Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Road Goes Ever On and On

While contemplating the Tolkien exhibit at the JP Morgan Library, it occurred to me that one of the most important songs of Lord of the Rings fits quite well with the Tallis Canon. I doubt it was at all what he had in mind or if he would have even approved, but he might, Mr. Frodo, he might.  It has a simplicity which can be sung solo, or in a tavern group. Since Tolkien's time it has become strongly associated with another fantasy novel by a Christian author strongly influenced by him, Madeleine L'Engle. Lastly, the musical form of a round carries with it a "there and back again" feeling appropriate to the lyrics.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


Grim said...

On the rare occasion that we have video of him singing them, they always sound different that I had in my head. It's a fine and beautify tradition, to which we have limited access. Good for you for trying to find it out.

james said...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I liked Tolkien's reading, though it's not a strength of his. The music was very clearly 1950s pianist style, and sounds completely inappropriate now.

I wrote some songs about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the 1980s, rather vaguely envisioning them in a musical. I long ago let them go, as I did 90% of my music, but what I recall was about 50% things that would still sound okay, 50% music that reeked of my 60s-70s folksinger era and would be embarrassing now.

I prefer my choice of the Tallis Canon even more now.