Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Zwischen »schuldloser Freude« und »höherer Schönheit«

Einige unbekannte Quellen zur ästhetischen und literarischen Rezeption Carl Philipp Emanuel und Johann Sebastian Bachs in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts

Oktober 2012, 16. Jahrgang, Heft 64, pp 42-52

Between »Guiltless Joy« and »Higher Beauty«. Some Unknown Sources for the Aesthetic and Literary Reception of Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Sebastian Bach in the Second Half of the 18th Century

In the second half of the 18th century, music by members of the Bach family (in particular Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emanuel) increasingly became a subject in contemporary aesthetic discourses. Works by Bach and his sons served as models for depth, expressivity, and sublimity, and were discussed as typically »German« compositions that represented an alternative to popular Italian styles. The sources, all of them presented here for the first time, not only show the aesthetic view of the composers but also document the presence of their names outside of 18th-century musical literature. The casual way treatises like Johann Sucro´s book On Premonitions (1759) and August Rehberg´s Philosophical Dialogues about Pleasure (1785) introduce names of members of the Bach family shows that these composers were well-known among the educated middle classes. The texts also mark the transition from a view of C.P.E. Bach´s music as mere entertainment to an appreciation of his works as examples of the sublime.

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