Thursday, May 14, 2015

a preliminary issue in discussing the first movement of Matiegka's Grand Sonata 1, first movement, details of accidentals

So I'm finally getting around to discussing the Grand Sonata 1 by Wenzel Thomas Matiegka.  It's taken a while to assemble a version of the score that lends itself to visual demonstration and a good deal of that effort has been in going through Boije 349 and considering which notes are which. 

There are at least three commercially available recordings of Grand Sonata I by David Leisner, Agustin Maruri and Gilberto Dusman, all of which I have.  What has interested me is that in each case there are what appear to be deviations from the only readily available edition of the score of the sonata.  I suppose it couldn't be a discussion of classical guitar literature if we didn't get into the thoroughly pedantic minutiae of accidentals so ... there's a moment in the modulating transition of the exposition in which everyone plays A natural even though, going by the score, the note would seem to have remained A sharp.

You may want to collapse the menu over to the right at the blog so that this will be easier to see when it finally appears.  I'll also do a preliminary for what's going to be presented.  In the Boije 349 you'll see that there's a pattern of courtesy naturals indicating when a note has been returned to its normal diatonic pitch within the key.  This is a pretty persistent pattern in the edition, which means that when we don't see that courtesy natural appear that suggests that no alteration to the previous pitch name has been introduced.  In other words, everybody who has recorded the work that has taken the A natural in the measure with the red quarter note sounds like they're playing a perfectly good note that just doesn't happen to be what's in the score. 

If memory serves (and it may not) there's a case in which the rising melodic line includes an A sharp that got played as A natural in the modulating transition. It's the first measure of system five:

The deviations from the score can be explained, perhaps, by there being no evidence of alternate editions and, as you'll see, the edition that is publicly accessible by way of the Boije 349 engraving has been smudged a bit over time.  So there's that. 

I read the transition as a non-modulating transition that starts in A major and uses secondary dominant functions relative to the tonic key to reinforce the new key Maruri has interpreted what I read as a G sharp as a G natural that has a secondary dominant function to a subdominant harmony as though the transition were a modulating transition.  This might be a perfectly acceptable variance of interpretation of a score for a sonata form from the early 19th century.  And Maruri has recorded a ton of Matiegka's music and I've been enjoying listening to it all in the last year and a half, so this observation is not meant to be nit-picky.  I like Matiegka's sonatas and am glad there are guitarists out there recording his works.  I think the case for how and why the transition in the exposition and recapitulation is best thought of as a non-modulating transition is one to make in another post, or a set of posts, which is what is planned. 

I've been talking about getting around to this analysis for some time and the moment is upon us.  Toward that end, since we live in an era in which recordings come before scores in how we're introduced ...

Massimo Agostinelli's recording doesn't seem to be in print or in circulation now but it's the first commercially available recording of Matiegka's Grand Sonata Wenatchee The Hatchet is aware of.

There are three commercially available recordings I've consulted along the way, more for personal enjoyment than any formal, scholastic sense of duty.

David Leisner's

Gilberto Dusman's

Agustin Maruri's

Since the CD is kind of hard to get you may have to settle for the mp3 downloadable format>

In spite of a number of quibbles about notes in the performance of the first movement and the lack of structural repeats in the closing rondo of the Grand Sonata I, I would recommend Maruri's recording overall because he went to the trouble of recording both Grand Sonata I and Grand Sonata II, the latter of which has a compelling long-form variation finale on a theme by Haydn I hope to discuss in more detail later this year.  I consider it regrettable that for as fine as Grand Sonata II is that Leisner didn't see fit to record the two outer movements.  Still, for a composer this obscure something is better than nothing and another guitarist has tackled Grand Sonata II.

It does seem Leisner's notes overstate the degree to which Matiegka could be considered a "Beethoven of the guitar".  That's a compliment paid to guitarists from the late 18th and early 19th century that is an in-house idiom that I don't think non-guitarists will ever find very agreeable.  Usually this has been said about Sor but I can't bring myself to agree that it applies to Sor or Matiegka, although Matiegka's approach to large-scale form shows an attention to development that reflects, certainly, the influence of Haydn.  One of Matiegka's B minor guitar sonatas opens with a transcription of the finale from Haydn's B minor piano sonata.

I would submit, however, Matiegka's handling of sonata form is worthy of detailed study and will also propose that while his sonata forms tend not to vary far or wide in terms of key signatures in relationship to his expositions, a case can be made that he develops his ideas thoroughly, if not in ways that are exhaustive or necessarily always striking in their invention.  There may have to be some digressions on to sonata forms with a bit of help from Charles Rosen along the way ... but we've rambled enough for this post.  consult the break ...

With all that ramble ... here's the legend of notes and comparisons of commercial recordings of the music to what's in the Boije 349.


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