On Mozart & Creation

Karl Barth (1886-1968) was known to start each day listening to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In writing about the influence and importance of the man’s music, particularly in light of the tragic historical events that loomed large in Mozart’s day, he noted that

…In face of the problem of theodicy, Mozart had the peace of God that far transcends all the critical or speculative reason that praises and reproves. This problem lay behind him. Why then concern himself with it? He had heard, and causes those who have ears to hear, even today, what we shall not see until the end of time – the whole context of providence. As though in the light of this end, he heard the harmony of creation to which the shadow also belongs but in which the shadow is not darkness, deficiency is not defeat, sadness cannot become despair, trouble cannot degenerate into tragedy and infinite melancholy is not ultimately forced to claim undisputed sway. Thus the cheerfulness in this harmony is not without its limits. But the light shines all the more brightly because it breaks forth from the shadow. The sweetness is also bitter and cannot therefore cloy. Life does not fear death but knows it well.

Doctrine of Creation, Church Dogmatics: III/3; p.298.

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