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"Wo gehest du hin?" BWV 166: Aria (Tenor) : "Ich will an den Himmel denken"

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Drum folget Gott und sei Cantata No. O du angene Cantata No. So wi Cantata No. Und di Cantata No. Sing, bet Cantata No. Wo treff ich mein Cantata No. So sei, o Seele, se Cantata No. Die Welt, das Cantata No. Wie jammern mich doc Cantata No. Wer sollte sic Cantata No. Mir ekelt mehr zu le Cantata No. Gott, wie d Cantata No. Herr, so weit Cantata No. Jesus soll me Cantata No.

Full text of "J.S. Bach"

Und da Cantata No. Eschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinge Cantata No. Wer mich liebet Cantata No. Heiligste Dreieinigkeit Cantata No. O Seelenparadies Cantata No. Gott will, o ihr Menschenkinde Cantata No. So hat Gott die Welt geliebt Cantata No. Unendlichster, den man d Cantata No. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Cantata No. Ich bitt noch mehr, o Cantata No. Ich lieg im Streit u Cantata No. Wo Gott der Herr Cantata No.

Wa Cantata No. Gleichwie die wilde Cantata No. Sie stellen uns w Cantata No. Au Cantata No. Schweig, schweig nu Cantata No. Die Feind sind al Cantata No. Das heutge Chri Cantata No. Falscher Heuchler Ebe Cantata No. Wer so von inne Cantata No. Liebster Gott, erbarm Cantata No. Ich armer Mensch, i Cantata No. Ermuntre dich Cantata No. But we must first of all get away from the conventional verbal formulae that here, as else- where, stand in the way of better knowledge.

We classify the arts according to the material they use in order to express the world around them. One who ex- presses himself in tones is called a musician; one who em- ploys colours, a painter; one who uses words, a poet. This, however, is a purely external division. In reality, the material in which the artist expresses himself is a secondary matter. He is not only a painter, or only a poet, or only a musician, but all in one. Various artists have their habitation in his soul. His work is the product of their cooperation; all have a part in each one of his ideas.

The distinction consists only in this, that one idea is domi- nated by one of these artists, another by another of them, and they always choose the language that suits them best. It may happen that the "other artist" and the pos- sibilities of the "other language" assume so prominent a place in their consciousness that they are at variance with themselves, not knowing which art they really ought to cultivate. It was so with Goethe, who, on his return from Wetzlar, did not know whether he should devote himself Poetry and Painting. My eye, practised in detecting the pictorial and super- pictorial beauties of the landscape, revelled in the view of the tufted rocks, the sunny summits, the moist ground, the towering castles and the blue hills smiling in the distance.

I wandered on the right bank of the stream that flowed along in the sunlight at some distance below me, partly hidden by thick willows. The old desire sprang up in me to be able to paint these things worthily. I chanced to have a fine pocket-knife in my left hand; all at once I heard an imperious command from the depths of my soul to throw the knife into the stream. If it fell into the water, my desire to be an artist would be satisfied; if its immersion were hidden from me by the overhanging willows, I should renounce the desire. The whim was carried out as quickly as it was conceived.

Without any regard for the usefulness of the knife, which was of a com- posite kind, I threw it as far as I could into the stream with my left hand. But I experienced that deceptive ambiguity of oracles about which the ancients used to complain so bitterly. The furthest willows prevented my seeing my knife fall into the stream, but the water leaped up like a fountain and was perfectly visible to me.

I did not interpret the phenomenon in my favour, and the doubt it awoke in me had the unfortunate consequence that I henceforth pursued my studies in painting more negligently and intermittently, thereby fulfilhng the judgment of the oracle myself. His designs indeed are amateurish, and his understanding of the masterpieces of painting is not so complete as he himself thought it was.

But he sees and depicts everything like a painter. He is always congratulating himself on the gift of seeing the world with the eye of a painter, whose pictures were 10 XX. Venice appeared to him as a succession of pictures by the Venetian school. The unfathomable mystery of his style is the way in which a couple of sen- tences, without any real attempt at description on his part, will bring the whole scene as it appeared to him before the eye of the reader, suggesting to him all kinds of things he neither sees nor hears, but which he can no more forget than if they had been actually part of his own experience.

In Faust we have a succession not so much of scenes as of vivid pictures. Goethe paints his own portrait at different periods of his life, against an idyllic, naive, tragic, burlesque, fantastic or allegorical background. His land- scapes are not merely built up out of words ; like the painter, he has really seen them all, and he employs words like resonant spots of colour, in such a way that they conjure up the living scene before the reader's eye.

Many other authors since Goethe's time have passed from painting to verbal description and remained pictorial in essence, though choosing the material in which they could best depict the world as they saw it. Taine is cer- tainly a painter. We can only understand rightly the loose and yet wonderfully clear structure of Gottfried Keller's stories when we realise that it is not the poet but the dramatic painter who guides the pen. In Michel- angelo, again, who is the greater, — the poet or the painter? We call Heine our greatest lyrist. Should we not call him, from the standpoint of "the universal art", the most in- spired painter among the lyric poets?

Bocklin is a poet who has got among the painters. It is the poetic imagina- tion that has led him to the fictions of his wonderful but in the last resort unreal landscapes. His visions master him to such an extent that impossibilities in the com- position, even errors of drawing that are at first sight disconcerting, are matters of indifference to him. He had recourse to pencil and palette because he thought he could thus reproduce most vividly his poems of the elemental forces.

His paintings are in the last resort symbols of poems Poetry and Painting. II that were inexpressible in words. It is thus quite natural that the reaction against him comes from the French painters, who, with their objective realism, have no sym- pathy with such a relation of poetry and painting, and combat an art showing tendencies of this kind from the standpoint of absolute painting, just as the partisans of absolute music make war on the music that bases itself on poetry.

The painter cannot do otherwise than criticise with almost unjust harshness Bocklin's picture of the plague, in the Basel Museum. But if we let the picture — that almost seems like the drawing of a child of genius — appeal to us as poetry, we see at once its real greatness. The essential distinction between German and French painting comes from this attitude towards poetry. Anyone who comes in contact with artists of both countries, and analyses the first impressions of German artists in Paris and the impressions of French artists at the sight of German works, and tries to see to the root of the unjust judgments on both sides, will soon observe that the difference in their views has its origin in the difference of their attitudes towards poetry.

The German painter is more of a poet than the French. Therefore French painting reproaches German painting with a lack of real, objective feeling for nature, German painting, on the other hand, in spite of its admiration for the splendid technique of the French, feels somewhat chilled by a kind of deliberate poverty of imagination that it detects in it.

In literature these con- trasted ways of looking at nature have given Germany a splendid lyrical poetry that the French have never been able to achieve. Painting, then, is suffused with poetry, and poetry with painting. The quality of either of the arts at a given moment depends on the strength or the weakness of this inter-coloration. As regards their means of expression each of them passes into the other by imperceptible gradations.

It is the same with music and poetry. We reckon Schiller among the poets. He himself held that he was really a 12 XX. Poetic Music and Pictorial Music, musician. On the 25th May he writes to Korner: "When! His description is sonorous, but pictorially unreal, pre- senting no living scene to the reader's eye. His land- scapes are really all theatre decorations. Lamartine, again, is a musician, because he suggests rather than paints.

Nietzsche's experience with music was like Goethe's with painting. He thought it a duty he owed to his talents to experiment in composition. His musical works, however, are of even less importance than Goethe's drawings. How can these awkward creations entitle him to the name of musician?

Yet a musician he was. His works are sym- phonies. The musician does not read them; he hears them, as if he were going through an orchestral score. What he sees are not words and letters, but themes developing and interlacing. In Jenseits von Gut und Bose he even finds those little fugued intermezzi into which Beethoven often diverges.

Wherein does this quality exist? Who can analyse it? In any case Nietzsche himself had a full con- sciousness of the musical essence of his poetic creations. This is why he used to get so angry with the modern man who "leaves his ears in a drawer", and merely skims the pages of a book with this eyes. Moreover, it is evident from the clear connection of the ideas, through all their apparent incoherence and disconnection, that the poet of Also sprach Zarathustra worked out his ideas not in word- logic but in tone-logic, as musical motives. After having brought an idea to its definite conclusion and apparently finished with it, he will suddenly bring it in once more without the least warning, just as the musician picks up a theme again.

The great masters of the Italian Renaissance, he says in one place, "were almost all musicians, and it is the spirit of music that makes us forget, when we are lost in contemplation of their saints and martyrs, that we are actually seeing with our eyes. Neither in painting, nor in music, nor in poetry is there such a thing as an absolute art that can be regarded as the norm, enabling us to brand all others as false, for in every artist there dwells another, who wishes to have his own say in the matter, the difference being that in one his activity is obtrusive, and in another hardly noticeable.

Herein resides the whole distinction. Art in itself is neither painting nor poetry nor music, but an act of creation in which all three cooperate. The close and tense relation in which the arts stand among each other gives each of them a desire for expansion, that allows the art no peace until it has attained its utmost possible limit. Then it is further impelled to appropriate a portion of the territory of another art. Not only does music try to paint and narrate like the two other arts; they in their turn do likewise. Poetry tries to paint pictures that really need to be taken in by the eye, and painting tries to seize not only the visible scene but the poetic feeling underlying it.

For this reason pictorial and poetic tendencies have in all epochs exercised a pernicious influence upon music, and have given birth to a false art, that imagined it could express objects and ideas which it is far beyond the powers of music to render. This false music lives by pretensions and self-deception. Its arrogant view of itself as the only perfect music has always brought it into discredit.

It thus becomes comprehensible how some people could look with suspicion upon poetic and pictorial intentions in music, ai d in times of danger adopt the motto of "ab- solute music", this being the banner of pure art they hoisted over the works of Bach and Beethoven, — errone- ously and inappropriately as it happens. But not only is the creative art complex; our reception of it is not less so. In every true artistic perception there come into action all the feelings and ideas of which a man is capable.

The process is multiform, though it is only in the rarest cases that the subject has any inkling of what is going on in his imagination, and what mental overtones complicate the ground tone which, as it seems to him, exclusively occupies his attention. Many a man erroneously thinks he sees a picture whereas he really hears it, his artistic emotions arising from the music — perhaps silent — that he perceives in the scene represented on the canvas. Anyone who does not hear the bees in Didier-Pouget's picture of the flowery heath does not see it with the eye of the artist.

Again, anyone who is not fascinated by the most ordinary painting of a pine wood — hearing the infinite distant symphonies of the wind sweeping over the tree-tops, — sees only as half a man, i. So again in music. Musical sensibility is to some extent a capacity for tone-visions, of whatever kind it may be, — whether it deals with lines, ideas, forms, or events. Asso- ciations of ideas are always going on where we would not suspect them.

Blending of the Arts in the Imagination. The majority would confess that they had felt themselves transported into the vast nave of a church, and saw the sunlight streaming through the windows of the choir into the twilight of the building. We all poetise more than we are apt to imagine. This can be shewn by a simple experiment. Try to look but not hear, and to hear but not let any visual associations step over the threshold of consciousness, and the other artist in us, whom we imagined to be uninterested, will at once spring up and demand his rights.

Every artistic feeling is really an act. Artistic creation is only a special case of the artistic attitude towards the world. Some men have the faculty of reproducing in speech, colours, tones, or words the artistic impression made on them and many others by what goes on in the world around them.. It is not so much that these are more fundamentally artists than the others, but only that they can speak and the others are dumb.

When we see the passionate effect m. Art is the translation of aesthetic associations of ideas. The more complexly and intensely the conscious and unconscious concepts and ideas of the artist communicate themselves to us through his art-work, the deeper is the impression. It is then that he succeeds in stimulating others to that vivacity of imaginative feeling which we call art, in contradistinction to what we hear and see and ex- perience in our ordinary moments. The part of a work of art that is perceptible by the senses is in reality only the intermediator between two active efforts of the imagination.

All art speaks in signs and symbols. No one can explain how it happens that the l6 XX. No artistic speech is the adequate expression of what it represents; its vital force comes from what is unspoken in it. In poetry and painting this is less noticeable, since the language of each of these arts is also the language of daily life. We need, however, only read a poem by Goethe, and test the words of which it consists by the wealth of suggestions that they arouse in us, to see at once that words in art become suggestive symbols, by means of which the imaginations of two artists hold converse to- gether.

We cannot estimate how much the spectator must add of his own before a coloured canvas can become a landscape. An etching, indeed, makes extraordinary demands on the imagination, for the representation in black and white is only a symbol of the landscape, and has no more reality than a symbol. And yet this symbolical delineation is, for anyone who can interpret it, perhaps the most potent means of conjuring up the faculty of complete vision.

In this way there comes into painting, in the place of the naive "This is", the noteworthy "This signifies" of artistic speech. It will be learned and assimilated by familiarity. It even happens at times that the speech fails, the symbols not being clear to the spectator, and appearing merely as agglomerations of lines and colours, — either because the artist has put more into them than they can express, or because the spectator has not caught the secret of his speech.

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In music the expression is wholly symbolical. Inadequacy of Artistic Expression. The latest researches into the physiology of musical sensation do not help us in the least ; they merely conquer for musical aesthetic a wonderful colonial territory, which, however, to the end of time will yield it nothing.

Before long it addresses to the imagination of the hearer pretensions which, with the best will in the world, cannot be admitted, and comes violently into collision with the more suggestive element in artistic speech. It is wrong, however, to imagine that so-called pure music speaks a language that is not symbolical, and that it expresses something of which the meaning is unequivocal. It too appeals to the hearer's power of imagination, only that it is concerned more with abstract feeling and abstract beauty of line than with concrete expression.

Only in this way does it become possible for the poetic imagination to make itself intel- ligible, so far as it can, to the musical imagination. As a rule we employ the criterion of immediate intel- ligibility, and, from the standpoint of absolute music, will oiily allow that art to be valid that appeals immediately to the unprepossessed and unprepared hearer. This would make perfect tone-speech an impossibility. It is like refusing to recognise a foreign language as a language unless it is immediately intelligible to every one at a first hearing. Every language subsists only by a convention, in virtue of which a certain sensation or idea is regarded as corresponding to a certain aggregation of sounds.

It is the same in music. Schweitzer, Bach. Few composers, however, have been great enough to fashion a language for themselves in which they could express intelligibly the concrete part of their ideas. The others, whenever they venture outside the limits of the generally accepted moods, begin to wander in their speech, though they still think themselves intel- ligible.

Finally they add a programme to their music, that hangs out of its mouth like the strips on which the primitive painters used to indicate what their characters were saying. This naive descriptive music is to be found not only in the past. The average modern and even the most up-to-date symphonic poem is just as naive, no matter how great may be its inventive and technical power, since here also a concreteness of expression is claimed that in reality has not been long attained, and is, in general, unattainable by music.

This is, in fact, the tragedy of music, that it can only express with limited intelligibility the concrete image from which it has sprung. From the indefiniteness of the tone- picture itself, however, we must not conclude a correspond- ing indefiniteness of the fancy that prompted it, and claim that music of this kind is the absolute music.

We have a warning example in Weber's Konzertstuck. On the terrace of the castle stands the chatelaine, looking sadly into the distance. Her husband is with the Crusaders in the Holy Land. She has no news of him. Is he dead? Will she see him again? She sees him lying on the battlefield, abandoned, wounded. The blood flows from his wounds and she cannot hasten to his side! Tumult and the glittering The Explanation of Music. They draw nearer. They are knights carrying the cross. The banners wave, the people break out into cries of joy, and he is there! She runs to meet him. He embraces her. Wood and field add their jubilant cries to the hymn of faithful love.

Had it not been preserved by accident, no one would have imagined the events depicted in the Konzert- stuck, and it would naturally be regarded as a piece of pure music. Beethoven's works were also written under the impression of definite scenes, in spite of the fact that they are claimed to be pure music. The E major sonata op. More particularly in his latest chamber music we have a strong feeling that the musical sequence of ideas is determined by a poetic mood of some kind; we have however, no hints by which we can definitely reconstruct from the music the situation the composer had in his mind.

Liszt improvised best when his imagination had been set working by the perusal of poetry. Hanslick, in his Vom Musikalisch- Schonen, does indeed recognise facts of this kind, but considers this kind of composing "in leading strings" to poetry, as distinct from "pure" musical invention, to be merely exceptional. The knowledge of the concrete ideas from which the music arose is of no consequence for our understanding of it.

It is the work alone that lies before us, without any com- mentary; and just as the jurist ignores everything that is not embodied in acts and deeds, so nothing exists for the aesthetic judgment that lies outside the work of art. Certainly only the pure music lies before us. But this is only the hieroglyph, in which are recorded the emotional qualities of the visions of the concrete im- agination. This hieroglyph appeals perpetually to the fancy of the hearer, requiring it to translate the drama of the emo- tions back again into concrete events, and to find a path along which he can see, as well as he can, the line that has been taken by the creative imagination of the com- poser.

Notable musicians have confessed that they could not grasp the latest works of Beethoven. This derogates neither from them nor from Beethoven; it only implies that their imagination had no point of contact with his. The ordinary hearer is easily satisfied. The poorest little anecdote is enough to put him "in the mood of the work", and to find everything in it that he is expected to find. It is not so long since that the attempt was made to popularise Beethoven's sonatas and Mendelssohn's Lieder ohne Worte by giving them suggestive titles. We have become more unfeeling now, and will not tolerate attempts of this kind to place the creative fancy on its legs.

We care for nothing that has not come from our knowledge of the tongue the composer speaks, or from our own poetic intuition, and that has this mark of truth in it, that it is inexpressible and so cannot be made intelligible to anyone else. Only the greatest artists have the right to show others the path their own imagination followed when listening to a piece of music. The Poetical Element in Beethoven. In the introductory adagio we have an expression of melan- choly on wakening at dawn. This is overcome. In the presto Beethoven turns his "unspeakably cheerful glance" on the outer world.

He gazes reflectively upon life. After the short adagio, — "a sombre meditation" — he awakes, and in the final allegro "strikes the strings to a dance that the world had never heard before. Nevertheless Wagner's interpretation is not a "commentary" to be made merry over like the ordinary musical interpretation.

Here it is a case of "the poet speaks". Just as there are painters and musicians among the poets, so there are poets and painters among the musicians. They become clearly distinguished from each other in pro- portion as the "other artist" is able to assert himself in their conceptions. Poetic music deals more with ideas, pictorial music with pictures; the one appeals more to the feeling, the other to our faculty of representation. The incoherency of the discussion upon tone-painting, pro- gramme music and representative music has been due in great part to the fact that no account has been taken of the two main currents in music that now flow parallel to each other, now cross each other, — it being assumed that every sin against pure music was of the same order.

Beethoven and Wagner belong more to the poets. Bach, Schubert and Berlioz more to the painters.

Bach was probably taught in Lneburg by the organist Georg Bhm, a

Beethoven is often called a poet by Wagner, who thinks that the awakening of "the other artist" in him was the crucial point of his career. Schriften, IX, ii8. The successive symphonies relate the longing of music to trans- cend its own element and become universal art, until at last, in the ninth symphony, it seized upon speech, worked out its own salvation, and united the severed arts in one.

We may look at the introduction of the chorus at the end of the ninth symphony in another light, — regarding it as an error, the end of the symphony rather than the beginning of the genuine music-drama: but this does not affect the justice of Wagner's view of Beethoven's musical development. Perhaps Wagner has interpreted Beethoven too much in terms of himself. In reality Beethoven's fancy is much more pictorial than Wagner's. Compare their ways of expressing themselves verbally, which is always a clue to the process of formation of a man's ideas.

Wagner has nothing of Beethoven's abrupt, drastic style. He hardly ever uses pictures, — differing here, again, from Berlioz, whose mind is crowded with them. For a musician, Wagner's writing, as a rule, is unusually rational. The pic- torial bias usually predominates among musicians, as their conversation shows. When they wish to explain anything, they have recourse to pictures, heap one comparison upon another, mix the appropriate and inappropriate together, employ the strangest expressions, and then think they have made what is inexpressible in the idea comprehen- sible.

Those who, like Wagner, aim only at expressing the emotional quintessence of the idea, are rather excep- tional. Even Schumann expresses himself more pictorially than Wagner. The latter is never purely realistic, either in his prose or his music. SchrifUn, III, The Poetical Element in Wagner. He maintains that the ideal creative quality of Renais- sance painting decayed in proportion as it got out of touch with religion. He seriously maintains that since that period it has continuously declined. He wishes his own pictorial music to appeal not to the imagination but to the emotions.

Even when the music expresses something visual, the pictorialism is not an end in itself but symbolical of an idea. He would prefer to dispense altogether with the plastic imagination, and set bodily before the spectator's eye the action that is being emotionally represented in music.

According to him, the true tone-picture is the music of the drama. So that Wagner is opposed to what is generally looked upon as tone-painting, since this does not aim at the simultaneous bewitching of the senses by the music and the visible presentation of the object that the music describes.

They get their characteristic quality from a basic chord that mounts up out of the ocean of harmony as the idea emerges from the depths of feeling. His modulations are not simply musical, but have a poetic significance. In the true sense they are only necessary when they correspond to something that happens in the domain of feeling. The art of a Schubert or a Berlioz is much more materialistic. Of course they express emotions; but when they become wholly characteristic they hold to the picture for its own sake. Schriften, IV, In the accom- paniments to Schubert's songs there is more realistic tone- painting than in all Wagner's music dramas.

Berlioz's pictorialism is even more apparent. His art has nothing whatever in common with Wagner's ; it follows quite a different path. For Berlioz the perfection of tone- painting is not the pure expression of feeling, but ex- travagant delineation. His music is directed to the ex- ternalities of the event. Even when he is writing for the stage he aims at the obtrusive clearness of programme music. We see the thing simultaneously in a double form — on the stage and in the music; Wagner gives it to us only once, but complete, the music not reproducing the visible action itself, but expressing the emotional correlative of the event, which would otherwise remain unexpressed.

It was this attachment to the external that made Wagner unable to understand Berlioz's music. In the moving love- scene in the Romeo and Juliet s5miphony, he tells us, he was at first enchanted by the development of the main themes. During the course of the movement the enchant- ment evaporated, till he experienced absolute discomfort. The themes of Schubert and Berlioz are not so har- monic in essence as those of Wagner. They are not, like these, founded on a certain basic harmony. They have their origin in the pictorial imagination; they are like the characteristic lines of a draughtsman.

V, Structure of Bach's Musical Phrases. None the less it reveals the essential difference in nature between the two kinds of music. The pictorial element in Schubert and Berlioz is not always sufficiently distinctive for us to contrast them decisively with Wagner.

In spite of all the difference between them, they have this in common with them, and with post-Beethovenian music in general, that they express in tones a poetic sequence of ideas, whether in the form of a song or in that of a programme, and do not confine themselves, as in essentially pictorial music, to seizing a feeling or an event in one pregnant moment and painting it from its picturesque side, without any concern for the moment before or the moment after. They undertake to follow in detail the adventures of a poem, and are con- sequently poetic musicians.

Bach does not do this. He is the most consistent representative of pictorial music, — the direct antipodes of Wagner. These two are the poles between which all "characteristic" music resolves. This is evident even in externalities.

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The structure of his musical phrase does not merely fit more or less the structure of the poetic phrase, but is identical with it. In this respect we may contrast Bach with Handel. Bach Fischbacher, Paris, , which confirms and com- pletes, in the most gratifying way, the conclusions arrived at in the present volume. There always results a certain antagonism between the rhythm of the two factors.

We get the impression that if we were to let a HandeHan theme fall to the ground, the tone-melody and the word-melody would separate under the shock; whereas a Bach phrase would remain unbroken and inseparable, his musical phrase being only the verbal phrase re-cast in tone. His music is indeed not so much melodic as declamatory. He is what Guido Adler maintains Wagner is, a product of the great music of the Renaissance. The melodic impression his phrases make on us is due to his clear and consummate sense of form.

Though he thought declamatorily, he could not help writing melodically. A vocal theme of Bach's is a declamatorily conceived phrase, that by accident, as if by a marvel perpetually repeated, assumes melodic form, whether it be a recitative, an arioso, an aria, or a chorus. His texts, regarded from the stand- point of form, were as unapt for music as any that could be imagined. A Biblical verse does not fall into any musical period, not even a verbal one, for it has its origin not in a rhythmical feeling but in the necessities of translation. It was no better with the original texts given him by his librettists.

These again have no inner unity, being painfully pieced together out of reminiscences of the Bible and the hymn-books. But when we read the same sen- tences in Bach's music, they all at once fall into definite musical phrases. The declamatory unity of tone and word in Bach re- minds us of Wagner. While, however, it is self-evident in the latter, the verbal phrase itself being musically con- ceived, so that the music only adds the intervals, as it were, in Bach the phenomenon is more wonderful — the music seems to confer a higher vital power on the words, divests them of their lowly associations, and shows them Structure of Bach's Musical Phrases.

This marvel is so perpetually repeated in the cantatas and Passions that we come to regard it as a matter of course. But the more deeply we penetrate into Bach, the more we are filled with the ever-renewed and ever-increasing astonishment that the thoughtful soul feels in presence of those daily occurrences of nature that are at the same time the greatest marvels. If we have once absorbed a Biblical verse in Bach's setting of it, we can never again conceive it in any other rhythm. It is impossible for anyone who knows the St. No one who knows the cantata Nun komm der Heiden Heiland No.

Even if he has forgotten the actual intervals, the musical ground-plan of the passage has become, after several hearings, so much the plan of the passage itself, that it is impossible to think of the one without the other. It would be incorrect to suppose that in every good musi- cal setting the music has the same power of persistence.

It is not found in the same degree in anyone but Wagner — not even in Schubert. The extraordinary thing is that in Bach's music the reminiscence depends less on the intervals than on the accents and quantities of the declama- tion itself; although, of course, his themes are so charac- teristic and drastic in their intervals that they are mem- orable from this side as well. One of the most remarkable examples of his declamation is the arioso-like opening recitative of the cantata Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fdlU No.

Ill, Even when Bach's music is more aria-like in structure, it still retains this purely declamatory quality. Recite, for example, the first aria of the cantata Selig ist der Mann No. If the verse he is setting has rhyme and a regular length of line, he passes over these and fastens upon the inner form of the passage. His musical phrase is never dominated by the recurrence of the rhyme.

In the text of the aria in the Si. Matthew Passion: "Game will ich mich bequemen Kreuz und Becher anzunehmen Trink ich doch dem Heiland nach", it seems almost impossible for music to rise superior to the rhyme. Bach succeeds, however, by his distribution of the accents and the intervals, in so diverting our attention from it that we are unconscious of it when it is properly sung. The first "ich" must be accented, as the music in- dicates, and as its relation to the previous arioso, "Der Heiland fallt", obviously demands. His Declamation in the Recitatives.

Any one who goes through the separate voices of Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft No. Effective as his method is, it does not always seem natural at first sight. Often, indeed, Bach's way of turning a passage into music seems quite unnatural ; rhythm, struc- ture, accents, syllabic values, — all give at first the im- pression of being wrong. The syllable that would ordinarily receive the main accent is, if possible, merged and lost in the shadow of the unaccented part of the bar; another one, of no value at all, is thrown into high relief by some striking interval; we find no pause just where we would expect one.

Thus every stroke that Bach makes in order to bring out the musical form of the phrase is, considered by itself, incomprehensible. Nor would it be difficult to show that in some of his recitatives or arias Bach has sinned here and there against the natural accent. When, however, we look at the piece as a whole, singing the notes with freedom and at the same time with the quantities Bach has allotted to them, we see it in relief, — as it were in a kind of acoustical perspective, — of which detailed analysis could convey no idea.

This art defies narrow scrutiny.

It rests on an intuitive appreciation of the cooperation of the details, the total effect of which is seen by the composer at a glance. XII, The discussion that followed 30 XXI. Bach converts into tone not only the body but the soul of the verbal passage. This is clearly seen in his har- monisations of the chorales. The greatest masters of the chorale-piece, Eccard, Praetorius and others, harmonised the melody; Bach harmonised the words.

For him the chorale-melody by itself is indefinite in character; it only acquires a personality when aUied with a definite text, the nature of which he wiU express in his harmonies. Weber long ago saw that the chorale-movements of the cantatas and Passions are not purely musical. Bach's son Philipp Emmanuel had published them without the corresponding texts.

He had no perception of his father's poetic intentions. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Abt Vogler's mathematical-aesthetic system of harmony was exciting general admiration, Weber, his pupil, thought he owed it to the honour of his teacher to show that he had also surpassed old Bach in the chorale-movement, gohig more systematically to work than the cantor, — the astonishing thing being that the latter, without knowing Vogler's system, should have written such rich harmonies.

Part I, , Part II, See B.