For some reason or other composers sometimes fail to bring their work to completion. A case in hand is the Eight Sympony of Franz Schubert, which he wrote in 1822 but was not played before 1865, years after his death. From related sketches it transpires that this peace of music was to consist of four movements. However only two were found in the archives of the orchestra where Schubert sent the scores. Notwithstanding music historians managed to give shape to this composition which eventually turned out to be one of Schubert’s greatest works.
While listening to the radio, I recently learnt that a band-march by a Maltese director had to be finished by another musician. Even the title seemed to indicate such a fact. At that moment I recalled what I had read about another unfinished symphony in a book about St Therese of Lisieux, Therese, Secrets of her joy, written by Fr Pierre Deswcouvemont.
The symphony is you and me, since we can all compare ourselves to an unfinished symphony. Lack of comprehension by others, sickness, our weaknesses and sins and finally death may prevent us from executing the symphony which was designed for us. But what does it matter? God asks us precisely to hope that one day he will be able to transform our life symphony into an eternal alleluia, even though the false notes may be too conspicuous, our aspirations may have taken too long to materialise and certain pauses were not respected. During these pauses a musician has to stop for a while and be silent while waiting for his turn. What is important is that during the symphony we tried to play as well as we could, like a child under the loving gaze of his father.
In music there are words and symbols that give colour and expression and indicate the flow of the music. These indications are normally in Italian. We should play according to the movement non troppo presto, ormoderato, that is in a way which is not faster than expected by the divine maestro. We should also see whether we are to use the expressions piano, forte or fortissimo. It is God who is directing all the orchestra. In front of him he has the complete score containing the music for all the instruments so that he will know where each musician must deliver his part. God has the original score and yet He tolerates those who go somewhat astray, slow down or produce false notes. The most important thing, however, is that our part in the symphony be played con cuore, with all our heart.