“Jesus wept” (John 11:35), though the shortest verse in the Bible offers us invaluable insight about Jesus Christ, including the sobering reminder that the King of Kings became human and he grieved and suffered loss just as we grieve the loss of a loved one.
This is just one of many examples in literature where less is more. It did not take much to reveal these truths to us, just two words. This concept is true with music as well. I’ve noticed it not only with music I have performed but with music I have written.
Last year I wrote a spiritual piece of music for the ordination of a priest, based on Psalm 84. It involved, solo tenor, soprano, full choir, violin, cello, trumpet and snare drum all accompanied by the piano. I was quite pleased with what I finally did with the text offered to me by a dear friend. Though well received, it had no where near the same effect on the congregation as another piece I wrote shortly afterwards for duo sopranos accompanied by organ called “The Breath of Jesus”. To me it was a far cry musically from the other piece and was done with a lot less effort, but yet, the feedback from the congregation proved that this touched them deeply…it was a clear case of less is more.
I have encountered many pieces in my performing life thus far that demonstrate that it is not about length, but about the power that the piece has to connect with us…this can often be done in a short time frame. I have attached an audio of one such example, Träumerei from Robert Schumann’s “Scenes from Childhood”, Opus 15, played by your’s truly. Translated “Dreaming”, this one page of music never ceases to take me back to childhood memories of dreams so vivid, I woke up looking for objects that were already gone. Less is more is in effect, simply and powerfully done. Click below and enjoy.
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