By Karol Berger
During this erudite and assuredly composed argument, Karol Berger makes use of the works of Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven to aid groundbreaking claims: first, that it used to be in simple terms within the later eighteenth century that tune started to take the circulation of time from the earlier to the long run heavily; moment, that this alteration within the constitution of musical time used to be a side of a bigger transformation within the manner expert Europeans started to think and view time with the onset of modernity, part of a shift from the premodern Christian outlook to the trendy post-Christian worldview. till this historic second, as Berger illustrates in his research of Bach's St. Matthew ardour, song was once easily "in time." Its successive occasions opened up one after one other, however the contrast among earlier and destiny, previous and later, was once now not primary to the way in which the track used to be skilled and understood. yet after the shift, as he unearths in taking a look at Mozart's Don Giovanni, the event of linear time is reworked into music's crucial subject material; the cycle of time unbends and turns into an arrow. Berger enhances those musical case stories with a wealthy survey of the philosophical, theological, and literary traits influencing artists in this interval.
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Extra info for Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity
The Postlude, in turn, shows to what extent this self-conﬁdence, which culminates in The Magic Flute, was undermined as the Revolution failed to achieve its democratic goals. The traditional image of Beethoven as the tone poet of the heroic Revolutionary and Napoleonic history, while not false, is, I argue here, one-sided. The Beethovenian abstraction out of time is the obverse of the Beethovenian heroic quest and its temporal teleology. Music had no sooner acquired its “classical” ability to represent linear time than it began “romantically” to undermine and question it by exploring moments of timelessness.
The post-1550 shift consisted in the increased prominence and practical relevance accorded the ancient idea that music could make humans feel various changeable passions and thus form a person’s enduring character (ethos)—this as an alternative and challenge to the previously dominant and equally ancient idea of music as the sounding, sensuous embodiment of the intelligible harmony of simple numerical ratios (harmonia). By 1550 it was increasingly believed that the latter aim had been fully accomplished by early sixteenth-century Franco-Flemish vocal polyphony, the ars perfecta, “to which nothing could be added” (as Glarean put it), and codiﬁed by Gioseffo Zarlino in his Le Istitutioni harmoniche of 1558.
19 and 20, to the alto in Nos. 30, 59, and 60—or to a soprano-alto duet (No. 27a). Even in No. 67, which calls on all four voices, they appear successively rather than jointly. The Faithful, on the other hand, always have an accom- The Arrested Procession / 49 panying role and are always impersonated by the second choir. The blurring of clear role distribution that can be observed toward the end of No. 1, where both choirs together sing a common text, becomes a structural feature of the Passion as a whole when, in the numbers that end each of Picander’s two Parts (Nos.
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity by Karol Berger