"Musikalisches Opfer" or Bach versus Frederick the Great and the Enlightenment Cover Image
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"Musikalisches Opfer", czyli Bach kontra Fryderyk Wielki i Oświecenie
"Musikalisches Opfer" or Bach versus Frederick the Great and the Enlightenment

Author(s): Józef Majewski
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Philosophy, 17th Century
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego
Keywords: Christianity; faith; musical sermon; reason; Enlightenment; the West
Summary/Abstract: Today, Bach’s music enjoys a huge interest and popularity in the West. However, this situation is paradoxical – it hides a certain contradiction. The progressive, liberal and secular West is an heir of the ideas of the Enlightenment, while “Bach, in his unswerving religious conservatism, was living and working very much at odds with the progressivist currents of his day, and ours” (Michael Marissen). The author of this paper focuses on Bach’s anti-Enlightenment attitude, presenting it mainly on the basis of the instrumental masterpiece Musikalisches Opfer BWV 1079. Towards the end of his article, with the help of Emil Cioran, John M. Coetzee, Ingmar Bergman and Zuzana Růžičkova, the author suggests an answer to the question why the music of Bach, an enemy of the Enlightenment, not only enjoys such a huge popularity, but is also treated in the Enlightened West as the work of the grandest music genius of the human race – one ranking among its best achievements.

  • Page Range: 229-244
  • Page Count: 16
  • Publication Year: 2022
  • Language: Polish