Bach & God

ISBN : 9780190606954

Michael Marissen
288 ページ
140 x 210 mm

Bach & God explores the religious character of Bach's vocal and instrumental music in seven interrelated essays. Noted musicologist Michael Marissen offers wide-ranging interpretive insights from careful biblical and theological scrutiny of the librettos. Yet he also shows how Bach's pitches, rhythms, and tone colors can make contributions to a work's plausible meanings that go beyond setting texts in an aesthetically satisfying manner. In some of Bach's vocal repertory, the music puts a " on the words in a way that turns out to be explainable as orthodox Lutheran in its orientation. In a few of Bach's vocal works, his otherwise puzzlingly fierce musical settings serve to underscore now unrecognized or unacknowledged verbal polemics, most unsettlingly so in the case of his church cantatas that express contempt for Jews and Judaism. Finally, even Bach's secular instrumental music, particularly the late collections of " learned counterpoint, can powerfully project certain elements of traditional Lutheran theology. Bach's music is inexhaustible, and Bach & God suggests that through close contextual study there is always more to discover and learn.


Preface 000
Credits 000
Acknowledgments 000
Introduction 000

Part I: Basic Lutheranism in Cantatas
1. On the Musically Theological in Bach's Cantatas 000
2. Historically Informed Readings of the Librettos from Bach's Cantatas 000

Part II: Taking Up Anti-Judaism in Cantatas
3. Bach's Cantata on the Destruction of Jerusalem 000
4. Bach's Cantatas and the Jews in the Gospel of John 000

Part III: Not Taking Up Anti-Judaism in Passion Settings
5. Bach's St. John Passion and the Jews 000
6. Blood, People, and Crowds in Bach's St. Matthew Passion 000

Part IV: Religious Expression in Secular Chamber Music
7. The Theological Character of Bach's Musical Offering 000
Works Cited 000
Index 000


Michael Marissen is Daniel Underhill Professor Emeritus of Music at Swarthmore College, where he taught from 1989 to 2014. He has also been a visiting professor on the graduate faculties at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Social and Religious Designs of J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (Princeton, 1995), Lutheranism, anti-Judaism, and Bach's St. John Passion (Oxford, 1998), An Introduction to Bach Studies (co-author Daniel Melamed; Oxford, 1998), Bach's Oratorios (Oxford, 2008), Tainted Glory in Handel's Messiah (Yale, 2014), and essays in Lutheran Quarterly, Harvard Theological Review, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times.