Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's ArrowAn Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Karol Berger

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520250918

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520250918.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022



LʼOrfeo, or the Anxiety of the Moderns

(p.19) Prelude
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow

Karol Berger

University of California Press

The shift in the fundamental attitudes toward musical time did not occur suddenly within the few decades separating the two composers Bach and Mozart. Rather, both shifts extended over several centuries. This chapter offers an interpretation of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, a work that captures conflicting attitudes toward an early stage of emerging modernity. L'Orfeo was a vote of confidence for musical modernity. However, it was a half-hearted sort of confidence, affirming the values of modern harmony only as a consolation prize for the early modern subject defeated in his quest for autonomy. Almost two centuries had to pass for modern self-confidence to grow sufficiently to allow us to imagine a successful quest for autonomy, an Orpheus who triumphs in life, as in Mozart's The Magic Flute, rather than in death.

Keywords:   Bach, Mozart, L'Orfeo, Monteverdi, musical modernity, Magic Flute, Orpheus

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.