THE PURPOSE OF MUSIC
The proper and true purpose of all good classical music is ultimately the honor and glory of God, and more proximately, to dispose the participants in true liturgy to the graces of the sacraments (in sacred music), as well as to reveal and impart a greater appreciation of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty to the world as found in classical music.
THE WORK OF MUSICIANS
Musicians accomplish this purpose by contributing, in their various capacities, to the aesthetic drama of a good musical composition, whether that drama stems from a story, a program, sacred scripture, a liturgical text, or the private thoughts, imagination, and emotions of the composer.
The composer contributes to the aesthetic drama by using the art of composition, in its materials, structure, and orchestration, to create the intended dramatic effect in the music, and to write it down in such a way that performers can intelligently interpret and play it.
The performer, who must bring the music to life in the physical domain, contributes to the aesthetic drama by faithfully realizing and creatively interpreting the drama that is embodied in the materials and structure of the composition as created by the composer. This is accomplished in their respective instrumental, vocal, or conducting capacity, and guided by such things as stylistic considerations, the materials and structure of the music, dynamic and articulation indications in the score, as well as the composer’s explicit and implicit intentions.
OTHER IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS TO MUSIC
We should also not forget to include the many luthiers, builders, tuners, architects, and instrument maintenance people who produce, support, and maintain the musical instruments, as well as design the halls that players use in their function as performers. They, too, serve the aesthetic drama in their indispensable way.
The listener, by exposure and the proper intuitive familiarization of the music then experiences the aesthetic drama of the music composition, ideally leading to the honor and glory of God, the disposition to the graces of the sacraments (in sacred music), and to a greater appreciation of the spirituality of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.
THE AESTHETIC PRINCIPLES OF WESTERN CLASSICAL MUSIC
In our times, the promotion and accomplishment of these goals is part of a growing movement of composers and musicians who view the continued survival, development, and progress of classical music in the 21st Century to be predicated on a return to Western classical aesthetic principles, namely, classicism. These principles include the classical aesthetic concepts of order, balance, proportion, symmetry, clarity, tonality, realism, and a touch of idealism, along with the sense of the sacred in liturgical music. These are the same principles that guided composers, both great and small, from the Renaissance through the Romantic music style periods. Throughout the 20th Century, this tradition flourished in spite of the modernist movement, in the tonal works of such composers as Samuel Barber, Sergei Rachmaninov, Ottorino Respighi, and others. In the 21st Century, this tradition continues on in the works of composers such as John Corigliano, Jeremy Menuhin, John Williams, Alma Deutscher, and many others.
This is the general philosophy to which I adhere, and these are the goals that I, as a classical composer, aspire to accomplish by contributing new and original classical style music compositions, and by providing information that assists the music community in understanding the goals and philosophy of this movement.
For an ongoing discussion of this philosophy and the terms articulated in this mission statement, see the Blog tab for a series of short articles that elaborate and expand upon these various concepts.