A Elbereth Gilthoniel is an Elvish hymn to Varda (Elbereth) in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
There are three versions of this iambic tetrameter hymn, the first of which being the largest portion of Sindarin found in the novel:
In 1967 Donald Swann published a musical rendition in the musical score of the song cycle The Road Goes Ever On. He and Donald Elvin also recorded this song cycle on an LP record. The LP also included a recording of Tolkien reading this prayer. The Road Goes Ever On was republished in 1978 and 1993, and the recording was released as a CD in 1993. The CD contained only the song cycle (including "A Elbereth Gilthoniël"), but not Tolkien's reading of the prayer.
The BBC's 1981 radio dramatization of the Lord of the Rings included a version composed by Stephen Oliver which was released as the second track of soundtrack album, which itself is included in some commercial versions of the BBC's production.
In Peter Jackson's films The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first few lines of the poem can be heard in the movie soundtrack when Frodo Baggins, or Bilbo Baggins', respectively, enter Rivendell.
In 2006, The Tolkien Ensemble and Christopher Lee released a collection of previously released songs, Complete Songs & Poems, which included four different musical renditions of the poem, one of which marked as number III, is the complete poem sung by Signe Asmussen, a soprano.
A rendition composed by David Long with Plan 9 (David Donaldson, Steve Roche, and Janet Roddick) is briefly heard in the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where Sam and Frodo encounter "wood elves" who are singing the hymn while leaving Middle-earth. The complete song ("Passing of the Elves" / "Elvish Lament") is included in The Complete Recordings edition of the soundtrack for the film.
Australian composer Laura Bishop composed her own rendition of this elven hymn. Beginning with a solo by a soprano it then repeats with an SATB choir.
The Norwegian classical composer Martin Romberg has set the lyrics to music in his work "Eldarinwë Liri" for girls' choir, which also includes the four other poems Tolkien wrote in Elven languages. The work premiered in 2011 with the Norwegian Girls Choir and Trio Mediæval.
Ending of the song Zjawy i ludzie (Apparitions and humans) by the Polish band Armia features the phrase "O Elbereth! O Gilthoniel!"
In Tolkien's legendarium, Varda, also known as Elbereth, is one of the Valar and the highest of the "guardians". Peter Kreeft sees her as one of the clearest reflections of Roman Catholic Marian devotion in Tolkien's work. In A Elbereth Gilthoniel, Marjorie Burns sees an echo of the Marian hymn, Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star.