By John Butt
Offering a close research of Bach's Passions, this e-book represents a major contribution to the controversy concerning the tradition of 'classical music', its origins, priorities and survival. The angles from which each and every bankruptcy proceeds fluctuate from these of a conventional song advisor, via studying the Passions within the gentle of the mindsets of modernity, and their interaction with previous types of inspiration and trust. whereas the historic information of Bach's composition, functionality and theological context stay the most important, the major obstacle of this research is to narrate those works to a old context which may, in a few threads no less than, nonetheless be suitable this present day. The primary declare of the booklet is that the interaction of conventional imperatives and people of early modernity renders Bach's Passions fairly attention-grabbing as artefacts that either mirror and represent the various priorities and stipulations of the western global.
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Extra resources for Bach's Dialogue with Modernity: Perspectives on the Passions
29–52, quote from p. 41. Jameson, A Singular Modernity, pp. 9–10. See John Butt, Playing with History – the Historical Approach to Musical Performance (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 157–8, 165–217. Introduction One thing that Bach’s Passions might seem to achieve in the process of performance is a sort of counterpoint of modern and non-modern, something that stretches well beyond the mere combination of musical lines. To take the most obvious example of this sort of counterpoint, the religious element of Bach’s Passions is clearly inherited from pre-modernity (without our falling into the generalization that modernity necessarily excludes or unremittingly threatens religion),44 while their elements of autonomous musical form – perhaps parallel with the sort of autonomy being developed by the individual human from the seventeenth century onwards – represent a more specifically modern development.
12. Naomi Cumming makes a very similar point, although couching it in the more formalist language of Peirce’s semiotics, by which the listener is the ‘interpretant’ who completes the musical ‘sign’, in ‘The Subjectivities of “Erbarme Dich”’, Music Analysis 16/1 (1997), 5–44, esp. 8–17. 41 Putting together the Lutheran injunction to cultivate the faith of the individual, on an urgent day-by-day basis, with the affective and narrative techniques developed in opera, Bach may have been instrumental in the development of a new, intensive, form of musical listening, one that may have been only partially realized by the members of his own congregation.
See The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, pp. 27–51, esp. p. 49. One surely does not have to be an atheist to see at least some of the seeds of secularism in the development of a specific, subjective position combined with the drawing of the divine towards the world of human actuality. 19 20 Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity Gospels, at least twofold), the eminently ‘modern’ notion of taking account of plural perspectives in viewing a singular phenomenon is already latent in the Christian tradition. 46 A counterpoint between religious and subjective-autonomous elements in Bach’s Passions means that neither automatically predominates, and this sort of balance – or productive tension – is perhaps part of the durable quality of these works.
Bach's Dialogue with Modernity: Perspectives on the Passions by John Butt