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“Sacred Traces: Composers, Relics, and Art-Religion in Practice”

Friday, May 14 at 12:00pm

Virtual Event

Abigail Fine, Musicology, and 2020-21 Oregon Humanities Center Faculty Research Fellow

This book project examines late nineteenth-century art-religion (Kunstreligion) in practice, as devotees to German and Austrian composers repurposed aspects of Christian religion to cultivate a new intimacy with the absent celebrity body. Devotees, encouraged by the sacred rhetoric employed by arts institutions like museums and music societies, treated composers as saints by collecting relics, flocking to historic houses as pilgrims, and envisioning famous deathbeds as apotheoses. When institutions encouraged devotees to form parasocial relationships with composers, they ensured the longevity of canons that remain a fixture in concert halls and curricula.