After a recent performance someone noted that I had programmed the pieces in reverse chronological order.  I do that on purpose, in performances as well as in teaching.  18th -century culture, unlike ours, was essentially quiet.  In stillness one can hear and respond to overtones to which our attention must be drawn as the noise around us increases.  
I notice this in liturgical settings:  Within a focused stillness even people with limited musical awareness comment on the rich sound produced by just a few voices singing perfectly in tune:  overtones.
There are always overtones on the piano.  The trouble is that we are not encouraged to hear them (much less to deal with them), as they are highly variable from instrument to instrument and according to changing circumstances.
More recent music arouses awareness of overtones so that, by the time the 18th or earlier century is the subject, people are more likely to be moved by the unwritten aspects of the sound - the magic.
 


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