Bach in Berlin: Nation and Culture in Mendelssohn's Revival by Celia Applegate

By Celia Applegate

Bach's St. Matthew Passion is universally stated to be one of many world's ultimate musical masterpieces, but within the years after Bach's loss of life it used to be forgotten by way of all yet a small variety of his scholars and admirers. the general public rediscovered it in 1829, whilst Felix Mendelssohn carried out the paintings prior to a glittering viewers of Berlin artists and intellectuals, Prussian royals, and civic notables. The live performance quickly grew to become the stuff of legend, sparking a revival of curiosity in and function of Bach that has persisted to this day.

Mendelssohn's functionality gave upward thrust to the idea that recuperating and acting Bach's tune used to be someway "national work." In 1865 Wagner may declare that Bach embodied "the historical past of the German spirit's inmost life." That the fellow so much answerable for the revival of a masterwork of German Protestant tradition was once himself a switched over Jew struck contemporaries as much less extraordinary than it does us today—a assertion that embraces either the good achievements and the mess ups of one hundred fifty years of German history.

In this publication, Celia Applegate asks why this actual functionality crystallized the hitherto inchoate thought that track used to be critical to Germans' collective id. She starts with a perfectly readable reconstruction of the functionality itself after which strikes again in time to drag aside many of the cultural strands that may come jointly that afternoon within the Singakademie. the writer investigates the position performed by way of intellectuals, reporters, and beginner musicians (she is one herself) in constructing the inspiration that Germans have been "the humans of music." Applegate assesses the influence on music's cultural position of the renewal of German Protestantism, historicism, the mania for gathering and restoring, and romanticism. In her end, she appears to be like on the next careers of her protagonists and the lasting reverberations of the 1829 functionality itself.

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