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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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Between Incoherence and Inauthenticity

Between Incoherence and Inauthenticity

Don Giovanni and Faust

(p.241) 6 Between Incoherence and Inauthenticity
Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow

Karol Berger

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the entire opera Don Giovanni, which explores the liberal, individualist component of the modern outlook. Don Giovanni, the embodiment of limitless desire, is one of perhaps only two mythical figures born of the modern age (the other being Faust), a figure of the liberal Lockean strand within modernity that accepts and celebrates our endlessly acquisitive stance. Absolute, unlimited freedom, however, defeats any attempt to create a coherent self or a community. Don Giovanni's is a story of how the foundations of human individual and collective autonomy were laid, one which bears comparison with The Marriage of Figaro on the one hand, and of the Passion, on the other. It also bears comparison with the story of Goethe's Faust, a figure driven by will to power rather than merely erotic desire.

Keywords:   Don Giovanni, Faust, Mozart, modernity, absolute freedom, Marriage of Figaro

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