Soleil et J. Another cause can explain the actual success of Bach, it is the importance of illusion in the musical judgment. It is necessary to consider sociology, especially the Durkheim theory. According to this sociologist, when the African prostrates himself in front of his totem, it is not essentially because of a peculiar characteristic of this totem, but because it is the object of a collective manifestation which united the group.
In itself, the totem is neutral and cannot involve an emotional stimulation. This thesis, in the absolute, denies any value to an artistic masterpiece. If, as we think, it cannot be applied to the whole works of music although there is no proof , we can think that the ideological cause, as in the Durkeim theory, is present in the genesis of the notoriety of a composer rather about a particular masterpiece , according to varied ways.
If we consider the existence of a Bach cult, Bach is, more than another, the composer to whom we can most apply the durkheimian criticism. So, the illusion would be explained, about Bach as about numerous other composers, by the influence of a celebrated name, when the bound of celebrity is established. After, the autosuggestive phenomenon would happen: common musical effects on the work lead the conditioned listener real emotions as epiphenomenon of cerebral sensibility.
These emotions, in intensity, in quality, would not of course be compared to emotions induced by a genius masterpiece. How many admirers of Well-Tempered Clavier would consider this work as genial if it have been presented under the name of an unknown composer? And before the time when authenticity was doubtful, the Bach desattributed masterpiece have not seemed lower than the Bach authentic masterpiece.
This fact seems to show that Bach is not fundamentally higher than the others composers, at least not for certain works. It is a real natural experience in double blind , as the same done by scientists in medicine. This argument is true also for all the celebrated composer, that would show generally that the well known composers are not fundamentally higher than the unknowns. That is shown in the book of Rebatet:. Rebatet, Lucien, Une histoire de la musique, Laffont, Paris, , p And about the Fantasy-Concertos , then the melodies : Chattering and cavalcade in the emptiness, with a bad way almost indecent.
The book of Lucien Rebatet has been issued another time in France Laffont, Paris, 30 years after his first issue. An issue in Spanish also exists Una historia de la musica, Omega, , that show the importance of the current of thinking he represents. The independent authors, who are not inclued in a university structure, like Lucien Rebatet, do not hesitate to assert value judges.
The book of Lucien Rebatet, without musicological value, seems to have a great sociologic meaning because it reveals openly the dominant ideology of its time. It is probably the most emblematic book which represents what we could name the ideal of the superior music-lover of the 20th century. An important feature in Bach's works, as often in the polyphonicals works in the 17th century, is the complex rules of composition, and also a cabalistic or esoteric content whose musical significant is doubtful. The difference with the purely lyric content of Vivaldi's work, who create only musicals effects, is striking.
The musicologist Charles Rosen writes about the Art of the Fugue that this masterpiece must be learned at the time when it is played. It would be a score for eyes and not for ears. The importance and the real role of secret codes, hermeneutic symbols in art have been often denounced.
We can suppose in fact than this conceptual order is not intuitively perceived. This criticism reduce the credibility of the Cantor.
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All the efforts which were done to show the depth of Bach thanks to numerology on the contrary would show his superficiality. Thus, at the end of this analysis, Bach is contested by the double knowledge of recent musicology and sociology.
It is symptomatic to remark the considerable efforts of the musicographers to present Bach as a modern composer, an innovator, and so show his superiority, speech invalidate by the musicographic analysis. Curiously, the authors continue to assert the modernity of Bach in terms general and idealist and they recognize objectively his archaism when they consider the musical works. Generally, the same authors who flatter Bach provide objective arguments against elogies they have lavished. These arguments - on which our article is mainly founded - can consequently be exonerated of any partiality against Bach.
Jacques Loussier, le pianiste qui faisait swinguer Bach, est mort
Certain have liked to show Bach as a revolutionary composer : it is to know nothing about his real genius. Bach distrusts news forms The biggest confusion often appears in the notices about Bach because it is difficult to conciliate the ideological necessities and the musicological reality.
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This conflict between ideology and objective analysis appears yet in the 19th century. If the musician, who writes especially for the church and the courts, innovates little, however he gives to each form a perfection and an extensiveness never reached before he. Though its depth, its mastery, his interior lyrism, the art of Bach, ahead of his time, prepares all modern music, and representes its most important basis.
The work of Bach is not in its place into its time.
Dictionnaire usuel de la musique Honneger, Bordas, Paris, Arrived at the good time, heir of all acquisitions of past and at the same time completely warped towards future, he has, with genius, used all the resources of polyphony and has arranged it in harmonist yet entierely modern. The biographies are often the pilling up of stratums accumulated during the musical historiography, stratums whose elements can contradict themselves without embarrass the authors.
It appears rather than these novelties would be attributed to Scarlatti or Vivaldi. The would-be modernity of Bach, the boldness some assign to him appear hardly in keeping with the image of the man given by his biography according to the biographers , a laborious, religious, traditional man, who does not search originality, an image which is not in keeping with the image of an artist and opposed to the image high in colours of Vivaldi. In the same time, to contradict the criticism of coldness about intellectuual scores and especially to make Bach ahead of his time, the musicographers have tried to show he was, nevertheless his formalism, a romanticist, and there was a peculiar warmth in his counterpoint.
This tendency showed Bach in accordance with the new music conception considered as superior in 19th century: to create a deep emotion, touch the soul and not to represent a conceptual order perceived by intelligence or as a sensual pleasure, superficial, old obsolete conceptions. People want that the music give emotion and mind is not considered p Cannone, Belinda - Philosophies de la musique - Aux amateurs du Livre, Paris, Pirro absolutely wants to demonstrate that Bach was a passionate romanticist, this fact explaining why Bach was misunderstood by his contemporaries:.
The excessive boldness and the multiple strenght of his wild themes gave to his works an exaggerated character who seemed intolerable. This interpretation of this musicologist is very amazing if we know that Bach, during his life, according to biographers, was considered by everyone as an old wig , a traditionalist whose musical personality was dull Bach was a traditionalist, good counterpoint teacher and excellent player, but not more Bach composes a tumultuous music which talks about storms and desperation.
Then the readers will recognize, under the severe dress of the Cantor, the expressive musician, the wild and vehement forerunner of Beethoven and Richard Wagner. Melodic or rythmic forms are used by Bach to evoke joy, anger, pain, sorrow The speech has not changed to-day. About Art of fugue, Marc Vignal write in a book issued in This didactic score with extraordinary writing has such a great expressive beauty Dictionnaire de la musique Larousse, on the direction of Marc Vignal p.
Against the most elementary musicological evidences and to support the title of Father of music of the Cantor, some popularising books continue to assert the importance of Bach in establishing the tonal music. So in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica Chicago, last copyright : In the works of both Handel and Bach changes in technique reached a culmination with clear establishment of the tonal system, allowing for modulation from one key to another, primarily as a device for formal organisation vol 24, p. The relative prudence of certain musicologists to denounce in 20th century the excess of the Bach veneration can be explained by the natural weight of tradition, but also, we think, by a certain terrorism of thinking generally bound to religion or ideology.
Some have recently tried to change the religious perception of the composer. Bach did not escape at this necessary ideological revisionism. Some critics praise to-day the jubilation which, according to them, exists in the masterpiece of the Cantor. So, for them, the austere lutherian is more jovial than Vivaldi, the profane Venitian. The difference is probably that the joy of Vivaldi is of course superficial. Such a variation in comparison with the aesthetic philosophy of Forkel two centuries before can amaze.
Drouot - 7 • Musique, de Jean-Sébastien Bach à Boulez -
On the other hand, the conception Bach had of his musical activity seems close to the polyphonic tradition of the 16e century, in which the music does not have artistic intention. It would be the exploitation of a know-how linked to the instruments, to the musical theory The moderns biographers of Bach said that Bach, the artisan, consider the music as a technique than an art.
His works have more often a didactic motivation than artistic, the practical role joining the religious role. It is what showed the musicologics works about Bach which Ulrich Michels so evokes. Bach does not consider his creation work as a romanticist, as a masterpiece, but as an artisanaly art, which needs application, efforts, which allows to both learn and teach, all in the world of God.
Never a musical organisation stronger, more perfect than that of the Cantor of Leipzig has lived in the skull of a mortal Rebatet, Lucien, Une histoire de la musique, Laffont, Paris, To-day, everybody knows that his name is one of a musician that none overtakes, that none probably equals.
And the conductor W. Furtwangler, in a statement, summarize the phenomenon of sacralisation of Bach:. Bach is the saint who throne, inaccessible under the clouds, the greatest of musicians, the Homerus of music, whose light shines in the sky of musical Europe. Camille Mauclair notices rightly in La religion de la musique the exception that Bach represents in the speech of musicologists. The greatest composers are severely criticized : none perhaps, except Bach, is spared. It is also about Bach that we find at the highest degree the dogma of infallibility of the composer , as shows this quotation of Edmond Buchet in Connaissance de la musique :.
That I admire and that always astonished me in Bach is exactly this musical feeling thick, concise and inexhaustible of all his masterpieces. A particularly stricking example of the dogma of infallibility of the composer is supplied by Jacques Chailley. Luke Passion , as most musicologists All the biographers avoid the discussion and do not talk about the St. Luke Passion or mention it of doubtful authenticity. Nothing except the respect due to the great Bach. Because the work is bad.
Nothing shows the style of the master. In fact, this work is, as writes Chailley, autograph and it bears the signature JJ Jesu, Juva who, said Chailley, allow distinguish the own masterpieces of Bach from the innumerable copies he wrote otherwise.
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This attitude of the musicologist is curious because he considers as authentic without discussion the St. John Passion , which ten pages only are autograph fact which he is not ignorant of.
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The consideration of the aesthetic value of the masterpiece for the appreciation of the authenticity seems an inadmissible argument on the scientific level, even more so if the authenticity is established incontestable by material proofs the autography and the signature. Then, there is in most biographers a postulate of the greatness of Bach which overrides all objective consideration. It appears that many recent Music History books, and even dictionaries, generally respecting the objectivity of scientific books introduce as Pavlovian reflex about Bach judgments of value.
The terms sublime , genial , wonderful, marvellous are used even though they are generally not used for Vivaldi and most other composers. The idolatry about Bach since his revival cannot be contested. On the other hand, Vivaldi has never represented a myth, he is apparently known because his music is really appreciated, it is the reason why he represents - contrary to the opinion of most of commentators - a more solid and authentic value. The hiatus between the consideration of Bach by the intellectuals and the success more limited that he obtains in direction of the meloman public during his life and at his revival in the XIXth century is stricking.