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The Romans Album

Romans is a concept album based on all sixteen chapters of Paul's epistle to the church at Rome. It is a proclamation through music and poetry of what Paul penned through prose: Scripture exegeted and exposited in an imaginative, artistic voice, complemented by an array of musical styles and timbres that shed a unique perspective on God's word.

This album is a unique musical production. To borrow terminology from the western art tradition, it is perhaps best described as a modern version of an oratorio, which is a large piece of music for a group of singers and musicians that is usually about a religious subject. Romans even borrows from much of the musical language of traditional and historical western art music but combines it with contemporary popular styles such as rock and roll and jazz, as well as some folk styles like bluegrass and that of Hebrew culture.

The album is comprised of two main sections, or acts: chapters 1-8 and chapters 9-16. This division is not only symmetrical in regards to chapter numbers but is also mirrors the arch of Paul's narrative. Paul concludes one major flow of thought at the end of chapter 8, climaxing with an anthemic and resounding affirmation of our security in Christ. Chapter 9 begins a new yet related discourse, connected specifically to the nation of Israel. Physical copies of the album manifest this division clearly in their two-disc format.

Also reflective of the nature of Paul's epistle is the seamlessness of the 23 tracks. From start to finish, the music never really stops, though there are a few moments of dramatic pause. The composer took great care to connect song to song musically and textually what Paul connects argument to argument rhetorically. This creates a more unified, cohesive listening experience and gives greater meaning to each individual song. For example, the significance of the song "He Came to Die," which recounts Jesus' propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of those who place faith in Him, is amplified when heard in context of the preceding song "No Excuse," which describes how all mankind is sinful and is therefore without excuse before God.

 

Romans was composed by Cody Curtis (DMA) in 2014. He began working on this album in 2011 when his pastor in Greensboro, NC, who was preaching through the Book of Romans, asked him to write a song for the doxology at the end of chapter 11. Cody agreed and wrote "O the Depth," an almost verbatim setting of the doxology. The idea of putting the rest of Paul’s l