Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wenzel Matiegka's Grand Sonata I, 1: recapitulating Theme 1 in the subdominant key before re-establishing the tonic

Along the way this post will go through the entirety of the first movement of Matiegka's Grand Sonata I, 1 and will include a cadenza composed by ... somebody.  This is one of my favorite sonatas and it might be evidence enough for readers to see that I put together an edition of this sonata that includes a composed cadenza.  This was work I'd largely done last year and it was a lot of fun to do but it was also a lot of work.  I like this sonata and I feel it could be better represented in the repertoire and that Matiegka's approach to sonata form deserves more attention from guitarists.  Sure, the guitarists already familiar with Matiegka's work probably don't need to be told this, but there's a point at which Sor and Giuliani can be ever so slightly overplayed. :)  Matiegka may not rise to the heights of Sor or Giuliani at their best but I would suggest in a moment of blatant advocacy, neither could we say that Matiegka was apt to the kind of hackwork that has been characteristic of Diabelli in popular recollection. 

I'm going to revisit some ideas I presented last year about this sonata regarding the modulating transition.  A number of guitarists consider the G sharp that appears in the Boije 349 plate to be an error.  The contested G sharp appears as a purple note below (the break, along with the rest of the analysis ):

A couple of things can be suggested at this point.  Although a number of performers consider the G sharp in the plate to be an error the frequency with which B minor sonorities are prepared with secondary dominants (i.e. all those harmonies featuring A sharp as the leading tone to B, suggest Matiegka was working the submediant as though it were pivoting into being a supertonic function to E, the dominant for the target key of A major. 

Now if it were suggested that a G sharp ought to resolve upward to a leading tone in this style we should ask why Matiegka didn't resolve the first C sharp that appears in the score upward to D natural instead of having his C sharp grace note fall down to B natural like it so clearly does in the score.  Deliberately failing to resolve a leading tone in the "expected" linear direction is the first thing Matiegka teases us with in the sonata.  It doesn't seem out of place to suggest that the G sharp not resolving upward could be a similar gesture. 

The second inversion B minor sonority of measure 3 in system 4 resolves to a second inversion A pattern (sans third, of course, but the follow up chord is the thing, the E as dominant of the new key).  We move from that second inversion A to E and from the fifth measure of the fourth system moving forward in the exposition we're firmly in A major.  To me the case is not what the defense for the G sharp in the plate would be, that seems simple enough, a courtesy accidental supplied to ensure that what has been read as G sharp in all the surrounding measures DOES NOT get played as an errant G natural because of a different register.  The case for G natural is one I think needs to be made for why it would be G natural.  I'm not saying such a case can't be made, just that I don't subscribe to the G natural as being the most likely note in light of Matiegka's deliberate "downshift" from leading tone to submediant tone being the signature opening melodic move in Theme 1. 

Anyway, once Matiegka arrives at his key he goes through what is a fairly guitaristic lively transition.  Guitarist composers tend to bring the noise more in their transitions than in their actual themes.  If you're half asleep listening to a guitar sonata the signal that you're in a transition is often note the Spartan two and three note block chords but florid scale work.

Strike that part about the transition beginning in the new key. :)  That Matiegka gets to the target key of A major so rapidly in such a long transition can sure make it FEEL like he started the transition in the dominant. 

The transition, which begins at measure 17, takes up considerably more space. One of the most basic observable features about this transition is the extent to which much of its material is transposable, and gets transposed, later in the recapitulation.

Theme 2 appears in measure 44 in the exposition and is also short, even shorter than the first theme.  It's essentially a simple call and response exchange between a motto in the treble strings and spartan harmonic replies in the bass strings every two measures.  This eight-measure theme leads to a florid coda/closing theme characterized by brisk tuplets alternating between the tonic and dominant of A major.

The development begins with neither material from theme 1 nor theme 2 but with a transposition of the transition. It is this material that is developed in the first half of the development section.  In the second half we see the oft-noted sotto voce passage, which is a sequential mutation and expansion of the cadential formula from first phrase of Theme 1.

As the development nears its close we get Theme 1 returning in the subdominant key.  It is here that the compound binary nature of Theme 1 is highlighted in how Matiegka opts to recapitulate the material.  His subdominant presentation of a1 and a1' leads to b presented in the tonic key and to a2.  Matiegka exploits the relative length of his opening theme to have the thematic recapitulation precede the tonal recapitulation. Matiegka's work is substantially and obviously influenced by Haydn (though this is a case that is far more readily based on an analysis of Grand Sonata II); accordingly, a case can be made that Matiegka is drawn to subversions of what we now regard as "textbook" sonata form in a way that is comparable to the regularly noted irregularities Haydn introduced into his sonata forms.  To sum up the significance of this for the recapitulation, Matiegka postpones arriving at the "correct" key for his recapitulation until he's halfway through the return of Theme 1.  Choosing the subdominant key for the first half let him transform the half cadential material of phrase b (the obvious Mozart quote) double as a continuation of Theme 1 in the subdominant key but consolidate the tonic for the return of the opening motto material in the "correct" key. 

So we see (and hear) that Matiegka doesn't arrive at the tonic key for a "proper" recapitulation until the last phrase of his four-phrase Theme 1. Hepokoski & Darcy note (page 264 of Elements of Sonata Theory) that starting a recapitulation in the subdominant is rare but it shows up consistently enough to be considered a "lower-level default option within the genre, not a deformation."  I.e. it's a bit weird but well within the norms of sonata forms.  Additionally, with Haydn as such a strong influence in the foreground of Matiegka's work (again, we'll get to this discussing Grand Sonata II) it shouldn't be too surprising if Matiegka avails himself of musical jokes of subverted expectations about form that we 21st century listeners might not be able to get. We're going to see that Matiegka plays with a recapitulation of Theme 1 materials in Grand Sonata II that is practically an abandonment of Theme 1 itself in favor of having a tonal/thematic recapitulation that effectively starts on his transitional material.  But here, at least, he brings back Theme 1 sort of on time, just a bit to soon and in the wrong key, having to correct into the tonic resolution expected of a sonata recapitulation at the last minute, so to speak.

Matiegka's transition within the recapitulation introduces a metrical change; the scale-work that was in duple meter in the exposition transition shifts into triple meter in the recapitulation.  In most other respects it is simply a transposition into the tonic key of material that was in the dominant key earlier.

When Matiegka arrives at the florid tuplet passagework in the coda he expands it substantially into a solo that leads to a fermata and the instruction "ad libatum".  In the interest of composing a cadenza that explores the inversion of material from Theme 1 that's what I've got written into the score at measures 168 to 174. 

I'm coming back to something I mentioned last year when blogging about this sonata.

The "ad libatum" Matiegka includes at the end of the sonata highlights the opportunity to ask questions as to what a performer would base an ad libatum cadenze on in a work such as this.  Last year I wrote:
If you were to look at the whole of what Matiegka does with his thematic ideas you might have noticed he did more to play with his modulating transition materials than with his actual themes.  Now a more detailed case could be made that his transition still expanded upon ideas in Theme 1, or that were latent in it.  We could try to do that some time later, maybe.  But something is conspicuously absent in any development, inversion.

This omission might or might not have been intentional.  It's impossible to know, but what can be proposed for a guitarist, or a guitarist/composer, when approaching a performance of this kind of music, is to run with this idea--whatever you do in an optional cadenza can be to develop the musical ideas presented in the form in ways that are not actually in the printed work.  So in the case of Matiegka we could observe that there weren't really any moments where he took his core thematic idea from Theme 1 and subject it to inversion.  This, dear readers, was why we camped out for as long as we did on the simplified form of the theme and what it was.  Having done that provided an opportunity to see what didn't get done by Matiegka that we can do here.


So, what somebody did was compose a cadenza that sequentially developed the inversion of the opening gesture of Theme 1. It seemed good to keep the cadenza short because while a virtuoso guitarist can afford to play a lengthy, florid solo, yours truly is not a virtuoso.  What's more, it seems that a composer might want to highlight not merely a solo that shows off chops of playing technique--it can be more fun (and more possible!) to show off chops of introducing new compositional derivations of foundational ideas for a musical form.  So in addition to being easier than what Leisner did with his cadenza, this cadenza highlighted an aspect of Matiegka's themes that went undeveloped.  I proposed last year it was at least "possible" that Matiegka may have under-composed on the aspect of melodic inversion in the form proper so it could be a "trick" to save for a cadenza.  

Next we'll get to Matiegka's Grand Sonata II, which features two sonata forms.  It's in this sonata that Matiegka's debt to Haydn becomes far more explicit and I'll be able to make a case for that influence not just through a discussion of the theme Matiegka explicitly said he got from Haydn but from the theme that appears in the first movement that arguably reflects Haydn's influence.

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