Peter Jackson made a film version of Tolkien's books. At the end of 2001 the interest for Tolkien's works grew significantly throughout the world and fate willed that the Tolkien Ensemble was invited to take part in the Danish premiere of the first film in the Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Among the celebrities representing the film in Copenhagen was the legendary actor Christopher Lee, who played Saruman in the film. The Tolkien Ensemble contacted him and he agreed to take part in the ensemble's third Album At Dawn in Rivendell, partly as narrator, partly as singer of Treebeard's songs.

The cooperation with Christopher Lee combined with the growing interest for the work of Tolkien, resulted in a huge success for the ensemble's Third album. The album was released in 22 countries throughout the world, played on the radio in a great number of countries, and was given excellent reviews. The International Herald Tribune called the ensemble's music: 'Total Lord of the Rings magic!' At Dawn in Rivendell subsequently achieved great sales worldwide.

The cooperation with Christopher Lee developed to include concerts. In the autumn of 2002 Christopher Lee took part in a release concert at Tivoli Concert Hall. Then followed a major tour of, among other countries, England and Sweden, culminating in the summer of 2003 when the ensemble gave a concert in Danmark for an audience including HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and HRH Prince Henrik.

Since then the Tolkien Ensemble has continued to give concerts. In 2004 the two composers, Caspar Reiff and Peter Hall, together with Christopher Lee, took part in a major sell-out concert in Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and in 2005 The Tolkien Ensemble played at two major 'Lord of the Rings' concerts at Ledreborg Castle, Denmark where more than 22,000 people attended the concerts. Among the performers was the ensemble's new member, Nick Keir of the Scottish folk-trio The McCalmans. These concerts, performed together with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra/DR and the Danish National Chamber Choir/DR and a number of soloists, also marked the release of the fourth and last album of the series, Leaving Rivendell. Besides Christopher Lee, Nick Keir, the Danish National Chamber Orchestra/DR and the Danish National Chamber Choir/DR performed with The Tolkien Ensemble on Leaving Rivendell.

The release of the 4-CD-box marks the end of more than ten years work and, with the participation of more than 150 professional musicians, The Tolkien Ensemble finally reached their goal: the release of the Complete Songs & Poems from The Lord of the Rings with The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee.

The 4-CD-box is dedicated to the memory of J.R.R. Tolkien, to The Tolkien Society in Oxford and to the millions of people for whom The Lord of the Rings has a special place in their hearts...

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  Band members   



Name Duration Released
Song to Goldberry 00:00 2006
Song of the Elves Beyond the Sea - Galadriel's Song of Eldamar 00:00 2005
Tom Bombadil's Song 00:00 2005
Legolas' Song of the Sea 00:00 2005
Wight's Chant 00:00 2005
Eagle's Song 00:00 2005
Bregalad's Song 00:00 2005
Tom Bombadil's Song I Had an Errand There... 00:00 2005
Call to Arms of the Rohirrim 00:00 2005
Song of Durin 00:00 2005
Sam's Invocation of Elven Hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel 00:00 2005
Song of Eärendil 00:00 2005
Burial Song of Théodon 00:00 2005
Galadriel's Messages 00:00 2005
Snowmane's Epitaph 00:00 2005
Ents' Marching Song 00:00 2005
At Théoden's Death 00:00 2005
Oliphaunt 00:00 2005
Théoden's Battle Cry 00:00 2005
Malbeth the Seer's Words 05:55 11/03/2003
Ho! Tom Bombadil 00:57 11/03/2003
Warning of Winter 00:35 11/03/2003
Gandalf's Riddle of the Ents 00:25 11/03/2003
A Walking Song 02:50 11/03/2003
Song of Lebennin 05:00 11/03/2003
Song of Gondor 02:59 11/03/2003
The Bath Song 01:45 11/03/2003
Athelas 00:35 11/03/2003
Boromirs Riddle 00:34 11/03/2003
Farewell Song of Merry and Pippin 03:09 11/03/2003
Éomer's Song 02:41 11/03/2003
Treebeard's Song 04:11 11/03/2003
The Long List of the Ents, No. 1 02:17 11/03/2003
Song of Nimrodel 04:42 11/03/2003
A Drinking Song 02:46 11/03/2003
The Riddle of Strider 00:57 11/03/2003
Song in the Woods 01:44 04/2000
Lament for Boromir 08:23 04/2000
Gollums Song/Riddle 03:46 04/2000
Bilbo's Song 03:59 04/2000
A Elbereth Gilthoniel 02:09 04/2000
Frodo's Lament for Gandalf 05:46 04/2000
Lament of the Rohirrim 03:05 04/2000
Song of the Mounds of Mundborg 05:55 04/2000
Gandalf's Song of Lórien 03:13 04/2000
Lament for Théoden 09:34 04/2000
A Rhyme of Lore 02:03 04/2000
The Fall of Gil-galad 03:38 04/2000
There is an inn, a merry old inn... 04:58 30/09/1997
The Old Walking Song, The Road...,Reprise 02:41 30/09/1997
Tom Bombadil's Song, Hey dol! Merry dol! 05:40 30/09/1997
Sam's Song in the Orc-tower 05:20 30/09/1997
The Old Walking Song 04:58 30/09/1997
Galadriel's Song of Eldamar 06:10 30/09/1997
Verse of the Rings 04:06 30/09/1997
Sam's Rhyme of the Troll 05:19 30/09/1997
The Ent and the Ent-wife 07:45 30/09/1997
Elven Hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel 05:31 30/09/1997
Galadriel's Song of Eldamar, I sang of leaves 06:23 30/09/1997
Song of Beren and Lúthien 07:59 30/09/1997




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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Tolkien Ensemble", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.