09 January 2015

Music Day - Glory Battle

We've had this album since it came out, but it was only over July that I really listened to this song (or the whole album, really). This song in particular appeals to my classical ballet mind. It's the dance of a fight between good and evil, between angels and demons, both clawing for the same soul.

Last March, while recovering from strep throat, I read Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness, and that book has stuck in my head, both as a reader and as a writer. As a reader, I enjoyed the story -- the soft-spoken unrelenting faith of the pastor, the confusion and determination of the newspaper manager, the spunk and pluck of the reporter, the self-righteousness of the church deacons, the rebellious attitude of the daughter, the strategising between the demons and the angels... it was one of the most engaging things I've ever read. I literally read the entire thing cover to cover in one night. As a writer, I appreciated the colourful detail in every scene -- rich without being overdone -- as well as the subtle humour employed throughout. Even in very serious scenes, one careful turn of phrase, one character's well-timed glance could send me into a fit of laughter. Peretti has a gift -- I've never seen anything like that anywhere else, and I used to read quite a bit of this genre (back when I had time to read for pleasure).

Shortly after I read that book, I began thinking: what it would be like to stage that story, as a dance? You would need music for that, of course, but provided I could find a composer... could I do it? Could I portray the characters without speech and wearing ballet slippers? I haven't answered that question yet, but now that the germ of the idea is in my head, I sometimes find a little something that might fit in the dance version of the story... this song is one of those.

(Trivia: This same artist has actually written an instrumental song based on This Present Darkness (source: album liner notes) in 1988. The song, Ashton, is on the album i 2 (EYE). Music Day post here.)

Title: Glory Battle
Artist: Michael W. Smith
Album: Glory
Year: 2011
Label: Provident
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Besides the music of David Meece (and Pachelbel's Canon In D), this is probably the closest I get to classical music. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that it always seems so stuffy and elitist (kind of like some of us 'Jesus Music' fans, come to think of it...), and I can never keep track of all the composers and the names and variations of their works. But this piece is amazing. It's sweeping, majestic, strong, rushing -- it sounds exactly like a battle. There's the start, and then the initial battle, and then someone retreats and the music turns mournful... then clear and a little hopeful. The sides regroup, and suddenly there's a thunderous second assault. It's enough to make me want to get into more classical music. (Feel free to make suggestions in the comments!)

I love the string parts in this song. They contribute so much tension to the piece.

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