The Crowder Requiem Review: Tract

The song expressing the text of the Tract is preceded by the instrumental interlude, “Reprise #1.” Several seconds of very quiet, hollow ringing separate this track from the previous “Let Me Feel You Shine,” grouping it with the Tract. “Reprise” means that it must be recycling earlier musical material: in this case, it’s a minor, string quartet reworking of the piano accompaniment for “Oh Great God, Give Us Rest.” Listen to the piano in the first minute or so of this song. You should hear the same contour in the violins of the first reprise. The reprisal refocuses the album on the theme of rest, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

“Reprise #1” shifts straight into “Blessedness of Everlasting Light,” whose title is a direct quote from the translated Tract. The text of the song is a perfect echo of the Tract, with pleas for God to forgive sins and spare us, and hope for the blessedness of eternal light. The song is a waltz, which is unusual for a rock song. The interludes between chorus and verses include a paraphrase of the Gregorian chant “Dies Irae,” which means “Day of Wrath.” The violin and chimes in the interludes echo the opening phrase of the Dies Irae. We have not reached the Dies Irae of the Crowder Band album; this is a foreshadowing, and a clever use of one of the most recognizable chant melodies.

We’ll also touch on the two musical interludes preceding the Sequence. “The Sound of Light” features an acoustic guitar solo over a synth pad, simple, pure, but with other sounds rising out of the texture: a sound like carriage wheels on cobblestones; whispery, howling sounds like wind; and changes in the texture of the synth. It transitions smoothly into the “Interlude,” which sounds Romantic-era. Lisztian piano cascades couple with a violin or viola playing the same melody the guitar played in “The Sound of Light.”  The “Sound of Light” violin theme gives way to piano alone, in a minor key. It’s the peace before the storm of the Day of Wrath.

(c) 2010-- click to see the source of this beautiful photograph.

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