23 Jun 2015 6:15pm - 7:15pm Christ's College Chapel


Tickets are £10 / £3 (students) and will be available to purchase on the door. Please note that people participating in the conference “Sonorous Sublime” won't need to pay as the concert is included in the registration fee. 

Sublime Sonorities: C.P.E. Bach Symphonies & Klopstock’s Morgengesang

What does it mean to play the sublime? Does the sublime hit listeners like a bolt of lightning regardless of time and place, or do we learn to listen for sublimity? This public concert explores the eighteenth-century musical sublime through rarely-performed and virtuosic music by C.P.E. Bach, enriched by a spoken element led by director Margaret Faultless with Rachel Chaplin. This event offers a rare insight into early music performance practice and its engagements with the sublime.

C.P.E. Bach was widely regarded as a sublime composer in his own lifetime. His symphonies for obbligato instruments and setting of Klopstock’s ode Morgengesang illustrate two distinct yet related aspects of his musical sublime. The celebrated symphonies, with their ambitious orchestration and virtuosic demands, attest to the rising status of instrumental music, and the symphony’s connection with the Pindaric ode form, a classical model of sublime composition. They display Bach’s characteristic mercurial shifts of mood, idiosyncratic melodic turns, and unexpected harmonic progressions. The sublime difficulty of the symphonies contrasts sharply with the sublime simplicity of Morgengesang, a religious ode written for Bach by his friend F.G. Klopstock, the most revered poet of the sublime in eighteenth-century Germany—and a member of the audience for the first performance of the symphonies.


C.P.E. Bach – Symphonies for Twelve Obbligato instruments in D major and F major (1775–6), Wq 183/1&3
C.P.E Bach – Klopstocks Morgengesang am Schöpfungsfeste (1783), Wq 239 


Margaret Faultless is a renowned interpreter of eighteenth-century repertoire and specialist in historical performance practice. She is co-leader of The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and plays a significant role in their education programme, as well as acting as a regular director of the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonie Merck, and as the Artistic director of Music for Awhile. Margaret also lectures on performance practice, and has particular interests in leadership before the age of silent conducting, and the relationship between notation and the performer. Margaret is an Artistic Director of the Cambridge University Collegium Musicum and Director of Performance Studies at Cambridge University Faculty of Music.

Rachel Chaplin works as an oboist with many of the leading period instrument orchestras in the UK and abroad, including the English Baroque Soloists, Classical Opera Company, Florilegium and Retrospect Ensemble. Rachel’s research interests have developed from her experiences working as a professional oboist. She holds a doctorate on instrumental performance and notation in the work of C.P.E. Bach, whose profile as a performing musician, composer, improviser, theorist and teacher, serve as a continual source of interest and inspiration. 


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk