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Sonorous Sublimes: Music and Sound 1670–1850

May 9, 2015

June 23–25, 2015, at CRASSH (Cambridge)

Speakers: Andrew Bowie, Kiene Brillenburg-Wurth, Stijn Bussels, Keith Chapin, Sophie Hache, Lydia Hamlett, Matthew Head, Sarah Hibberd, Nils Holger Peterson, Corinna Russell, Philip Shaw, Elaine Sisman, Miranda Stanyon, David Trippett

This interdisciplinary conference is dedicated to the sublime in music and sound, 1670–1850. It brings together scholars from across the humanities to re-sound the sublime, from its rise to prominence in the age of Boileau and Lully, to its saturation of European culture in the mid-nineteenth century. The sublime has long been recognised as a crucial cultural category in this period, involved not only in the emergence of aesthetics and radically changing artistic practices, but in politics, science, theology, gender history, histories of the subject, and so on. Until very recently, attention to sonorous sublimes beyond music has circled round a narrow range of terrifying noises – screams, canons, rushing waters – identified in Burke’s famous theory of the sublime. Music itself has appeared as a latecomer to the feast of the sublime, feeding off an established discourse concerned with the verbal and visual. Responding to new developments in musicology and sound studies, this conference aims to explore both the rich variety of sounds heard as sublime by past listeners, and the complex roles played by music in forming and transforming the discourse, practice, and politics of the sublime.

For more information and online registration, click here or visit <>.

On the evening of Saturday 23rd June, a public concert featuring music by C.P.E. Bach will take place in Christ’s College Chapel.
Programme: C.P.E. Bach – Symphonies for Twelve Obbligato Instruments in D major & F major and Klopstocks Morgengesang am Schöpfungsfeste
Directed by Margaret Faultless and introduced by Dr Rachel Chaplin

Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), Christ’s College Research Fund, the Royal Musical Association (RMA), Music & Letters, and the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS). 

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