Suspiria De Profundis: Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow LP by Thomas De Quincey

Distributed title
Composer Chris Bozzone
Artist Zakuro Aoyama
Label Cadabra Records
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Product information
Liner notes J. Blake Fichera
Packaging details Printed on a deluxe heavy weight tip-on jacket
Vinyl color Transparent Red Vinyl
Vinyl weight 150 Gram

It's only too appropriate that Laurence R. Harvey's reading of “Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow,” from Thomas De Quincey's Suspiria De Profundis, begins with the tolling of bells. De Quincey's words speak simultaneously of scholarship and worship, both things which have been long-noted for beginning with the tones of a ringing bell. How appropriate, then, that Harvey is reading of the start of life – the very ultimate of all beginnings – as well.

However, “Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow” is not about duality, but about the tripartite relationship of worship in the Furies, the Graces, and once even the Muses. To these, De Quincey adds and Harvey reads of a new triad: “Our Ladies of Sorrow.” Mater Lachrymarum, Our Lady of Tears; Mater Suspiriorum, Our Lady of Sighs; and Mater Tenebrarum, Our Lady of Darkness.

As Harvey reads, his voice begins to be rung through with echoes. Those bells are pealing a second time, while the chiming tones of composer Chris Bozzone's score play in the background, bringing about a musical trinity to complement the words Harvey is reading. This musical mirroring continues down to the smallest detail. When Harvey reads the words, “I upon earth had heard their mysteries oftentimes deciphered by harp and timbrel, by dulcimer and organ,” just after the last word, there is the slightest hint of a organ note played out, and it is glorious to behold.

In much the same way that writer De Quincey begins with scholarship and quickly begins to transition to that of worship, so does Chris Bozzone's music begin by mirroring that worship and then transitions itself into a different kind of religious activity. While at the beginning, the music can be heard to be almost celestial, as the tale goes on, it begins darker and more pagan. The sensation of ethereal choirs gives way to hints of rhythmic chanting.

Though the music may come back round at the end to include church organ, the experience is less one of incense and stained glass, but more of wood smoke and darkened inner chambers. Not for nothing are De Quincey's words full of things such as “darkness,” “scorch,” and “furnace.”