Academic journal article Review of Artistic Education

Passion in the Work of Johann Sebastian Bach

Academic journal article Review of Artistic Education

Passion in the Work of Johann Sebastian Bach

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Passions are of an extremely important significance in composer's heritage by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750). Their importance lies not only in the number of songs, but in their exceptional artistic quality which appeals to the contemporary audience. Their importance lies in the deep philosophical message that the author passes to his audience by means of his music and that is perceived by a wide audience, from the religious and secular minded people. The deep Christian faith of the author is reflected in all the attributes of Bach's composer's poetics which is based on the principles of the period in which he lived, the principles that he remained faithful throughout his active composer's work. His passion represent the synthesis of the development of this music genre and Bach reached in it his peak, which has not been beaten by any of his contemporaries nor followers. His passion work is the culmination not only of the music development of passion, but it is also the culmination of the spiritual world that was shaped from the era of Luther reformation in the protestant world culture. He closed the line of ideas and thoughts declared by the great German reformer who in a significant way influenced the development of the European socio-cultural history and of European music.

2. The Development of Passion

At the era of Johann Sebastian Bach the passions experienced their peak period in the formation of Protestant church music. In Western European music culture is the history of passion connected with the history of sacred music. Their developmental line can be followed since the story of Jesus Christ, from his passion and death, his story was set to music, to Gregorian one voice chant, and then to more voice motet style, or to the combination of both styles - responsorial passion. After the division of West European Church to two confessions - Roman Catholic and Protestant - the development of passion has also been oriented in two directions75. The development of Protestant passion79 was in the beginning closely tied to the liturgy (Braun, 1997, p. 1469). In 1526 essential for the development of passion was the release of the principle of German Mass by Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)20 with the help of his advisor Johann Walter (1496 - 1570) in the field of music. Johann Walter with his two passions, St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion from 1545, based on the principle of four-voice choral singing of the Protestant text so called - turbae - laid the foundation for further development of Protestant Passion. Two other composers contributed in a significant way to the development of German passion music, Joachim a' Burck (1546 - 1610) and Leonard Lechner (approx. 1553 - 1606)27. Burck's Deutsche Passion (German passion) was the first passion published in 1568 before Walter, in the press (Abraham, 2003, p. 228). The other significant inter-stage in the development of Protestant passion is the work of Hans Leo Hassler (1564 - 1612) and Michael Praetorius (1571 - 1621), a significant music theoretician of the first third of 17th century.

Later the development of passion was most markedly influenced by Heinrich Schütz (1585 - 1672), the composer in who thanks to his Venetian school came to the crossing of Lutheran hymnody and Venetian structural elements. In addition he is an excellent author of spiritual concerts, such as Geistliche Konzerte22, and St. Luke Passion (1653), St. John Passion (1665) and St. Matthew Passion (1666) and he significantly contributed to the development of passion. He followed the principle of both West European confessions that in church there were not allowed musical instruments at the Holy Week. Heinrich Schütz added texts in his passions that were not from Holy Bible: Exordium - in the introduction "Listen about the Pain " - Höret das Leiden - and in the Conclusion - Conclusio - thanksgiving - Gratiarum actio.

There was another personality who together with H. …

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