As with any art, sometimes it’s easy to write music. Melodies and harmonies flow into your head, and all you have to do is write them down. In fact, I used to think I was on the wrong track when it didn’t happen like that. Thankfully, I’ve learned that a lot of artwork takes just that: work. Vision is an example.
I’ve wanted to write this piece for a long time, but there have been several barriers:
- I never had a melody in mind; it was always more of an abstract concept.
- My forté is piano, and straight piano never seemed appropriate for this piece.
- The entire project seemed pretty daunting. And I’m lazy.
All that said, the process of writing this piece has a bit of backstory. I won’t bore you with the details; the short version is that circumstances aligned themselves about a month ago for me to start the project, and from there I couldn’t put it down.
So what is Vision about? In a word, it’s about the grandeur of the divine. Church is a part of life for my family, so I grew up on stories of miracles, angels, and the prophets of old. Often the scriptures seem more like fantasy than real life; as they tell it, angels used to appear to people every day.
With so many visions and visitations in the scriptures, we get a lot of insight into what seeing an angel must be like. Moses, Paul, Peter, James, and John are only a few examples of people to whom angels appeared, and for each them—at least at first—such close encounters with the divine weren’t joyful experiences; they were terrifying.
Of course, we can hardly blame the prophets; I don’t think anyone ever quite gets used to being in the presence of God. And it’s always so sudden: in one minute the shepherds are fighting sleep to watch the flocks, and in the next they’re wide awake straining to see through the blinding light and understand the words of the angels’ narration. You can imagine how many times the shepherds retold that story, and you can see them struggling to find words adequate to describe the glory and majesty of the experience. A visit like that would be the highlight of a lifetime.
On that note, Vision is a story. I’ve captioned it in the box above; as you listen, read the words and imagine yourself there.