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CPE Bach and his Circle

 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the greatest of J. S. Bach’s sons and the finest composer of his generation. Bach was known for his passion in performance, and even today his compositions retain their power to surprise and enchant.










Carl Philipp Emmanual Bach. Lithograph by Heinrich Eduard Winter, 1816. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Date: Friday 9 May, 2014
Time: 2pm - 4.30pm
Venue:  Room 275, Global Change Institute (Building 20), Staff House Road, University of Queensland, St Lucia

Speakers: Dr Jan Stockigt (Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne)
"Transformation from Baroque Ensemble to Classical Orchestra: A Te Deum
performance by members of the Dresden Court Orchestra, May 1733"

Dr Michael O¹Loghlin (University of Queensland)
"Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his Circle in Performance"

During the lifetime of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach the centre of power shifted to Prussia. Philipp Emanuel was just one of many musicians who moved to Berlin shortly before, or soon after the succession in 1740 of Frederick, sometimes known as ‘the Great’: King of Prussia. What motivated this great musical shift to the court of Berlin? Why did so many Saxon and Bohemian musicians leave their homelands to travel to Northern Europe? Discussion of this question will attempt to determine the reasons for this great musical migration.

This discussion follows two performances on May 4 and May 8 For more information see flyer. Book through 4MBS Ticketing on (07) 3847 1717, 7 days 9am- 5pm

Download flyer


Dr Jan Stockigt, Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne
“Transformation from Baroque Ensemble to Classical Orchestra: A Te Deum performance by members of the Dresden Court Orchestra, May 1733”

In 1733 a well-documented event shows that in that year the instrumental ensemble of the Dresden court had every appearance of being orchestra for which countless symphonies were to be written in the coming years.

Following the death of August II on 1 February 1733, his son and successor – the new Elector of Saxony Friedrich August II – travelled to Bautzen in Eastern Saxony as part of a tour of homage. There, he entered the cathedral of St Petri where a Te Deum laudamus was performed by an elite group of musicians from Dresden, together with trumpet and timpani players from the court. Who were the twenty-one instrumentalists and nine vocalists who travelled for this event in the weeks before Bach submitted his Missa to this new elector? What was the disposition of the Dresden court orchestra and singers? And what led to the choice of this special group of performers from within the Dresden Hofkapelle?

Answers to these questions demonstrate that the high quality of the patronage offered by Elector Friedrich August II at this moment in time. Furthermore, evidence of his direct involvement in the selection of musicians for his court ensemble in 1731 reveals that this patronage was largely responsible for the metamorphosis of the Baroque ensemble of Dresden’s court into an orchestra of Classical proportions.

Janice B. Stockigt is an Honorary Associate Professor and Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. Her research concerns Catholic music composed, collected and performed in Saxony during the lifetime of J. S. Bach, especially the musiccollection of Dresden’s Hofkapelle (catalogued 1765). These investigations led to the award-winning monograph Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745): A Bohemian Musician at the Court of Dresden (2000), and contributions to Music atGerman Courts, 1715–1760: Changing Artistic Priorities (2011), and the recently-released publication: Exploring Bach’s B-Minor Mass (2013). Forthcoming articles include an update of Zelenka’s life and music, and an account of the Erbhuldigung held at Bautzen in 1733 (both with Jóhannes Ágústsson). A comprehensive database incorporating outputs from the catalogue of the music collection of Dresden’s Hofkirche (1765) research project is due for online publication in the first half of 2014.

Dr Michael O’Loghlin, University of Queensland
“Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his Circle in Performance”

CPE Bach is today the best-known exponent of the North German “sensitive style” of composition, known in German as Empfindsamkeit. Performing his music effectively requires an understanding of the aesthetic aims of his literary and musical circles. For poets such as Klopstock and Ramler and composers such as Bach, the aim was to move the audience to strong emotional reactions, and at times to shock them. This paper explores and illustrates some of the musical devices used by the Bach circle to achieve their aims. It also challenges the myth that Bach was a lone unheralded genius ignored by Frederick the Great. Although history has judged Bach to be the greatest of his generation, he was not necessarily the leader in the new style, but learnt much from his famous father Johann Sebastian Bach and from his older colleagues at court.

Dr Michael O’Loghlin is a historical musicologist, a professional musician, an educator, and an editor of music. As an undergraduate at Sydney University he studied under Donald Peart, Winsome Evans and Peter Sculthorpe. He then studied further in Vienna and Salzburg: viola da gamba with José Vazquez and Wieland Kuijken, double bass with Hannes Auersperg, and performance practice with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Michael is a former member of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of Brisbane’s ensemble for Baroque music on original instruments, the Badinerie Players, and an examiner for the A.M.E.B.  Michael’s main research areas are German music in the 18th century and historical performance practice. His book Frederick the Great and his Musicians: The Viola da Gamba Music of the Berlin School (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008) and his many editions of Baroque music for the German publisher Edition Güntersberg have achieved widespread critical acclaim.

Afternoon tea will follow the seminar.
For further information contact Penny Boys, Education and Outreach Officer, UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800. Email: uqche@uq.edu.au or phone (07) 3365-4913.