This section of a Christoph Wolff essay on Bach--and particularly the bit about "scores of students and their pupils' students" working to "organize and eventually consolidate Bach's lasting influence"--made me laugh out loud:
It seems worth noting at this point that Bach’s most important musical contemporaries, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, and Rameau, who all wrote music that had a broader appeal, and was more widely disseminated than Bach’s, were completely remote from the discussion and the scene in which the eighteenth-century concept of original genius emerged. Two explanations offer themselves. First, their compositional art, whether applied to opera, oratorio, concerto, or any other vocal and instrumental genre, was widely recognized and acknowledged as superior. There is no question about the quality, beauty, appeal, technical make-up, or poetic and expressive character of their music. Yet none of their compositional achievements brought about any fundamental and long-lasting changes by way of discovery and new inventions. Second, Bach lived and worked for twenty-seven years in an academically challenging environment, and his main activities consisted of teaching. Hence, scores of students and their pupils’ students helped organize and eventually consolidate Bach’s lasting influence, a phenomenon that none of his musical colleagues sustained.
You could literally spend decades pondering the extent to which everything you think about the art that you like (or don't like) is socially-constructed. No wonder most of us don't.
(By the way, I adore the music of Bach, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, and Rameau.)