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Cherubino's LeapIn Search of the Enlightenment Moment$
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Richard Kramer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226377896

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226384085.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

Hearing the Silence

Hearing the Silence

On a Much-Theorized Moment in a Sonata by Emanuel Bach

Chapter:
(p.42) 3 Hearing the Silence
Source:
Cherubino's Leap
Author(s):

Richard Kramer

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226384085.003.0003

The Sonata in F Minor by Emanuel Bach was first published in 1781 in the third collection “für Kenner und Liebhaber,” but composed (in some form or other) as early as 1763. The entire sonata generated much critical acclaim in the 1770s and 1780s. However, it was the second movement, an Andante, that caused considerable head-scratching during the efforts to reclaim Bach's music toward the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. This chapter explores that deeply enigmatic moment lodged in the midst of the second movement—a discomfiting silence at measure 27. On the one hand, the speculative mind will wonder if we can be meant to hear in this silence some self-evident, if suppressed, music; and further, whether there is an intention inscribed in its invisible, inaudible subtext that would encourage such a hearing. On the other, the positivist will read Bach's text literally, insisting upon the specificity of the silence for what it is, as a thing in itself.

Keywords:   Emanuel Bach, Sonata in F Minor, Enlightenment, classical music, silence, andante, second movement

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