I came across this German word in a documentary about Bach narrated by the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, author of the door-stopper Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven. He translated it as ‘ultimate’ or ‘artistic goal’, something of an over-arching life-or-work purpose.
An appropriate word to muse on at the start of a new year, allowing you to step back from the minutiae of recycled resolutions (‘This year, I WILL learn Latin / lose 3 kilos / clear out my filing cabinets’) and remember or reflect on what you would like to have done when you reach the point of looking back on life more than forward.
As encouragement to think big, a brief re-cap of Bach’s Endzweck:
‘Namely, a well-regulated or orderly church music to the Glory of God and in conformity to your wishes’.
Source: John Eliot Gardiner, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2013), p. 180