Monday, 18 May 2015

Music Composition

I Love Music... at least that's what the label says.

Last weekend I began writing another music composition for choir and piano. The text is from Psalm 117. Similar to the brevity of this particular Psalm, the part I have completed is only 19 measures. The work could probably stand alone as a very short piece but my wish is to expand it. In doing so, my desire is to write something truly joyous rather than simply compose dreary solemn sounds in a major key.

Last evening, I had the unique opportunity to listen to a new composition by Dr. Stanlas Man. Immediately I was very impressed by the quality of the computer produced orchestral sounds. I asked Kie to play the piece again and then a few more times to listen deeper. The composition is short and I was wondering why Dr. Man had written so short a movement. Within the structure of his composition is a wealth of melodic lines and tonal colours just waiting to be explored and expanded…but he didn’t.

Let me quote from Dr. Man’s e-mail, “Here is the 2nd movement of the orchestral suite “Koinonia” (Greek word for life together in Christ). It describes about our God who is the only wise and mysterious one. Without him no life in Christ can be possible.”

And I began to wonder: if we know so little about God, how then can we possibly write music about God? We can only draw upon our experiences and encounters with God and then spend a lifetime trying to understand and define what we think we know about God and eventually realize that we cannot possibly fathom God.

In a musical context, Dr. Man has brilliantly captured these feelings. 

I wish I could compose music like that, music that seems alive and speaks to the longings within. For me every note is a fight to wrest and produce, like panning through tons of gravel for specks of gold, but so often the result seems more like shiny specks of fool’s gold and frustration. Yes frustration and even anger toward myself because I just cannot seem to be able to break through the barriers of my limitations and grasp the inspiration needed to create beautiful music.

Nonetheless I try not to lose sight that my purpose in writing music is to worship the God of Israel through pleasing sound rather than self-expression through noise, but at times the distinction is very blurred… no doubt from my imperfections.

The Oddblock Station Agent
Written: Friday morning, February 17, 2006

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