The First Song
The most challenging thing about writing this short piece was that I had to predict an emotional reaction that I know I am going to have. In six months I am going see Liz walking down the aisle towards me in the most beautiful gown I've ever seen her in (which I have not seen yet) with the intention of leaving her father and mother to be my wife. How does a 22 year old guy imagine what that is going to be like, let alone express the emotion with something tangible so the other people can understand my joy? There were three places where I knew I would at least get some idea of what the answer was: My emotional reaction while imagining the moment, having the emotion explained to me by people that have been married, and the beautiful poetry describing romantic love in scripture. I used all three sources as best as I could.
The title is something that should be universally understood by every married man, if not every married person. The first song/poem recorded in scripture is Genesis 2:23:
The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man."
The first human artistic expression ever created was a reaction to a woman. The song is intended to be a new and unique version of what Adam expressed in response to receiving his dearest treasure. Every married man has expressed this same song in some way. This is the way in which I know how to do it.
Hide and Seek
I fear that this work may not be well received by certain kinds of people since it can come off largely as an inconclusive meandering of musical thought. If it seems to be this to you, then I would encourage you to enjoy this work in the context of the Purpose project in its entirety and not as an individual composition since I composed, programmed, and recorded this for the sake of it being the center of the album.
It turned out the way it did because I am attempting to ask a question that no one has ever answered to my satisfaction: ”Why do I exist?” God’s creation is wonderful and I love the mind, body, and relationships He’s given me so that I can enjoy it. Most of all, I love the spirit He has put in my heart so that I can enjoy a relationship with God himself. But why do I exist? Why was I conceived and not someone else? Why something rather than nothing? Why does God exist and why did he create physical existence instead of not creating it?
After asking these questions for years, it has been revealed to me that while all things are for a reason, it is not for us to know that reason. Therefore, all we can do is follow God’s commands and enjoy the things he has given us in accordance with those commands. This realization does not answer the question, but it helps us understand that as much as it concerns us, the reason we exist is to please God and enjoy what he has given us.
Purpose hides and so we seek it. But somewhere on the way we find beauty and realize that the purpose of life is the process of searching for it.
Liz's engagement ring consists of white gold, small birthstones, and a larger diamond in the center. The birthstones represent the small things that Christ has done through us in our lives so far. The diamond represents the work that Christ has for us to do together throughout the majority of our lives here on earth. While not diminishing the value of the work we've already done, our work together will still be much more significant. But, of course, what is the use of this work if it is just as temporal as our mortal life? Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The ring then represents our precious God-given work echoing into eternity and doing good that we never could have dreamed of and yet that God did through us. This concept should be the belief of all married Christian couples. If it were not true then God never would have brought the couple together since they were obviously more useful for his purposes as singles.
This work addresses a spiritual concept similar to that which we had addressed when designing Liz's ring. I used similar symbolism in a different artistic medium and then applied it to the spiritual level of marriage. When a couple gets married they are no longer viewed as two but as one single entity. Therefore, a small but significant change must happen to each person's spirit as they enter into the covenant of marriage. Just as the work Christ has in mind for the couple changes to something greater than what they would have accomplished as singles, their distinct spiritual essences change to become one. This makes a new entity that God uses in an even more powerful way than He would have used them as singles (otherwise he would not have brought them together). I have attempted to capture this transition in this work.
Jesus Loves the Really Little Children
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.”
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month”…When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
“Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
“He who has ears, let him hear.”
Oath of Unity
I wrote this piece to be premiered for my friends, Pam and Ryan, at their wedding for prelude. The danger with this role in a program is that the beginning material is either easily missed, or it rudely interrupts conversations. I have attempted to use this problem to the performer's advantage by utilizing John Cage's philosophy: Any sound you hear during the performance is part of the music. While I disagree with Cage on many points, I do believe that there is something to be had with the idea of artistic noise. I actually want the audience to passively participate in the performance by talking at a respectful volume until the piece starts to unfold it's main themes more clearly. It is the performer's job to play beneath their mummer and crescendo as they decrescendo by becoming interested.
Since I was writing for a wedding, I have obviously written a piece about marriage. I'm am very passionate about the issue of divorce, and am strongly against divorce outside of marital unfaithfulness and even then only in extreme cases. This work is a charge to any bride and groom to fulfill their oaths to one another out of unconditional love no matter what their situation is. The harsh section of this piece represents the more unpleasant parts of marriage; but this section is fleeting and resolves quickly by returning to the original themes depicting unconditional love and faithfulness. The main take away I want people to have is that the love within marriage unites two people so intimately that the darker parts of the relationship are nullified.
This is one of those rare works of mine that I wrote without a large amount of intent. However, as I got to know the sound I was coming up with for the work, I realized that it reminded me of those fascinating daydreams I had in elementary school when I sat in class and unintentionally drifted off into my own world. That being said, it fits perfectly into the Purpose project because God gave us imaginative power and it is our responsibility to use it for His glory. Therefore, these sorts of imaginative daydreams are part of the reason we exist. Creativity in general is what these dreams become, but it is the things that go on in the mind of a child that start the creative process as they become adults.
Worship God; this is the reason for which we have been created. It is out of his graciousness that we have life.