The Musical Discourse of Servitude
Authority, Autonomy, and the Work-Concept in Fux, Bach and Handel
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Europe. In contrast, both Bach and Handel represented an autonomy of musical discourse, with Bach exhausting generic models in the mass and Handel inventing a new genre in the oratorio. A potent critique of Lydia Goehr's seminal The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works, The Musical Discourse of Servitude draws on Goehr's
formulation of the "work-concept" as an imaginary construct which, according to Goehr, is an invention of nineteenth-century reception history. White locates this concept as a defining agent of automony in Bach's late works, and contextualized the "work-concept" itself by exploring rival concepts of political, religious, and musical authority which define the European musical imagination in the first half of the eighteenth century. A major revisionist statement about the musical imagination in
Western art music, The Musical Discourse of Servitude will be of interest to scholars of the Baroque, particularly of Bach and Handel.