By Isabella van Elferen
This ebook identifies the cultural and devotional conventions underlying expressions of mystical love in poetry and track of the German baroque. It sheds new gentle at the doubtless erotic overtones in settings of the tune of Songs and dialogues among Christ and the devoted soul in past due seventeenth- and early 18th-century cantatas by means of SchYtz, Buxtehude, and J.S. Bach.
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Additional resources for Mystical Love in the German Baroque: Theology, Poetry, Music (Contextual Bach Studies)
The texts to Schütz’s madrigals are mostly petrarchan love poems: ten of the nineteen madrigal texts are by Giambattista Marino, and the remaining poems include excerpts from Guarini’s Pastor Fido and two texts written by the composer himself. 12 Between 1610 and 1620 the German composers Johann Grabbe and Christian Clemsee also studied with Gabrieli. 13 Schütz’s Dresden pupils Gabriel Mölich (c. 1619),14 Caspar Kittel (1624–1629), and Christoph Bernhard (c. 1649–1650 and 1656–1658) also studied in Italy.
35 Castiglione’s descriptions illustrate the influence fashionable petrarchan poetry had on the discourse and concept of love in Renaissance courtly culture. 36 Finally, many artistic portraits of Francesco Petrarca and his Donna Laura continued to be created until well into the seventeenth century. MUSICAL PETRARCHISM IN THE MADRIGAL The musical genre of the madrigal, which was popular in Italy from the sixteenth century onwards, was closely associated with petrarchan love poetry. The texts set to this free song genre were almost exclusively petrarchan.
12 She is the poet’s sun, and with her enchanting eyes and blonde locks she is like an angel, but also like the Shulamith from the Song of Songs (verses 4, 6, 7) or the Virgin of medieval Marian poetry. The pictorial descriptions of Laura’s eyes, cheeks, hair, and neck convey the lover’s tender feelings, but at the same time provide a contrast to the heartache he suffers on account of this almost angelic, unattainable being. After Laura’s alleged death on April 6, 1348—21 years after the first meeting—the poet’s passion is transformed into a sublimated spiritual love.