Territories: Track 11 (4:00)
Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
"There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! In a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'
Robert Browning, 1855
"When a composer comes along that invigorates the genre with a unique voice, it is cause for excitement and enthusiasm. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came' by Dennis Downing accomplishes this. He is really hitting his stride." - Bill Wright, Penny Whistle Androids, Gods of Music
As evening approaches, teetering on the edge between twilight and darkness, you crest a ridge. The sky overhead has lost all shades of blue, and is now a deep purple, the color of an old bruise. Squinting in the rapidly fading light, you see it; a field stretching for miles, climbing a gentle slope of land. Standing at the top of the slope, silhouetted against the setting sun, is the Dark Tower.
The Dark Tower. A pillar of stone rising so high into the sky that you can barely discern its tip. Its base, surrounded by red, shouting roses, is formidable, yet the Tower becomes oddly graceful as it rises and tapers to a needle sharp point. Narrow windows, hardly more than slits, march about it in a rising spiral. Below the windows run an almost endless flight of stone stairs, circling up and up.
You are filled with wonder and joy. How gorgeous and strange it all is. From the top of the Tower comes a golden blast of some tremendous horn. Its sound seems to fill the world. You have reached your goal and the time has come. After all of the travels, adventures and danger that you have overcome to reach this moment, it is time to fulfill your destiny. One more test. A test that you must pass to save this, and perhaps all worlds, from becoming desolate wastelands. You must prevail.
Artist Note: Even though this song is the last track on the 'Territories' CD, it was not the last to be completed. I began work on this composition at the beginning of January 2003, exactly one year from the beginning of the 'Territories' project. My goal with this song was to leave the listener with a grand and glorious finish. Almost entirely an orchestral piece, I reached something of a mental block about half way through. At this time, a medical situation arose that put me into the hospital for 2 weeks. Though this was a bad time for me, I was able to concentrate on this song and I had the ending all mapped out in my mind by the time I was able to go home. Maybe it was the drugs. I was able to complete the piece in the first week after returning to my studio.
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