A few months ago I premiered my composition Ego Sum (I Am). This composition was a new direction for me. I have been working to strip my compositions of unneeded material while still giving the performer(s) the joy of playing somewhat challenging music.
In this composition I attempted to focus on balancing the affect it will have on the audience along with my own aesthetic. While I was searching for new ways to approach my composition process, I came across the following quote from C.S. Lewis:
"For we - even our poets and musicians and inventors - never, in the ultimate sense, make. We only build...All we can know about the act of creation must be derived from what we can gather about the relation of the creatures to their Creator."
How much of our pride gets in the way of art? Even if you do not believe in a Creator, you cannot deny the fact that we are not "in the ultimate sense" creating. While composing this work, I referenced various composers, styles, techniques, etc. The implications of a Creator being involved in the building process has great existential significance. If there is a Creator, there must then be a relation between creator and created regardless the level of intimacy. This, in turn greatly changes the composers outlook on the work and compositional decisions will be made based on this belief.
Jesus makes some major claims in his message to the world. Probably the most exclusive and serious statement of His is when He said that He is "the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to Father but through [Him]." When looking at his life and claims empirically, historically and philosophically one has to come to the conclusion that He is either a lunatic or He is who He says He is.
Trying to represent the personhood of Christ through music comes short and it always will. I feel as if my job as a composer and Christian (they are intertwined for me) is to defang some of the preconceived notions of Christ's truth claims. Music allows the agnostic, pantheist, atheist, or what ever world view to have a somewhat more objective view into the personhood of Christ. The opposing view is then (hopefully) debating an idea rather than a caricatures of ideas.