‘Sonorous Air’: The Transcendent in Ferruccio Busoni’s Aesthetics of Music
This chapter represents a huge array of perspectives, and traverses a very wide musical and philosophical-theological terrain. It attempts any kind neither of synthesis nor to respond to all the principal points made by each writer. The chapter examines some of the larger and further-reaching issues raised by these provocative pieces. It highlights two features of many present-day discussions of music and transcendence. First, it is commonly noted that there is an ineradicable, perhaps even essential, link between music and transcendence. Second, many who point to this link will also contend that in the contemporary cultural and philosophical climate, transcendence has become a profoundly problematic concept. The musical experience is being interpreted in the light of, and regarded as a faithful enactment of, the realities to which particular biblical texts bear testimony. Transcendence has often assumed dark and destructive colours, especially in the hands of religious tyrants.