Saturday, October 5, 2013

Writing a symphonic portrait of man...

The song of humanity is three movement symphony:  creation, fall, and redemption.  It is an amazing creation and a testament to God as composer that there is any resolution to the disparate and dissonant sound of man's journey through time.  The first movement begins with flashes of light amid the darkness of silence, shocking and awe inspiring.  With a deft hand, this moves into a quiet and yet profound thematic statement.  Soon the richness of the musical tapestry is multiplied in a rich polyphonic sound that seems to have no limit to its expansion.  It is pastoral and complex with the simple and yet often recurring statement of the theme from literally every voice. 

What began with a clear thematic melody is soon interrupted by a second movement filled counter melodies that overwhelm the theme until one is left with a clash of time, key, and melody.  The quiet and comfortable pulse of the first movement gives way a rather frenetic pace that almost begs the question of any time signature at all.  It is a chaotic and competitive environment as if every instrument were turned against each other, in a duel of death to see whose voice will sound above all others.  It is in minor key although at times it is hard to hear that there is any key signature at all.   Just when it seems you can bear no more, that ends rather abruptly while the movement continues.  It is still chaotic and the pace unrelenting but hidden is a voice, almost imperceptible, that begs to restore the theme of the first moment. 

Finally, the first theme is introduced again as a voice that moves through each section in competition with the still chaotic and dissonant character of the music.  Gradually this recurring statement of the theme transcends the other voices and restores a sense of purpose and a goal to the whole movement.  Yet it does so not by volume or drama but by the still, small voice, that woos and wins over every other voice until harmony extends throughout all the voices.  Its quiet is interrupted by the lonesome voice of suffering and pain that lasts long enough, just long enough, until it, too finds perfect resolution, culminating in the triumphant theme of the first moment.  It is complete without ending, giving hint of much more to come even though this part of the music is over.  It seems to continue even when every voice is silent as if another movement is waiting to be written, one in which all that has been is left behind by a future without end.

This is the sound of God at work, creating history, driving it to His appointed goal, and stripping from it all that would limit its tenure.  Creation, fall, redemption...  You can hear this music only in the Church.  It is the musical gift of a creative God to His people.  When we learn to sing it, it becomes much more than mere music.

No comments: