Mystical Love in the German Baroque: Theology, Poetry, Music
Mystical Love in the German Baroque: Theology, Poetry, Music identifies the cultural and devotional conventions underlying expressions of mystical love in poetry and music of the German baroque. It sheds new light on the seemingly erotic overtones in settings of the Song of Songs and dialogues between Christ and the faithful soul in late 17th- and early 18th-century cantatas by Heinrich SchYtz, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Johann Sebastian Bach. While these compositions have been interpreted solely as a secularizing tendency within devotional music of the baroque period, Isabella van Elferen demonstrates that they need to be viewed instead as intensifications of the sacred. Based on a wide selection of previously unedited or translated 17th- and 18th-century sources, van Elferen describes the history and development of baroque poetic and musical love discourses, from SchYtz's early works through Buxtehude's cantatas and Bach's cantatas and Passions. This long and multilayered discursive history of these compositions considers the love poetry of Petrarch, European reception of petrarchan imagery and traditions, its effect on the madrigal in Germany, and the role of Catholic medieval mystics in baroque Lutheranism. Van Elferen shows that Bach's compositional technique, based on the emotional characteristics of text and music rather than on the depiction of single words, allows the musical expression of mystical love to correspond closely to contemporary literary and theological conceptions of this affect.
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affective ambivalence aria articulated Axmacher Bach’s Barock baroque music Basso bitter-sweet blood Braut bridegroom Buxtehude’s BuxWV cantata chapter Christ’s love Communion composers composition death described deutschen Dieterich Buxtehude dissonance emotions eschatological example expression faithful soul Geistliche genre German baroque God’s Gott heart heavenly Heinrich Muller Heinrich Schiitz Hertz Italian Johann Arndt Johann Heermann Johann Jacob Rambach Johann Mattheson Johann Sebastian Bach Kircher Komm Leipzig Liebe love discourse love for Jesus love poems love poetry love union lover Luther Lutheran Lutheran devotion Lutheran mysticism madrigal madrigal style madrigalian marinist Mattheson medieval mysticism melodies metaphors motifs musical representation mystical love Neumeister Opitz parallel thirds Passion meditation petrarchan petrarchan love petrarchism Pietist poetic and musical poets reﬂection representation of love represented rhetorical sacred love secular love Seele sensual seventeenth century seyn soll Song of Songs soprano sterben stylistic sweet thematic theme unio mystica vollkommene Capellmeister