Friday, October 16, 2009

Bach and a sense of the transcendent

I have received my copy of Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment, and am thoroughly enjoying it, although I have thus far only read a chapter. The book will go quickly. The review by Gene Edward Veith that inspired my purchase can be found here.

Near the end of the first chapter, the author James R. Gaines writes:
...Bach's Musical Offering leaves us, among other things, a compelling case for the following proposition: that a world without a sense of the transcendent and mysterious, a universe ultimately discoverable through reason alone, can only be a barren place; and that the music sounding forth from such a world might be very pretty, but it can never be beautiful. [p. 12]

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