Thursday, May 14, 2015

Matiegka Grand Sonata I, first movement development

Might want to read this after the break but once you've collapsed all the right hand drop-down menus and such at the blog.

Here's where we get to the development section.  Matiegka opens with a variation on the modulating transition material, which can be thought of as a mutation of the opening riff that has been subjected to intervallic change. He ornaments his dominant harmony phrases with triplets rather than sextuplets, evoking the cadential formula he'd just used in the coda of the exposition. 

Although development sections in sonata forms are normally places for the composer to range very far afield of either the tonic or dominant key guitarist composers tended to play it self.  Matiegka largely restricts himself to the dominant (A major), submediant (B minor) and subdominant (G major) keys relative to the tonic of D major.  The majority of what he does is riff on his modulating transition material until he gets to the sotto voce segment in B minor, which is riffing on the cadential pattern at the end of Theme 1. 

That sotto voce passage sounds like something Haydn would have done (he did do a few things like it, actually, in his piano sonatas).  It's one of the more compelling passages in the sonata forms of guitarist composers in the early 19th century.  Even if it's trite it's a stand out passage and if a guitarist has prepared it with proper care in the way the earlier development is performed, it's a passage that is able to be a surprise.

What's interesting about this development passage that Wenatchee's not entirely fond of is the false recapitulation of Theme 1 in the subdominant ke.  There do seem to be reasons for it.  Take the Mozart quote, it is presented as it was in the exposition and it clearly serves the role of the dominant pedal point/preparation for the recapitulation.  It seems Matiegka built his Theme 1 around this conceit.  Yet even though it's obviously a Mozart quote it feels like the least effective material in this sonata form.  I've got some ideas on what I think would have sounded better but I'll save that for a little discussion on the ad libatum part.  For now ...

Matiegka's false recapitulation does have its charms.  Theme 1 comes back in the wrong key, the subdominant and it's wrong both for where the form would be expected to go (the dominant, A) and for bringing the theme back before the recapitulation proper has started.  Except that it has started.  There's a dehydrated musical joke in here, Theme 1 has come back in the wrong key before the right key has been arrived at and how will we get to the right key?  The answer?  Mozart.  The borrowed phrase, by being kept in its original form, serves as the dominant pedal point/bridge to get both back to the right key and to the right phrase.  Thus ...


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