Bach in Berlin : nation and culture in Mendelssohn's revival by Bach, Johann Sebastian; Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix;

By Bach, Johann Sebastian; Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix; Applegate, Celia

Bach’s St. Matthew ardour is universally stated to be one of many world’s superb musical masterpieces, but within the years after Bach’s demise it used to be forgotten by means of all yet a small variety of his students and admirers. the general public rediscovered it in 1829, whilst Felix Mendelssohn performed the paintings sooner than 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 today. Mendelssohn’s functionality gave upward thrust to the thought that getting better and acting Bach’s tune used to be in some way "national work." In 1865 Wagner might declare that Bach embodied "the background of the German spirit’s inmost life." That the fellow such a lot answerable for the revival of a masterwork of German Protestant tradition was once himself a switched over Jew struck contemporaries as much less impressive than it does us today—a assertion that embraces either the good achievements and the mess ups of a hundred and fifty years of German history.

during this booklet, Celia Applegate asks why this actual functionality crystallized the hitherto inchoate suggestion that song used to be relevant to Germans’ collective id. She starts off with a perfectly readable reconstruction of the functionality itself after which strikes again in time to drag aside a number 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 novice musicians (she is one herself) in constructing the idea that Germans have been "the humans of music." Applegate assesses the impression on music’s cultural position of the renewal of German Protestantism, historicism, the mania for accumulating 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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The experience led Mendelssohn to postpone—to the disappointment of both Devrient and his father—any further efforts to seek fame through operatic triumph. Nor did instrumental composition alone seem enough. 41 His brilliant Mid37 He complained that “the people here don’t know a note of Fidelio” (Felix to Fanny, 20 April 1825, in Weissweiler, Briefwechsel, 40). According to James Johnson, Beethoven’s work did not conquer Paris until 1828, when his symphonies (not Fidelio) made an “explosive impact” (Listening in Paris: A Cultural History [Berkeley, 1995], 257–59).

18 Frustration with the court and the need to find supplemental income took Fasch the short but significant distance from Potsdam to Berlin, from court culture into the growing world of urban enlightened sociability. The Singakademie, so called because in 1793 the group secured permission to move out of the living rooms of members and into a room of the Royal 15 Peter Wollny has reconstructed the contents of this collection, which after her death was dispersed. The largest part of it went to the library of the Berlin Singakademie, which disappeared in 1945 and was recently rediscovered.

But such exposure made little impression. ”63 The decision to attempt a complete public performance of the work with a full complement of singers, instrumentalists, and soloists, as well as an audience to hear it all, emerged sometime in the course of 1828. Devrient’s account has become definitive by default, and in it, his own force was the moving one. “I longed more and more ardently to sing the part of Christ in public,” he wrote, ever the performer. Others agreed, but the general feeling in the singing circle was one of “dismay” at the “insurmountable difficulties”—“not only in the work itself, with its double orchestra and double chorus” but also with the antiquated attitudes of the Singakademie and its director.

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