Some of you know that I drag my agnostic ass to church every Sunday in order to play for a congregation of very tolerant Lutherans ("tolerant" because they know I'm a godless bum, and yet they keep asking me back). The truth is that I actually enjoy this gig, at least in terms of the musical challenges it presents.
Anyway, I was leafing through the introduction to one of my organ books this past Sunday, and I came across this commentary:
... because the prelude, if it is well written and well played, reflects the order and design present in the entire universe and also the Holy Spirit's continuing creative gifts to man, it proclaims God's presence. A prelude is therefore not meant to create a mood.
I have heard this idea before, but never so boldly stated. Music meant to reflect "the order and design present in the entire universe"? That's a lot to ask. (Also: what order?)
I have toyed in the past with the idea of trying to create music that was an idealized version of what the world could be. Some kind of perfect utopian expression (which was, incidentally, what I thought the classical composers were really after, too). In a sense, this is the idea of music as a balm, what Robert Frost called "a momentary stay against confusion." It's escapist -- not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that.
I have long since abandoned that project in favor of writing music that was reflective -- not reflective of some kind of mythical "order," but rather reflective of the deeper truth of a vast and compulsory chaos.
Sorry, that's just how I see things.