Symphony No. 1 in D minor by Raynald Grenier

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Symphony No.1 in D Minor is the latest EP, and sixth release in general, from Québec-based composer Raynald Grenier. The EP is a classical instrumental piece (except for some choirs) composed of three tracks, each being its own movement and they’re respectively named: 1st Movement: In Nomine Patris, 2nd Movement: Et Fillis, 3rd Movement: Et Spiritus Sancti. Let’s take a look at what each of them sounds like and the emotion they carry. 

In Nomine Patris: The perfect setting for this movement could be an opening scene of a movie or videogame with only narration or maybe minimal dialogue. The emotion could be a tragic backstory of the main character or the events that led him to where he is now. The first time the melody is played the piano/organ is at the forefront of it, reminiscent of Japanese composers- think Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood composer Akira Senju. The second time though, the horns take the lead, which is more typical of European composers and it’s pretty nice to see this variety as a testament to how eclectic the composition is; making it work with more than one instrumental arrangement. The fluidity of the movement makes it enjoyable despite its long duration, and the solid nature of the melody makes it suitable for a ballet or theatre operetta as there aren’t too many transitions or distractions. The way this main melody is placed forward acts as the main streamlining of events being told by the music. 

The 2nd Movement: Et Filli: 

This movement feels like a great land for the cultivation of scenes and other forms of media on top of it but stands its ground as a piece that’s listenable independently. At this point, you start to feel like this record was not only meant for enjoyers of classical and contemporary but lovers of movie soundtracks as well. I loved the use of an ominous harp in the middle of the track, it was impactful although subtle. 

The 3rd Movement: Et Spiritus Sancti:

I loved the calmness of the first half of this track as it was preparing for the chaotic second half. The abundance of the choirs in the second half feels like a soul ascending to the skies after the main character’s life has ended. If the previous two tracks were presenting a backstory and a phase of deterioration and death, then this track is the conclusion and inevitable death of that character who had been suffering. This track is the darkest and that’s partly because of the chord progressions that are used and partly because of the thunderous transitions between the melodies. 

At the end of the day, this album feels like a soundtrack or a musical score due to the emotional delivery it excels at. But this doesn’t take away from its ability to exist as a standalone project that perfectly carries its weight. There is no denying that the compositional skeleton was beautifully fleshed out by each and every one of the musicians here too. In my non-humble and very biased opinion, the decision made by Mr. Raynald Grenier to quit all other musical projects and begin his solo project a few years back was a great one, as it made all these great and emotional compositions see the light of day.