Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Roden’

Solaire Records

Christopher Nosnibor

Threads of a Prayer is an immense work. Over the course of two discs and two and a half hours, Volume 1 of this two-part project finds Jeffrey Roden exploring quiet spaces, and as much as he explores spirituality, he also explores the effects of quietness and solitude in a world where life is a perpetual crescendo of noise.

The first time I played disc one was at work. I like to listen to music to drown out the inane babble of my colleagues. Due to recent cost-saving moves, my colleagues are now in closer proximity and more densely-packed than previously (which is what happens when multinational corporations decide that profits are more important than people, and close one of the main offices, condensing the workforce of three offices into two). The volume is, at times, unbearable, and music helps to filter out the background racket and therefore helps me to focus. This was not the result with Threads of a Prayer, which is, in the most part, so quiet as to be barely audible.

There are long periods of silence, or near silence. Such silence feels somehow daring, but also creates a remarkable atmospheric intensity. In these moments, in the right listening conditions, it is possible to cast off the clamourous hum of the world, the everyday, other people. These are periods for reflection, for contemplation. A dolorous single note played on piano resonates, booming, on the third of ’12 Prayers: One’. These, it feels, are prayers offered in dark times, under testing circumstances, but always with a ray of hope twinkling.

Roden’s piano playing demonstrates remarkable focus and restraint, not just in the spaces between the individual notes, but the attention to the way in which the soft passages are played with such delicacy, flickering flourishes as gentle as a butterfly’s wing, and with a natural grace seemingly finer than the blunt tools of human hands are capable.

The presentation is outstanding: the design is sleek, discreet, classically understated. The card stock which houses the jewel case and magnificently produced thirty-six page booklet is uncommonly heavy, and the high level thought that has gone into both the contents and layout of the booklet is clearly apparent. Make no mistake, this is a true work of art. The presentation gives a sense of occasion, of importance. For all its duration and the meticulous nature of the packaging, the pieces which make up the work are remarkable not for their scale or grandeur, but for their hushed introspection.

 

Jeffrey Roden – Threads of a Prayer – Volume 1

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