As much as I want to be normal and talk too much about music… I want to write a little bit on emotion and expression. Today my chamber group had a great rehearsal of this Piano trio by Dmitri Shostakovitch. We focused a lot on the emotions we wanted to convey at specific parts of the music and I was struck at the complexities of emotion God has made.

The piece is very heavy, and deals with intense suffering and despair. In rehearsal we threw around different emotions that we could agree on playing. The “numbness” of emotional pain-you know, the emotional state of nothingness you go through during difficult emotional times. stupid glee- as a reaction to the feelings of pain. There is anger, and there are cheerful moments, yet the merriment sung is motivated by grief.

“Why does he sing a cheerful song? Because he is sad at heart.”

It’s sad because I don’t know true grief. I don’t know suffering. All I can play is an imitation of sorrow. I used to think that through technical means, one could express emotion just as well as one who has an understanding of his or her emotions. I don’t think so anymore. Many emotions are easy to communicate, but not sadness. Most people understand happiness, but not many know deep sorrow.

I’m glad that as a Christian my hope is in the goodness of the Lord.

edit: We heard a sermon on suffering today by Piper(!). Love that guy. Can I endure reproach for the gospel?

I used to think that teaching music should be fairly comfortable, but now I thinking it would be much better to serve, teach music, and witness to an area where the love of Christ is most needed. I need to consider this, and consider where this would be.


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