Spontini and the City: Bach and Musical Politics in Berlin
In April 1828, Gaspare Spontini conducted a concert spirituel at the Berlin Opera that included sections of the Credo from J. S. Bach's Mass in B minor and the Kyrie and Gloria from Beethoven's Missa solemnis. Spontini was Italian by birth, had conquered Parisian opera houses, and was at the time Generalmusikdirektor of the Berlin Opera. Amidst turbulent controversy and consequent intrigues, Spontini's decision to pair Bach and Beethoven on the program encoded the concert with an overt political statement? The two giants of German music would be viewed in the context of the wider nationalistic politics surrounding German music in general and opera in particular in the first half of the nineteenth century. This essay places Spontini's concert in the context of the early nineteenth-century Bach revival that preceded Mendelssohn's much anticipated performance of the St. Matthew Passion by almost a year.
Papanikolaou, Eftychia, "Spontini and the City: Bach and Musical Politics in Berlin" (2018). College of Musical Arts Faculty Publications. 14.
The German Quarterly
Start Page No.
End Page No.