For those who remember this post, there's been a sequel incubating for a number of years. For those who don't reflexively scroll over links, the post in question was, "an overview of structural concerns in the sonata forms of Sor, Giuliani, and Diabelli", published at the end of 2011.
Back then it seemed like the book was closed on blogging anything useful to the public interest on ... other topics, and the idea was to go full bore into some more detailed blogging about the development of sonata form in solo guitar literature.
Well, things happen.
But there's a sequel post slowly taking shape that might be called "an overview of structural concerns in the sonata forms of Carulli, Matiegka and Molitor". Yeah, scintillating, right? It might be worthwhile to do blog posts about each composer eventually and get into analyzing specific pieces but it seems like to get to doing that we need to lay some ground work, an overview so that readers aren't left wondering what's going on when score analysis shows up.
And while we're at it, this new-old direction for blogging will probably take issue with a few things published by Stanley Yates on the subject of sonatas for solo guitar. Yates provided an overview of Sor that could have turned into a monograph and ... well, did it? Is there even a monograph on the sonata form in early 19th century solo guitar literature? It'd be a bit much to ask for a Charles Rosen style study, I suppose, but when guitarists repeat the old canard about how the sonata form is not really suited to the limited resources of the classical guitar I just want to shake them a bit and say, "You couldn't possibly say that if you actually knew the literature!" There's plenty of examples of sonata form in the 20th century literature, even more so than may have been published for solo guitar in the early 19th century by the generally accepted masters.
Thing is you won't lack for people discussing the Ponce sonatas (they're fun, to be sure). Nobody's discussing the Rebay sonata cycle yet but give it time, it's a mighty worthy series of sonatas for guitar and for my time and study they're more fun--then again of the few Romantics I actually like one of them is Brahms ... but time and energy permitting we'll try to blog through the Ferdinand Rebay sonatas here, too.
And, really, since Sor, Giuliani and Diabelli wrote some formidable and worthy music for the guitar we should probably get back to discussing some of their works in more detail. That Yates overviewed Sor's use of sonata form without tackling etudes 17 and 22 from Sor's Op. 29 is disappointing but probably unavoidable. Guitarists who do discuss the literature don't always seem to have the command of the formal/theoretical nomenclature you'll find in the mainstream literature. Whereas non-guitarist musicologists could probably spot the sonata form that is Op. 22 study 22 (aka 10 within Op 29) guitarists don't seem to realize they could explain things more clearly if they cast discussion in terms of sonata form. Ditto Op. 29 study 5 but I think I'll have to make a case for 1) why the Op. 29 etude 5 is best understood as a sonata form and 2) why I think it might be overlooked as being an example of sonata form and why this makes it all the more reason guitarists should study it.
In fact ... if guitarists the world over aren't already doing this using Op. 29, 10 as an introduction to guitarists of sonata form should be considered. It's a brilliant little deployment of the form, in some ways more efficient and remarkable than the usual suspects in Sor's output. Since it's in E flat major, however, the likelihood guitarists will champion its cause seem remote. :(
But we're proposing ideas for coming attractions here at Wenatchee The Hatchet, and that's just for music. There are other things to be written that veer into the similarly esoteric realm of cartoons involving people wearing capes that are still overdue.
Thankfully because the works of Sor and Matiegka and Giuliani are gloriously public domain more detailed analysis will be possible for their works. Rebay's work is only just now getting published and so we'll have to write more roundaboutly. Fortunately for those who love Brahms it WILL be possible to quote the Brahms works (or those of Schubert) Rebay made use of in his sonata cycle. As someone who generally doesn't care for the Romantics but likes Brahms, having a sonata cycle for the guitar inspired chiefly by a Brahmsian idiom can only be a great new addition to the solo guitar literature.
If you want something more firmly 20th century (as in not as conservative as Ponce) Angelo Gilardino has a set of sonatas that are worth checking out. Like I was saying earlier, guitarists who claim the instrument does not lend itself to sonata forms just don't know the literature well enough.