Codified by 1840, the [sonata] form was now no longer a free development of stylistic principles, but an attempt to reach greatness by imitation of classical models. The results, at their best, aspire toward a classical ideal that had become unpopular by the mid-nineteenth century.”
Charles Rosen, p. 394.
S onata norms remained in place as ‘regulative’ ideas throughout the 19th Century, even as the who sonata genre, with its various options, was continuously updated, altered, and further personalized with unforeseen accretions, startling innovations, and radical deformations... The ‘de-energizing transition’ and suppression of the medial caesura in, say, Schubert or Brahms, surely emerged from the precedents of the ‘blocked medial caesura’ coupled with ‘expanded caesura-fill’ in Haydn and Mozart.”S aturday’s performance in the Harriman-Jewell Series will be given by Joshua Bell (Violin) and Sam Haywood (Piano).
James Hepokoski & Warren Darcy.
- Brahms: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A major, Op. 100
- Schubert: Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C major, D 934, Op. 159
- Grieg: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in G major, Op. 13
T here is a manneristic thread that runs through the Op. 13 sonata, maybe deriving from Grieg’s Norwegian nationalism?
B ut in each of these three pieces we have structures of contrast, varied repetition, and symmetry-making and symmetry-breaking—specific patterns can be found in the arrangement of the lines. Between the piano and the violin we have “melodico-textural” networks of iterated phrases that embody the unfolding of stories.
F or Grieg ... the variation form may have been tied to the idea of strophic repetitions in a folk song. But in Grieg’s Ballade the variations make such a dramatic progression that one wonders whether to understand the work as a new venture ... in suggesting both the form of the song and the progression of the story.”T rends in sonata procedure in the Romantic period are either (1) elaboration of sonata form beyond the 17th Century norms, or (2) exploration of tonal designs, both within sections and across entire movements. As noted by Carissa Reddick (link below), both of these Romantic trends result in “fusion” of forms, which occurs when a single section of music simultaneously fulfills more than one formal function. The breach of norms gives those sections innovative functions and powers, and often thwarts listeners’ expectations. The innovative tonal designs transgress the boundaries between the sonata’s formal divisions or thematic rotations (exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda), creating rotational overlaps.
James Parakilas, p. 159.
I n Grieg’s Sonata, Op. 13, there are fusions of Transition and Re-transition within the Primary theme, fusion of Recapitulation and Development functions within the Transition [i, mm. 256-271; iii, mm. 86-98], fusion of the Development within the Secondary theme [i, mm. 169-183] and a variety of other novel maneuvers. In addition there are what Reddick terms ‘Multiply-Rotational Development Divisions’ and ‘Half-Rotational and Non-Rotational Development Divisions’ [iii, mm. 105-124; iii, mm. 273-305].
S o, composers active in the Romantic era took sonata form as a point of departure only, co-opted it as a vehicle for Romantic politics, and plied it with Romantic harmonies. The result is a progressive ‘dialogic form,’ in which a sonata was no longer the conservative, status-quo-reinforcing thing it used to be but instead became a ‘process’ in an open-ended dialogue [Hepokoski & Darcy, p. 10], among performers who may, as in this case, regard each other as equals.
R eddick’s taxonomy of rotations (half-rotations, double-rotations, triple-half-rotations, episodic reversals and flips) evokes something of the imagery of balletic movements (échappé sauté or jeté entrelacé) or diving figures (612B / armstand forward somersault pike).
P erfect, it seems to me, for the physicality of Bell and Haywood, whose refined kinesthetic sense can reach artistic heights visually as well as musically. Looking forward to Saturday night’s performance.
- Josh Bell website
- Sam Haywood website
- Carissa Reddick page at Univ Northern Colo Greeley
- Reddick C. Formal fusion and rotational overlap in sonata forms from the Chamber music of Brahms, Dvorak, Franck, and Grieg. PhD Dissertation, Univ Conn, 2009.
- James Parakilas page at Bates College
- Diving page at Wikipedia
- Ballet page at Wikipedia
- Dalhaus C. Nineteenth-Century Music. Univ California, 1991.
- Eichberg H. Bodily Democracy: Towards a Philosophy of Sport for All. Routledge, 2010.
- Hepokoski J, Darcy W. Elements of Sonata Theory. Oxford, 2011.
- Hyland D. Philosophy of Sport. Paragon, 1998.
- Parakilas J. Ballads without Words. Hal Leonard, 2009.
- Rosen C. Sonata Forms. Norton, 1988.