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Music for an age of global catastrophe

Jack Campin 11 Oct 18 - 09:12 AM
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Subject: Music for an age of global catastrophe
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 18 - 09:12 AM

I have just been listening to the music Matthias Weckmann wrote during the plague of 1663 in Hamburg. It's dignified and elegiac in the same manner as his teacher Schütz had used when civilization seemed to be circling the plughole during the Thirty Years War: it seems Weckmann didn't expect to live through it, and may have thought that nobody would. As a final message to the Creator from a dying world, it's perfect.

The same epidemic hit Britain soon after, but I can't think of any British music that marks it. The obvious angle for a balladeer would have been that it was God's vengeance on a people that turned away from the Protestant faith to adopt the worldliness and frippery of the Restoration, but maybe the plague featured implicitly in ballad stories? Can anybody think of anything?

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