My newest song – “Peace must be the answer!” – is dedicated to the victims of war and armed conflict. It is the third and final installment of my “3 Songs for Peace & Reconciliation,” joining “Da pacem Domine” and “Where then could pain find a hold?” I invite you to have a listen and then continue reading below…
“Peace must be the answer!” is my 30th choral composition and in many ways expresses my personal reaction to the world we live in.
There are multiple energies flowing through this song. On the one hand, we honour all that is good and beautiful in this ongoing human experiment.
“Speak out, oh prophets, of love and life
And the noble purpose of creation –
Your words may bind all humankind
Into a brotherhood of all nations.”
On the opposite side of the human ledger, however, we are forced to pose these harsh, eternal questions:
“Oh, why do we fight? Why do we fight? Oh, why?
Oh, why do we kill? Why do we kill each other?
Oh, hear our cries for an end to war.
Lay down your guns, please no more war, we pray for Peace.”
I have tried to channel these two different energies, with alternating musical sections, that may seem to be fighting or arguing with each other, like two tectonic plates in extreme friction, ready to erupt at any moment – which will win out in the end?
And yet, there is a third energy at work in this song:
“Sing, little children, and play your games,
Your hearts are too young to know sorrow,
But the conscience of countries will never know rest –
Should your songs be stilled on the morrow.”
This essentially lays down what is at stake for our human experiment. Can we somehow find a sustainable way to resolve our differences, for the sake of our children and grandchildren? That they can play their games, in all their beautiful innocence, without the threat of war or armed conflict looming on the horizon?
The song provides no easy answers. For the answers lie deep within the human spirit. And yet, we can all agree that “Peace must be the answer,” for without it, “the noble purpose of creation” will have been wasted and our human experiment judged a failure.
Sincere thanks to Quartetto al Volo for this recording.
For sheet music (SATB div., TTBB div.), contact email@example.com.
NB: The song lyrics have been drawn from two sources: an anonymous anti-war poem that I came across in 2021, supplemented by some of my own words.