YouTube Playlist of St. Matthew’s Passion

Translation of the Libretto

General Introduction
– What’s on the blog?
– Yet more on Church Music
– Take that, rival podcast!

Defining and Destroying Our Terms
– David gets pedantic (GASP!)
– Why’s the chronology so wacky?
– The Neo-Classical Revival
– The Western tradition connection
– Cultural prestige marker
– What is Greek and Roman music?
– Classical as a golden age
– Replicability
– Classical as one-half of the classical-pop dichotomy
– Types of “classical” music

The Sacred/Secular Distinction
– How appropriate is it?
– Christendom throws a wrench in the works
– Bach’s coffee cantata

Bach and The Passion of St. Matthew
– Splitting the service
– Historical facticity
– The harpsichord and the pianoforte
– Complexity and counterpoint
– Music and performance
– Rock-star musicians and rock-star composers
– The composer biopic
– Participation and understanding

Who Owns Bach?
– Can you divorce “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” from its religious content?
– Chopin, Debussy and Beethoven in church services
– Reading Dante for the mythic structure
– David gets controversial (Internet atheists may direct their responses to him)
– Schleiermacher’s whitewashing of religious difference
– What does sublime mean, anyhow?
– Bach’s religion and his music
– Hindu spirituality and American excess

Educational Rants
– Getting rid of arts education
– What good is classical music?
– Stretching students
– Holistic education
– A new approach to the crucifixion
– Bach as a steadying force
– Making children perform
– Disciplining our desires
– Classical music education


Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. New York: Oxford UP, 2009.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Biographia Literaria. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1985.

Kant, Immanuel. Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. Trans. John T. Goldwaith. Los Angeles: U of California P, 2004.

L’Engle, Madeleine. A Circle of Quiet. San Francisco: Harper, 1972.

Lewis, C.S. Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.

Longinus. On Great Writing (On the Sublime). New York: Hackett, 1991.

Plato. Phaedrus. Trans. Albert A. Anderson. Millis, Mass.: Agora, 2009.

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