Princes of Peace and War and their Most Humble, Most Obedient Court Composer
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J. S. Bach took many of his own vocal works conceived as tributes to earthly sovereigns and transformed them into glorifications of the heavenly King. Yet in contrast to the implications of some aspects of Luther's theology, these transformations leave undisturbed an underlying commitment to temporal authority and social obedience. Indeed, many of Bach's sacred works not only rely on rhetorical and musical topics associated with court life and the culture of war, but exploit these images in order to dramatize their message more immediately in the imaginations of contemporary churchgoing listeners.