Here it is, the final movement of the Advent String Quartet. The theme for this movement is Peace.
One of the titles of Jesus, the Child that is born on Christmas, is the Prince of Peace. Now, I am not into the rigors of logic and the details of definitions, but I do know that he did not necessarily mean pacifism. In fact it was Jesus who said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’" (Matt 10:34-36)
We are called to stand up for the defenseless - not stand by idly. We need to know when we need to fight and when not to. As long as there is evil in the world, we always need to be on guard against it.
But the peace that I am talking about, or conveying in this movement, is quiet resignation. No matter what happens in the world, peace can be obtained on the personal level. From a Christian's perspective, this is the resignation to God's Will and an understanding that God is always in control. No matter what is going on the outside, this inner peace can still reign within us. This is what I believe Jesus meant by "His yoke is light" etc. When you look at the Christian way of life, in the face of the modern world, it is difficult. However, through believing in Christ and His dominion over all and our relationship with Him, all we have to do is do what He is calling us to do. The lure of the world is somewhat diminished as we see it is all fading and that the real treasure is in heaven.
Musically, the movement is slow and quiet. It is not a very melodic piece. It was written as a soundscape, as a meditative piece not an entertaining peace. As with the other three movements, I begin with the "Peace" idea or motive and deviate to a less settling part before returning to a peaceful conclusion. Now, the performance of this piece will be much more free than the other pieces. I have written it without barlines. The intent of this is so that the performers can determine the pace of the rhythm for themselves - for them to feel the piece rather than read the piece. Unfortunately, my rendering is more mechanical than I wanted, but this is all I could do for right now.
Now, this is not typical finale material. It is not fast, rambunctious, triumphant, or even technical. That is exactly what I meant. The purpose of Advent is not fulfillment. The purpose of Advent is longing. To sum up, the purpose of the Advent String Quartet is in the (paraphrased" words of St. Augustine, "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you". Afterwards, we should have a longing, a feeling like our waiting is not yet over.
A couple of bits: first, I find this a coincidence that I posted this movement on the day of North Korea's Kim Jong Il's death. Because there is uncertainty to how North Korea will proceed, consequently there is little peace of mind as far as what is happening on that side of the world. Please keep world peace in your prayers.
Second, I have over the last couple of weeks, averaged about a "song" a week. I don't know if this momentum will continue, but I sure hope that it will. I have many musical projects on the horizon for next year as well as some immediate songs that I want to do.
Third, I am averaging around 5 min. a song. if this continues, I would have approximately 5 CDs worth of music by the end of the year. Once again, we'll see how that comes along.
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of Advent waiting for the coming of the Christ Child!
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This is the news blog of Phrygian Phish. Check out here for news on Phrygian Phish projects like Last Rites, Beyond the Dice, and other Sean Bailey projects.