Balthasar and Beauty

For Hans Urs von Balthasar, beauty is an objective quality that can only be perceived subjectively.  In this sense, then, any human perception of beauty is not an objective experience.  This is based on his thesis that the Christ-form is the archetypal form of beauty.  It is, as it were, true or ultimate beauty.

It is evident that form is an important part of Balthasar’s thinking, particularly when it comes to music.  As a musician, Balthasar had a good understanding of different eras and genres of music, and came to view Classical music with highest regard.  It is the form of the music that Balthasar views as important, the form that the Classical composers struggled to perfect.  It is not exactly an understatement to say that Classical music is all about form, and the striving for perfection thereof.  As such, then, Balthasar takes Mozart’s music as the pinnacle of musical beauty, Mozart the ‘immovable Pole star’, according to Balthasar.

I wonder whether Balthasar would have recommended that composers continue in a neo-Classical attempt to perfect musical form, or whether he viewed it as the crux of musical composition, much like Paul Tillich’s view of Jesus as centre of history after which there cannot be any notion of ‘progression’.

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