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 basically within the later eighteenth century that song started to take the move of time from the previous to the long run heavily; moment, that this variation within the constitution of musical time used to be a facet of a bigger transformation within the approach expert Europeans started to think and examine time with the onset of modernity, part of a shift from the premodern Christian outlook to the trendy post-Christian worldview. until eventually this ancient second, as Berger illustrates in his research of Bach's St. Matthew ardour, song was once easily "in time." Its successive occasions spread out one after one other, however the contrast among earlier and destiny, prior and later, was once no longer valuable to the best way the track was once skilled and understood. yet after the shift, as he reveals in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the adventure of linear time is remodeled into music's crucial subject material; the cycle of time unbends and turns into an arrow. Berger enhances those musical case reports with a wealthy survey of the philosophical, theological, and literary tendencies influencing artists in this interval.
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Extra resources for Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity
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. 27b and 68), Bach again gives both choirs the same text.
Now with noble anger and now with love” (le più gelate menti . . hor di nobil’ ira et hor d’Amore), her real, ultimate point is to “attract . . souls to the sonorous harmony of heaven’s lyre” (à l’armonia sonora / De la lira del ciel . . l’alme invoglio). This order of values is explicitly conﬁrmed in Monteverdi’s ending. At the end of Act 4 the Chorus of Spirits criticizes Orpheus for allowing himself to be “conquered . . by his emotions” (vinto . . dagl’affetti suoi). 46 For Orpheus, to ascend to heaven is to leave behind the life of mutable passions for the life of eternal harmony, the shifting quicksands of the seconda for the consoling stability of the prima prattica.
What is the signiﬁcance of this particular ﬁgure—that of a failed lover on earth consoled by the artist’s immortality in heaven—at the center of early opera? 24 It is also because the heavy price paid for triumph is conveniently forgotten. What sort of a triumph is it that kills the beloved and renders the lover unﬁt for life on earth? 25 These commentators remember Orpheus’s failure to bring Eurydice out of L’Orfeo / 29 Hades and see in his ﬁnal apotheosis nothing but a spurious cover-up. Presumably they would ﬁnd Orpheus’s dismemberment, on or off stage, more to their taste, offering truth in the place of starry-eyed consolatory illusions.
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity by Karol Berger