Types of Extravagance
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This chapter draws its numerous examples mainly from instrumental music, in order to undermine any suggestion that it is really words that encourage a sense of divine encounter. Five types of disclosure are explored: (1) the way in which order in Haydn or Mozart can carry listeners to a comparable sense of a divine ordering of the world; (2) how works like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ might conjure divine otherness or transcendence; (3) similarly, immanence with the music of Sibelius and Debussy; or (4) the mystery of majestic serenity with Bruckner or of timelessness with Messiaen or Pärt. The chapter ends by exploring (5) the possibility of more specific attitudes being communicated—for example, a universal divine generosity in John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.