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Bach's Cycle, Mozart's ArrowAn Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity$
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Karol Berger

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520250918

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520250918.001.0001

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The Arrested Procession

The Arrested Procession

(p.45) 1 The Arrested Procession
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow

Karol Berger

University of California Press

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

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