The office of the religious composer is a very much higher one than that of the preacher. Usually the preacher, through the spoken word, appeals to man, in a very marked degree, through his mind, but the composer appeals to him through his heart or soul. This makes it the more necessary that he should speak from spirit to spirit. Mankind does not yet fully appredate the service that the world's great composers have rendered. If there were real appreciation, we would build more wonderful monuments to the Mo-zarts, the Haydns, the Handels, the Beethovens, the Wagners than any we build to our greatest warriors or statesmen.
There is something of far grander and of a more lasting value to the world's spiritual progress contributed by the great composer than anything that can be found possessing value in any other profession or walk of life.
In many walks of life the people who have been great or who have done great things have received perhaps the full recognition due them from the world at large, but the composer who has influenced life often to a far greater degree, has received only a partial recognition of his worth, and that from a comparatively small number of people. We take what he has to give and enjoy, and benefit by it, but the composer is forgotten in his work. Perhaps after all this may be the true way - to let the work speak for the man. The Master once said: "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." There is one thing certain, however, that the work done by any composer lives after him so that his message, whether he is in the body or out of the body, is being heard over and over again. Composers have often wrought better than they have known. Through their compositions they have brought to fuller life perseverance and courage, brightness and hope, joy and gladness, order and beauty. They have done much to inspire people who were in doubt and despair, much to lift people from the sordid and the earthly, and to give them glimpses of a newer consciousness wherein all the real melodies and harmonies of life and beauty exist, and although, as I said before, it is doubtful whether the world has as yet any real appreciation of their worth, somewhere and at some time, the true appreciation will come and they will reap the harvest they have sown.
While music may be considered the greatest of the arts, it is, perhaps, less dependent on art than any of the others, because the other arts draw far more of their inspiration from man's outer world. Painting, for instance, is usually an effort to reproduce something that already exists in form; the same may be said of sculpture; in drama, too, the actor has a part to act, - he does not, in a full sense, do anything that is original, but rather seeks to copy something which another has already said or done. Someone might retort by saying that nine-tenths of the musical compositions of the present time are at best only copies from other composers. Granting this to be true, that there is little of what might be called creative music among a large body of composers, and that they are mere imitators, yet such work as theirs can never stand for truly representative music. The only music that is representative is creative music. The great creators of music do not depend on an objective consciousness, or on one having to do with the world and the things of the world, but they ever have relied on what might be called the highly intuitional consciousness that deals more directly with causes than with effects.
It is related of Haydn that when he was about to compose, he began by noting down the principal idea or theme, and chose the keys through which he wished it to pass. Then he imagined a little romance which might furnish him with musical sentiments and colours. It is said that the strict connection which thus subsisted between the poetical and musical imagination of Haydn was of great advantage to him in his compositions. Through this course he was enabled to introduce into his melodies an air of reality. He always led a very religious life. All his scores are inscribed at the commencement with the words: "In nomine Domini," or "Soli Deo gloria," while at the conclusion of them is written "Laus Deo," but "I was," he says, "never so pious as when engaged upon the 'Creation.' I fell on my knees daily and prayed earnestly to God that He would grant me strength to carry out the work, and to praise Him worthily." It is said, too, that in composing, whenever he felt the ardour of his imagination decline, or was stopped by some apparently insurmountable difficulty, he rose from his work and resorted to prayer, an expedient which, he said, never failed to revive him.
The world from which creative music comes is far more a world of unseen feeling than that known by any of the other arts. Gradually we are coming to understand that man is far more a product of what he has felt than of what he has thought - that his feelings impel him to greater action than do his thoughts. He is often made sick instantaneously through his superficial feelings, and again is known to recover rapidly when a new and a higher degree of feeling asserts itself. The miracles of healing that occur at Lourdes, or at the church of St. Anne de Beaupre in the province of Quebec, are not brought about by something that appeals to man's thought or reason, but rather by the intensity of religious fervour or feeling. The inner is made to assert its supremacy over the outer. It may be suggestion in the first place, but it becomes something very much deeper before the cure is effected. Music may suggest, but in the end it is bound to do far more than this. Suggestion is purely a mental process. The highest music contains within itself heart as well as mind; it is a true expression of love and wisdom. It is love and wisdom in human life that makes for all the health, the power, and the beauty of a sound mind and a whole, strong elastic body.