The Arrested Procession

Karol Berger

in Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780520250918
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933699 | DOI:
The Arrested Procession

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This chapter discusses the opening chorus of the St. Matthew Passion. The chorus is based on a da capo aria text, and its shape makes sense only against the background of the generic conventions that govern Bach's da capo arias. The chapter begins by reconstructing these conventions, heard against the background of which, the chorus can be seen to possess an extraordinary conceit, namely, an ending that conflates into a single phrase what normally is presented in successive ones. It makes simultaneous what should be successive: abolishing the succession of past, present, and future in favor of the simultaneity of the present, thus neutralizing the flow of time in favor of the eternal Now.

Keywords: St. Matthew Passion; opening chorus; da capo arias; flow of time; simultaneity

Chapter.  6808 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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