T.C. Crosser recently dropped The Book of Arius – Act I, a neoclassical piece composed for, and performed by, a string quartet. Act I is broken down into four distinct movements. The first three represent crucial points as well as locations in Crosser’s life. White Sulphur Springs is where he came face to face with his substance abuse; River City bares his abusive childhood; and Goose Creek is where he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality and was thrown out of the Navy.
The title, The Book of Arius, is interesting, referring to The Thalia of Arius. A 4th century presbyter, aka priest, Arius disagreed with the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. Known as Arianism, his teachings were later deemed heresy. The Greek word “thalia” has two meanings: one of the Graces, and the muse of comedy.
What’s so unique about Crosser’s music, aside from its beauty, is the fact it was actually performed by a real string quartet, not synthesizers. It’s genuine music played on instruments by actual musicians: Maria Im (violin), Jannina Norporth (violin), Kallie Ciechomski (viola), and Caleigh Drance (cello).
“Movement I (White Sulphur Strings)” opens with gorgeously delicate textures akin to the rays of the sun gently caressing a field of flowers. The music takes on strident colors and intensity as it proceeds, achieving almost shrill tones near the end.
“Movement II (River City)” employs compact tones flavored with darker melancholic colors and nuances of deep desolation. “Movement III (Goose Creek)” exudes tight, clipping tones, infusing the music with mad, feverish energy.
“Movement IV (Hell’s Kitchen)” presents new colors and flavors, a kind of probing optimism rife with elusive inscrutable textures, as if something glorious is being figured out.
Based on his personal history, The Book of Arius isn’t nearly as gloomy or furious as one would expect. Instead, it’s more ambitious, as Crosser attempts to comprehend and articulate his present feelings about his past. He’s moved beyond rage and resentment, entering the realm of au fait catharsis.
The Book of Arius – Act I offers superb neoclassical music. Even if you’re not into classical music, The Book of Aurius might elevate your aesthetic appreciation.