The text of this two-voice conductus is almost certainly connected with the desire to liberate Jerusalem or to stabilize Christian control there. By long tradition, Rachel and her sons were interpreted in the West as a prefiguration of the Roman church and the community of the faithful, her spiritual sons. The imagery of Rachel lamenting because she had (as yet) no sons (Genesis 30:1-2) could therefore be used by Popes when, as head of the Roman Church, they addressed the clergy and magnates of Latin Christendom in the hope of stirring their consciences and energies afresh with the imagery of a childless and so forsaken Church. Such language figures prominently in the bull Rachel suum videns
, issued by Gregory IX in 1234, a call to the French, and then to the clergy of all provinces, for a new impetus of action and conscience concerning the fate of Jerusalem. The imagery of the deserted city in the following conductus, derived from Lamentations, is used in the monophonic conductus Crucifigat omnes
which is incontrovertibly associated with some moment in the crusading fortunes of the West.
from notes by Christopher Page © 1998