Did you think that you and I are the only ones that think about the meaning of life? Through the ages this has been the question that humans have asked. Normally you consider this question to be in the realm of writers but can't composers think about it too?


Beethoven's Fifth


I have a lot of artistic pursuits. I draw, paint, play classical guitar, and write among other things. One day I was reading a book about being an artist. It about being a traditional artist in the sense of using paint and palette. One line in the book struck me. It was something like this: An artist uses his medium to express things that can't be expressed in words.

This statement is actually quite profound. We are, after all, verbal creatures. Verbal communication is at the very center of what we are. But artists transcend this.

It got me thinking about the various art forms and how they can travel toward each other. So a thought hit me. Is it possible for me to write a piece on the guitar that expresses the color blue? It's an interesting thought.

That thought lead me further along and I began to wonder about this thought in existing music. Has anyone ever composed a piece that probes into the question of the meaning of life?

 

Beethoven Did; and it's one of the most recongnizable pieces of music that ever existed. Who can't hum that four note motif; dah, dah, dah, dum.

I am not going to give you a long essay to prove my point. Besides, how well could I do it? It goes back to my earlier point about an art form expressing something that the word cannot express.

Let me just leave you with this: In the middle of the first movement there is a stunning oboe solo