Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wenzel Matiegka's Grand Sonata II, 2: a slow sonata in which Theme 1 comes back but not in a way that would count as a formal recapitulation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnfTmjshYuE


This slow movement is, essentially, a sonata form.  It may not seem like a sonata form at first hearing or at first glance, but I think a case can be made that it is, in fact, a sonata form.  A few observations to this end can be drawn from William E Caplin's book Classical Form (Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-19-510480-6, PAGE 209)--in slow sonata forms we can observe that the subordinate theme and transition are fused together; that the transition itself can be omitted altogether; or that the development section of a slow sonata is significantly curtailed. These will be matters to keep in mind when looking at this slow movement in Matiegka's Grand Sonata II.

So we start with a somber A minor theme that is eight measures long but that repeats its closing two-measure cadential formula three times before full resolution on the tonic at measure 14.  As soon as this arrival point is attained we're given a new theme, Theme 2, in C major.  This is a nine-measure theme that ends on an unresolved half cadence.  While some have proposed that an exposition can't end unless we arrive at a strong cadence on the tonic within the exposition, it seems best to propose that the end of the exposition is elided into the start of the development because, at measure 24, we see Theme 1 appear in C major. 

So we'll identify the start of the development section as the appearance of Theme 1 in C major. It receives an embellishing developmental episode and arrives at a firm cadence in measure 30 that wraps of Theme 1 in the new key.  But this cadential resolution elides into another sequence of Theme 1 material in the key of F major. 

Starting at measure 33 the neapolitan/dominant/submediant cadential formula introduced in Theme 1 in the exposition is given a sequential development.  This leads to a tonic pedal point passage in the original A minor key that prepares another false recapitulation, with Theme 1 appearing in D minor briefly before the initial phrases from A minor return in their original key.  The cadential turn from Theme 1 is given some more ornamental expansion in measures 45-48 where a fermata is reached. 

At no point has Theme 1 been subjected to what we would call a recapitulation, just continual development.

It is at measure 49 that Theme 2 is recapitulated, in A major.  There are a few adjustments, noted in the visual analysis pages, that we won't get into in detail here.  It's sufficient to observe that Theme 2 returns in the recapitulation but that Theme 1 does not.  As noted regarding the first movement, when Them 1 material is given an extensive development and/or has a high level of intra expositional repetition (i.e. the cadential phrase that's repeated three times before Theme 1 is finished) we can tend to see Matiegka resorting to developmental expansions that preclude a full recapitulation of Theme 1.  Theme 2, meanwhile, is brought back in A major, the parallel major mode of the tonic, and recomposed slightly but given an emphatic arrival.

You'll be able to see all this for yourself after the break:

Some of the blue and orange and red text might be a tad on the small side, which is why I've described things in a bit more detail up front before presenting the visual analysis of this movement.

 
After this movement we get the bravura variations on the Haydn lied mentioned at the start of the discussion of this sonata.

So, we've got two sonata forms in this sonata that don't adhere to what would be a "textbook" approach to recapitulation in a sonata form.  We'll see pretty strict recapitulations in the Op. 21 sonatas of Carulli, for instance, and slightly less strict but still identifiably "textbook" recapitulations in Giuliani's Op. 15 and Op. 61 but we're going to find that incomplete/truncated recapitulations were at least as much the norm as the "conventional" recapitulation where themes show up in an expected order.  In the case of Molitor we saw that there were three thematic groups and we're going to find that this holds true in the movements from Giuliani and Sor we'll be looking at later in this series. 

To use Hepokoski & Darcy's nomenclature, Matiegka's second movement from Grand Sonata II can be identified as a "Type 2" sonata.  Even though Matiegka seriously truncates the recapitulation in the first movement the thematic ideas of the exposition still basically appear in the recapitulation in the general order in which they appeared.  To use H & D's concept of "rotation", Matiegka's truncations don't change the "rotation" in which his Theme 1 and Theme 2 materials appear but we've made a case that Theme 1 is derived from Theme 2 rather than the other way around.  It's possible (though not a certainty) to make a proposal that Matiegka had an audience by the early 1800s sufficiently familiar enough with Haydn's work that familiarity with his work as drawing on Haydn's precedent could be understood.  If he were deriving his first movement from the Haydn theme then fealty to the foundational theme (in this case proposed as Theme 2) would be more important than fealty to a derivative theme (Theme 1). 

What Hepokoski & Darcy did a good job of discussing is the range of influences and norms and expectations composers and audiences could bring to a work.  It's conceivable that Matiegka's game of expectations met or subverted hinged on a familiarity with Haydn's work tha tallowed him to pay tribute to Haydn while simultaneously reworking materials to give a potential audience some surprises along the way.  For instance, that the Haydn lied that became the foundation of the finale of variations, got revised in terms of melodic movement and binary form could bring familiarity and surprise with it.  Of course the tricky thing for a performance of this work would be that if these hunches have any merit they reveal a work depending on a high level of musical literacy for shared musical in-jokes that would be virtually impossible for audiences or even performers to share.  My own love of Haydn's music was firmly in place before I'd heard Matiegka's works in the last six years and it was as I continued to immerse myself in the music of both composers I began to hear the ways the guitarist drew upon the works of Haydn for his essays in sonata forms.

I haven't even gotten to Giuliani and Sor yet, the two most celebrated guitarist composers of the earliest decades of the guitar, and there's a fairly extensive case for saying that what Hepokoski & Darcy called a "Type 2" sonata is demonstrably normal in the literature.  It's the prevailing sonata form type in two of the three Diabelli Op. 29 sonatas; it's also the form elected by Molitor for his Op. 7 sonata.  We've seen that while Matiegka did not compose sonatas that necessarily always fit this "Type 2" he was flexible enough to demonstrate a willingness to truncate his recapitulations in a way that should have us be on guard about how literally we think early 19th century sonata forms, particularly for the guitar, were "supposed" to adhere to some kind of post-Beethoven mold, where a bold masculine theme is followed by a lyric feminine theme with some kind of Hegelian dialectic going on.  Anyone who still seriously attempts to suggest that understanding of sonata forms would do well to read a few books discussing sonata forms from the last ... thirty years.

For guitarists we've had a few vivid case studies demonstrating that while the early 19th century guitarist composers were more flexible with sonata forms than they may have been undisputed masters of sonata forms, we've got no good excuse from guitarists who would suggest that our instrument is somehow inherently unsuited to a form as complex as a sonata form.  We're going to get to Sor's sonata form in E flat major by the weekend. 

Matiegka being my favorite guitarist composer of the early wave of guitarist composers I've wanted to write about his sonatas since as far back as 2011.  A few things happened in the last half decade that were necessary distractions but, finally, here we are and at least some of Matiegka's music has finally gotten discussed here in some more detail.   For the next set of posts we'll get to Giuliani.

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