Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wenzel Matiegka's Grand Sonata II, 1: on the possibility of deriving your Theme 1 from your Theme 2

In our earlier post we looked at some themes by Haydn ...

and a theme Matiegka included in his Grand Sonata I, movement 1.

That theme ...

was the recapitulation form of the theme.  It's also observably derivable from a secondary theme in a sonata form in a Haydn Piano Trio, quoted in the last post. 

Take a look at the linear movement in measure 2 in the example above.  E F# G# A F# E.  One of the things composers can do is invent a new theme based on a drastic rhythmic or metric alteration of a melodic line while retaining the essential linear pattern.

Now (after the break), let's take a look at page 1 of the first movement.  As usual, you might want to collapse all the menu stuff on the side for easier reading.

But first ...

since you might not have a recorded performance of the sonata at the ready.

Let's compare the melodic movement from measure 2 above to the opening motto of this sonata.

Ah, there we see E, F#, G#, A ... and after a flourish in secondary dominant territory we get back down to E.  It's even easier to spot if we look at the transition, labeled in green.  We've looked at the recapitulation form of Theme 2 from this sonata movement so as to make it easier to demonstrate how you could derive Theme 1 from Theme 2.  The opening phrase can be taken as inverting the approach of arrival at the dominant scale degree, from beneath by way of a secondary dominant function rather than from above by the sixth. 

After the first half of the theme bursts forth, Matiegka gives us a secondary phrase (Phrase 2a/b) and this ends the first part of Theme 1.  Part 2 of Theme 1 is a call and response between the treble and bass strings drawn from the sixteenth note figure in the opening motto.

The modulating transition (which is massive in comparison to Themes 1 or 2) begins as though repeating the twenty-four measure Theme 1. 

Having affirmed the key of E major as the key in which the new theme will appear, Matiegka writes a florid transitional passage ...

We get to Theme 2 at the bottom of page 2.  Even in E major it should still be pretty easy to observe the similarity between Matiegka's theme and Haydn's Piano Trio theme.   The sixteenth note riff in the opening motto is even observably derivable from the eight-note turn in the original Haydn theme.  At the risk of overstating things a bit, the gestural elements of Theme 1 can all be observably traced back to melodic, harmonic and rhetorical elements in Theme 2, whose debt to Haydn we're going to take as a given for the sake of this set of posts.  If Matiegka could build the entire finale of Grand Sonata II on a set of variations of a Haydn lied it's hardly a bigger step, given a working knowledge of Haydn's chamber music, to propose that Haydn's influence is all over this sonata. 

I agree with Hepokoski & Darcy being reticent about the term "monothematic sonata" in the sense that a Haydn or a Clementi may not really restrict themselves to one theme.  That one theme very frequently contains three to four cells that can be broken apart, developed separately, or recombined to form what sound like new thematic ideas whose debt to existing material might only be observed by experienced composers.  A Charles Rosen could easily spot how an accompaniment figure in a Haydn string quartet for a first theme could become the basis for the second theme inside a sonata form.  Matiegka's work may provide us with a possible case study of working out that process in reverse, settling on what works as a secondary theme that's inspired by a secondary theme in a Haydn trio.   If we keep in mind that even something that seems as strict as "monothematic sonata" can be a highly flexible thought process it's possible, as I think we can propose Matiegka did in his Grand Sonata II, to have a functionally monothematic sonata form that would sound to an untrained ear as though it's chock full of various ideas.  That organic unity between Theme 1 and Theme 2 could, perhaps, explain how Matiegka approached his truncated recapitulation.

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