Conference and Festival
October 2–4, 2014
Cornell University, Ithaca NY
Revered across Europe during his lifetime, C. P. E. Bach was the unparalleled master of intimate expression at his favorite instrument, the clavichord; yet his stature also rested on vivid choral and orchestral masterpieces. In all genres, Bach’s highly affective music cast new light on, and was heard in terms of, contemporary theories of sentiment and the sublime. This conference and festival explores the constellation of philosophical and aesthetic ideas, and the conditions of musical production and reception, clustered around concepts of sentiment, feeling, and sensation in the late eighteenth century. Celebrating the richness of late eighteenth-century keyboard culture (and C. P. E. Bach’s contribution to it), performances will feature clavichord, fortepiano, harpsichord, and organ. Looking beyond Northern Europe, a significant section of the conference and festival will consider American contributions to the keyboard culture of sensibility, from Benjamin Franklin’s glass harmonica to, in a reverberant after-echo, the Chickering-Dolmetsch clavichords of late nineteenth-century Boston, to Andrew McPherson's magnetic resonator piano in the twenty-first century.
The conference is co-sponsored by Cornell University and features the Fall 2014 Atkinson Forum in American Studies. It is held in conjunction with C. P. E. Bach and Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Culture, University of Oxford, November 29-30, 2014.
All events are free and open to the public