Four Kinds of Love

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
22 minutes
Modern classical music
Solo instrument (Piano)
Instrumental parts
Not available

The following quotation is the focus of the four movements that make up Four Kinds of Love, written in 2008.

Love is only of the four kinds: (a) The love of God towards the identity of God. Christ has said God is Love. (b) The love of God for His children and for His servants. (c) The love of man for God and (d) the love of man for man. These four kinds of love originate from God. These are rays from the Sun of Reality; these are the Breathings of the Holy Spirit; these are the Signs of the Reality. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 179 - 181)

The four movements are a meditation on each kind of love, but taken in the reverse order. Firstly, the love of man for man is expressed by a simple melody over an ostinato in 7/8 time. The bluesy mood has a feeling of innocence about it, yet a profound feeling of unity can be felt.

The second movement is an expression of the love mankind offers to the Divine Creator through faith. As Abdu’l-Bahá explains elsewhere in this extract above, ’This love causes the hearts of men to reflect the rays of the Sun of Reality’. The music has two alternating strands, one being a harmonic structure which represents our faith, and the other an ostinato which represents the ’rays of the Sun of Reality’.

The third movement is an expression of the love God Himself has for man. This music is, on the surface, an extremely simple melody in D major, but contains very poignant harmonies. The second statement of the melody builds up to an all-engulfing climax, attempting to express the inexhaustible graces God has made available to us.

The final movement attempts to express God’s love towards the Self, His own creation. Bell-like sounds and a modal melody are the basis of this movement. Again, Abdu’l-Bahá explains, ’Through one ray of this Love all other love exists’. As all the other kinds of love are derived from this, brief reminders of the music from the previous movements are stated towards the end.

The music is offered as a reflection of the realities of these categories of love, inadequate though this might be, with the aim that the listener can meditate on them to aid his understanding.

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