“Bach and Mozart: Connections, Patterns, Pathways”
Joint Meeting of the American Bach Society and the Mozart Society of America
Stanford University
February 13–16, 2020

Program | Abstracts | Register | Accommodations | Call for Papers

For questions about the upcoming conference, please contact Andrew Talle: andrew.talle (at) northwestern.edu

Conference Abstracts

Thursday, February 13, 2020

6–7:30pm: Registration and Opening reception

7:30–9:30pm: Book Discussion
Moderator: Andrew Talle
Participants: Karol Berger, Bruce Alan Brown, Robert Marshall, Jessica Waldoff


(University of California Press, 2007)

Karol Berger is the Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts at the Department of Music, Stanford University, where he has taught since 1982. His books include Music Ficta (Cambridge University Press 1987; recipient of the 1988 Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society), A Theory of Art (Oxford University Press 2000), and Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche (University of California Press 2016). In lieu of a keynote address, the joint meeting of the American Bach Society and the Mozart Society of America will feature a group discussion of Professor Berger's influential book Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow (University of California Press, 2007).

Friday, February 14, 2020

9–9:45am: Registration and coffee/tea
9:45–10: welcome Thomas Grey (for Stanford University) and Andrew Talle (for Program Committee)

Session 1, 10–12: Social Contexts
Moderator: Kathryn Libin

Bach and Mozart at the Coffee House

This paper focuses on the representation of coffee in Bach’s comic intermezzo “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht,” better known as the Coffee Cantata (BWV 211), as well as on Mozart’s comic opera Così fan tutte, showing how, in the context of coffee-house culture, both composers participate in current debates over gender roles, marriage, and health. Coffee culture was pervasive in the eighteenth century and has been recognized as one of the most distinctive aspects of the Enlightenment by cultural historians such as Jürgen Habermas, Markman Ellis, and E. C. Spary. Habermas points out how the public coffee house became a new public space where democratic and intellectual confrontation flourished. Coffee was also consumed privately, often in large quantities. John Rice maintains that the hyper-productivity of many eighteenth-century composers, including Bach and Mozart, was achieved under the influence of caffeine. David Yearsley shows how Bach’s Coffee Cantata is a sentimental comedy about the nature of marriage, “call[ing] into question the notion that, through engagement with the fashionable world, women might articulate a position of independence and a concomitant disavowal of paternal authority” (2019, 156). Mozart’s Così fan tutte is a late eighteenth-century development of sentimental comedy as an arena for a reflection on the same, still controversial issues. While in Bach’s comedy coffee is a drink that women reclaim for themselves, in Mozart’s comedy coffee is consumed in a male homosocial environment. Coffee consumption in Bach’s and Mozart’s comedies also reflects diverging views on the medical effects of caffeine. Comparing Bach’s and Mozart’s representations of coffee and its effects allows us to pay attention to their shared concerns and contrasting views, as if these two composers were engaging in a debate at an imaginary coffee house.

Bach, Mozart, and the Pursuit of Wealth

J. S. Bach and W. A. Mozart emerged from distinctive economic circumstances, but a survey of their independent endeavors as musicians reveal some striking similarities. This paper will outline the financial situation of these two musicians, including a brief consideration of the economic and historical context of each of their settings. Both Bach and Mozart at some point in their careers enjoyed the security of a fixed income at a royal court. Both likewise bemoaned a lack of money in personal correspondence while living in expensive cities and carrying the responsibility of supporting their families. Bach was an innovative freelancer, pursuing independent work in addition to his salaried positions. His activities included guest performances, organ examinations, direction of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, publication of his own compositions, and operation of a book and instrumental sales and rental service. Mozart relied on freelance work as his main source of income while living in Vienna where he did not have a fixed salary. Among his freelance activities were concert performances, operas, and commissions. Teaching private music lessons to wealthy amateurs seems to have been a lucrative side job for both musicians. Nevertheless, the manner in which each man handled his money was influenced to some extent by his individual character, priorities, and religious confession. Available documents, payment receipts, and money-related anecdotes allow for a fascinating comparison of the fluctuating earnings of two eighteenth-century composers who achieved a measure of financial success through their independent pursuits. Bach and Mozart represent two distinctive prototypes of pioneering freelance musicians of their time, and their efforts would pave the way for generations of musicians to come.

Music, Edition and Instrument History:
Ambrosius Kühnel’s Business Partnership with Viennese Fortepiano Manufacturers

The 5-year business partnership between Hoffmeister (Vienna) and Kühnel (Leipzig) that began in 1800 facilitated the first modern editions of J. S. Bach’s keyboard music in the early 19th century. These represent the well-known starting point for all modern Bach editions – as well as relevant editions of keyboard and chamber music by other ‘classic’ contemporaries such as Haydn and Mozart. Of course, Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812), the composer-friend of Mozart and Beethoven, is a far more prominent figure than Ambrosius Kühnel, a Silesian Catholic organist and violinist living in Leipzig. Nevertheless, after Hoffmeister devised the cooperation in 1805, it was Kühnel who maintained very close relations to Vienna via the “Klaviermeister” Leopold Schweitzer – now much more focused on another branch of music business, which the two of them had developed some years earlier: the trade of pianos from Vienna in Saxony and the whole of Northern Germany (decades after Breitkopf & Härtel had started to import Viennese pianos to Saxony – a business relationship from which we do not have any detailed information). A rich but so far never exploited correspondence between Kühnel (later C. F. Peters), Schweitzer, and more than ten Viennese instrument manufacturers (J. Bertsche, J. Brodmann, J. Fritz, C. Graf, C. Katholnig, M. Müller, W. and J. Schanz, J. J. Schöfstoß/A. Walter, M.A. Stein, Wachtl & Bleyer etc.) gives detailed information surrounding the broad variety of Viennese fortepiano types, and shows that these types entirely dominated the market for keyboard instruments in Saxony and Northern Germany. The paper gives insight into this portion of the Leipzig-Viennese trade relationship, and attempts to address surviving instruments, as well as the way the music of the Bach family and other ‘classical pieces’ from the 18th century might have been played on them. These are the instruments that entirely dominated the market in the early 19th century. Together with the editions by Hoffmeister & Kühnel (later C.F. Peters), the correspondences can reveal a fascinating triad of music, edition, and instrument history.

12–2pm: lunch on your own

Session 2, 2–5pm: Reception Studies
Moderator: Ellen Exner

The Italian Transcriptions of J. S. Bach, J. Bern. Bach, and J. G. Walther

J. S. Bach’s transcriptions of Italian concertos for organ and harpsichord, 21 works in all, are well known, although a few models remain unidentified. Johann Gottfried Walther’s undated organ transcriptions (14) are less well studied but can be usefully contrasted with those of Bach. We know from Walther’s Musicalisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1732) that he became widely conversant with the repertory of his time, but his organ arrangements have no fixed date. Bach’s keyboard arrangements are dated by Hans-Joachim Schulze as coming entirely from July 1713 to July 1714. Walther’s teacher and Bach’s second cousin, Joh. Bernard Bach, transcribed the first ten of the pieces J. S. assembled in 1715. J. Bern. Bach (1676-1749) was several years older than both J. S. and his pupil Walther (1684-1748) but hardly of a different generation. By initially transcribing only BWV 972-981, then turning to an organ transcription (D-B Mus.ms. Bach P. 230), J. Bern. Bach makes clear that his personal interest was in Italian models. Apart from the addition of BWV 982, J. Bern. ignored Bach’s German exemplars. In the case of Walther’s 14 arrangements, nine are ostensibly based on Italian models, but the outliers find their models in Rome, Bologna, Munich, and Versailles. They force us recognize that Walther ignored Vivaldi, who eclipsed all others in Bach’s set.

Mozart’s Fugue and Enlightened Automata:
Technology, Gender, and Counterpoint

Written during Mozart’s close association with the music antiquarian Gottfried van Swieten, Mozart’s lesser-known keyboard Fantasy and Fugue in C Major, K. 394 has suffered critical attention that is patchy at best. In his seminal biography, Alfred Einstein declared the piece to be a failed attempt at emulating J. S. Bach’s fugal style, resulting in “a true crisis of creative activity.” The fugue, in particular, has since become an incidental testimony to Mozart’s confrontation with the musical past, even prompting speculations about his dubious contrapuntal capacity. Such interpretations, which treated Mozart’s fugue as an artifact of historiographical rather than aesthetic interest, stemmed from conflating style and technique, thereby failing to account for the shifting cultural significance of learned counterpoint as a living tradition in the second half of the eighteenth century. I instead focus my interpretation of K. 394 on its inception as a clandestinely circulated piece between Mozart and his sister Nannerl and on its performative and didactic nature, in order to offer a revisionist account of Mozart’s engagement with the august traditions of Bachian counterpoint. I argue that Mozart’s fugue, a lively essay in canonic writing and invertible counterpoint, not only demonstrates his contrapuntal knowledge, but also lends itself to be heuristically considered as a mechanical, aleatoric, and computational blueprint for keyboard improvisation. Drawing on its parallels with the later Fantasy for Mechanical Organ, K. 608, my reading places Mozart’s contrapuntal conceits within the eighteenth-century material culture that saw the proliferation of automata. Analogous to the compositional mechanics underlying Mozart’s works, such innovations as Jaquet-Droz’s harpsichord player reflected contemporaneous philosophical preoccupation with materialism, observed in the works by La Mettrie, Diderot, and Berkeley. By bringing Mozart’s music into play with this pan-European discursive network through performance practice as well as theories of gender and embodiment, I attempt to understand how Mozart’s contrapuntal erudition, while demonstrating his investment in the legacy of J. S. Bach, could also reflect an Enlightenment ontology of music.

The Hamburg Reception of C. P. E. Bach and Mozart through the Passion Settings of C. F. G. Schwenke

After the death of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 1788, Hamburg church authorities elected the budding composer Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwenke to the post of Music Director for the city’s five main churches. For over three decades Schwenke held this title, presiding over a flourishing reception of music both by contemporaries like Haydn and Mozart and by past composers like C. P. E. Bach and Handel, even as municipal support for church music dwindled. Situated at the intersection of these two contrasting developments are Schwenke’s eleven passion oratorios, performed between 1790 and 1813. That the composer adapted and parodied the music of others for these oratorios is vaguely understood, but the extent to which this happened and precisely how he applied these compositional procedures have remained unrecognized, as have some key musical sources. This paper casts new light on Schwenke’s incorporation of the works of others into his passions by presenting the first thorough reconstruction of their musical content despite the almost complete loss of the associated scores and performing parts. With a more comprehensive picture of Schwenke’s activities, it becomes clear that parody, pasticcio, and adaptation provided another outlet for presenting works esteemed by the composer to Hamburg audiences. Special consideration will be given to his integration of three passion settings by his predecessor, C. P. E. Bach, as well as his adaptation of the celebrated Requiem by Mozart, a composer whom Schwenke regarded as his foremost musical “hero.”

Visualizing Networks of Bach Reception during the Enlightenment

Reception histories of J. S. Bach often find their beginnings at Mendelssohn’s momentous revival of the St. Matthew Passion in Berlin in 1829. Evidence pertaining to Bach reception during the Enlightenment, however, has received less scholarly attention, especially as a collective corpus of reception documents. This paper uncovers pathways of Bach reception by visualizing and mapping documents related to Bach’s reception from 1750-1800. At this stage, the paper will be limited to documents from the Bach Dokumente (vols. 3 and 5), featuring manuscript and printed sources from the German-speaking regions, as well as Italy, the Netherlands, England, France, Scandinavia, and beyond. My investigation involves computational methods, featuring a graph database platform involving neo4j and custom graph database visualization software called graph9. The paper will showcase not only the various ‘actors’ involved in disseminating, collecting, or critiquing Bach’s works but also geographies of distribution during the latter half of the eighteenth century. Particular attention will be paid to repertory and genre: which works were disseminated or received aesthetic assessments at which moments in time and by whom?; where do centers of Bach reception emerge at various moments in time?; and what kinds of pathways (one-direction or bi-direction) emerge in Bach reception during the time of Mozart. Ultimately, this paper promises to reveal broader patterns of dissemination of Bach’s music, in turn providing insight into the performative and aesthetic contributions of his music in cultural centers across Enlightenment Europe.

6–8: Dinner

8pm: Concert, Campbell Recital Hall
The Constanza Family Trio, “Chamber Music by Bach and Mozart”

Saturday, February 15, 2020

9–10am: Coffee/tea

Session 3, 10–12: Bach and Mozart Connections
Moderator: Daniel Melamed

Johann Christian Bach’s German Heritage

J.C. Bach’s approach to performance and composition in Leipzig and Berlin developed under the supervision of J. S., Anna Magdalena, and later C. P. E. Bach. This presentation focuses on these formative years, drawing together and interpreting new evidence about his work for his father, such as copying parts for cantatas, the final version of the St. John Passion, and other major compositions. It discusses his emergence as a formidable keyboard player, comparable to Wilhelm Friedemann or Carl Philipp Emanuel, drawing on his own early annotated scores and on contemporary accounts, some little known, others entirely new. His early career as a composer in Berlin is examined, assessing his debt to C. P. E. Bach, notably in the six keyboard concertos, five of which exist in autograph. These and other compositions from his Berlin years show the emergence of an individual style, one indebted to his family, but also moving in a new direction. It will explore Johann Christian’s intellectual development, through his contact with literary figures and associates of C. P. E. Bach in Berlin and his contribution to the Berlin song-school. Finally, it will look briefly at the rupture within the family after Christian’s journey to Italy in 1755 and the tutelage of Padre Martini. Did Johann Christian’s German heritage vanish under the influence of Italian opera at its source, or did it underpin the works of his maturity written in London, compositions much admired by his young protégé, W.A. Mozart?

Mozart, Doles and the Prefect of the Choir: New Observations on Mozart's Visit to the St. Thomas School

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most famous engagement with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach was certainly his visit to Leipzig’s St. Thomas School in April of 1789. Mozart’s famous exclamation on this occasion—“Now this is something from which one can learn!”—was uttered in reaction to a performance of Bach’s motet “Singet dem Herrn” (BWV 225). This statement belongs to the canon of great Bach aphorisms, and yet there are reasons to doubt its authenticity. In my presentation I will subject this statement and the report from which it is drawn to critical inquiry, and explore its congruence with several as-yet-unexamined contemporary reports by other observers of this event. I will also reveal the identity of the musician who actually led the performance Mozart heard as well as the consequences for him of Mozart’s excitement about the quality of this performance.

Mozart and the Bach Tradition

It is not fashionable, as it once was, to explain musical styles as creations of individual composers. The biological metaphor according to which styles have single progenitors, evolving like species, is obviously imprecise; the youngest Bach son, Johann Christian, was no biological missing link between J. S. Bach and W.A. Mozart. Yet by 1760 J.C. Bach was composing vocal and instrumental music which closely resembles that written by Mozart a decade or two later. What we call Mozart’s style was to a considerable degree the invention of J.C. Bach, a merging of German and Italian features that only a Bach could have accomplished. Of course there are crucial distinctions, and both composers derived ideas independently from many sources. For J.C. Bach these included Pergolesi and what has been called “Berliner Klassik;” among Mozart’s inspirations were also J. S. Bach and another Bach son. This presentation nevertheless draws connections between Mozart and J.C. Bach that run deeper than personal contacts and thematic quotations, tracing J.C. Bach’s invention not only to the contrapuntal and harmonic traditions of his own family, but to an aesthetic of simplicity in which he was immersed during five years of study at Berlin with Emanuel Bach, after the death of their father. Ironically, Leopold Mozart, who shared that aesthetic, held up J.C. Bach to his son as a model composer of simple, accessible music. The astonishing transformation of the Bach tradition under the influence of Quantz, the Graun brothers, and certain Italian musicians (such as Martini) was an essential prelude to Mozart’s further development of the resulting style. It also made possible J.C. Bach’s still under-appreciated achievement in compositions ranging from his early Requiem to the opera Amadis des Gaules, posthumously published as a summative memorial, like the Art of Fugue and Mozart’s Requiem.

12–2:30pm: ABS/MSA Board meeting; lunch on your own

Session 4, 2:30–4:30pm: Form and Function
Moderator: Paul Corneilson

The Leo: A Galant Schema from J. S. Bach to Mozart

In his book Music in the Galant Style, Robert Gjerdingen introduces a framework for analyzing stock voice-leading patterns in eighteenth-century music. Gjerdingen calls these patterns “galant schemata” and derives them from partimenti and solfeggi, Neapolitan pedagogical tools that were widely dispersed throughout the eighteenth century. Budding musicians absorbed the patterns and deployed them in their own compositions, improvisations, and figured bass realizations. The galant schemata cut across traditionally constructed periods; for example, one can trace a stylistic lineage from Corelli to Beethoven through composers’ use of schemata. Recently, scholars such as John A. Rice have contributed new schemata and described their usage in different repertoire, adding to what he terms the galant “schematicon.” I propose a new schema, which I call the Leo, based on a pattern from one of Leonardo Leo’s solfeggi. The Leo is a relative of the Romanesca schema and features a stepwise descending bass beneath an ostinato in the treble; it tends to occur at the close of sections. The addition of the Leo to the “schematicon” provides a new method to trace stylistic development across the eighteenth century. As styles changed, so too did the schemata that composers deployed in their works. For example, the Romanesca fell out of favor later in the eighteenth century. This presentation demonstrates Mozart’s deliberate, structural use of the Leo as an archaizing gesture in his chromatic Gigue in G, K. 574, as a reference to the earlier style he associated with J. S. Bach. Examples of the Leo from J. S. Bach’s works show the schema’s prominence earlier in the eighteenth century. The presentation will conclude with a performance of Mozart’s homage to the Leipzig master’s legacy.

The Emergence of the Recapitulation in Eighteenth Century Binary Forms

The revival of sonata theory in the past two decades has provided a newly nuanced understanding of sonata form and the limits of its definition. Yet the process of the form’s gradual emergence over the eighteenth century remains largely uninvestigated. Assuming there is no clear line separating baroque binary form and classical sonata form, I argue that the transformation from the one to the other occurred through a gradual process, involving slight changes and reinterpretations of existing features. A case in point is the way sonata form’s most salient feature – the “double return” of the main theme and the main key – was handled over the eighteenth century. Here, I focus on the double return and its implications in works by J. S., W.F., and C. P. E. Bach, and in early works by Leopold Mozart, Haydn and W.A. Mozart. Relying on a combination of corpus studies and case studies, I argue for a continuous process of adoption and reinterpretation of the double return, leading from a predominantly binary form in the 1740s and 1750s to the familiar synthesis of binary and ternary structures that was to become a hallmark of sonata form in the 1770s and 1780s. In particular, I demonstrate how understanding the double return as the beginning of a recapitulatory rotation in the earlier works of Friedemann and Emanuel Bach leads to an anachronistic misinterpretation of their practice. Whereas Friedemann’s practice remained persistently binary throughout his life, Emanuel Bach’s forms reflect a gradual shift from binary to ternary. Appreciating this gradual process, I claim, is essential for appreciating the difference in conception between Haydn’s early forms, which are closer to Leopold Mozart and Emanuel Bach’s forms, and Mozart’s practice, which is better explained by familiar theories of sonata form.

The Symphonie Concertante and Its Implications for Biography and Historiography:
Mozart, Boulogne, Paris, Salzburg

J. S. Bach’s investments in the French style are well understood. Acknowledged in several titles and musical flourishes, and attested to by his son C. P. E., Bach possessed a comfort level with French musical style which contrasts starkly with that of Mozart. Mozart’s forays into French musical style, intensified through travel and first-hand experience, were more fraught. His experimentations with the new Parisian public genre, the sinfonie concertante, betray a level of discomfort matched only by the “Paris” symphony of 1778. Although these works reveal moments of inspiration and brilliance, they collectively corroborate Stanley Sadie’s summation that “Wolfgang’s resistance to the French, the actual people, their language, their singing, their musical taste, was deep-rooted” (2006, 454). I begin from the premise that Mozart’s anti-French stance was exacerbated by his inability to connect with one of the key players in Paris, the violin virtuoso Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint Georges. Leader of the progressive Concert des Amateurs during Mozart’s six-month Parisian stay in 1778 and a major exponent of sinfonie concertante, Boulogne was one of the few interracial composers active during this period. I contend he ought to feature more prominently in our understanding of Mozart’s French sojourn and its immediate aftermath. By adopting a less dominant (white) subject position and engaging in a more nuanced, mediated, and dialogic understanding of authorship in eighteenth-century music, I seek to interrogate some of the themes redolent in this conference by suggesting that many “patterns of influence and inspiration” might more profitably be explored from a position of greater inclusivity. By embracing concepts of collective authorship and other modes of intellectual inquiry we might begin to tell a new kind of revitalized history. The test case for my analysis is the sinfonie concertante for violin and viola that Mozart completed and performed in Salzburg following his dejected return home to his father, now widower, within the confines of Coloredo’s court.

5–6: ABS and MSA business meetings

6–8: Dinner

8pm: Concert, Bing Concert Hall
Stanford Chorus and Orchestra, Mozart Requiem

Sunday, February 16, 2020

9:30–10am: Coffee/tea

Session 5, 10–12: Digital Resources for Eighteenth-Century Music Studies
Moderator: Eleanor Selfridge-Field
Participants: Norbert Dubowy, Mark Knoll, Jesse Rodin, Craig Sapp

Full-text encodings of scores from the time of Bach and Mozart offer the promise searching, editing, excerpting, and arranging music for a variety of needs. Panel members will report on the current status of digital projects focused on J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, and W.A. Mozart and discuss tools for editing and analyzing encoding music. Analytical tools implemented in the Josquin Research Project will be used as a springboard to consider their possible adaptation to the Bach repertory. The discussion will be accompanied by a tour of the CCARH Lab at Stanford (where music by Bach, Beethoven, Corelli, Handel, Haydn, Vivaldi, and other composers is encoded and stored). The Lab is also the development site for the Josquin Research Project, the Tasso in Music site (based at the University of Massachusetts), and the Stanford Pianola website.