Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wenzel Matiegka's Grand Sonata II: preliminary discussion of Matiegka's use of Haydn's themes.

For those who are already familiar with Matiegka's Grand Sonata II you may know that the finale is a bravura set of variations on Haydn's setting of "Liebes Madchen, hor mir zu" (pardon the lack of proper modifiers to the German alphabet there).  This is a particularly cheeky lied in which the singer is a man who has headed out to a convent to serenade a maiden he regards as too beautiful to be confined to a convent, serenading her on his zither and requesting the more or less stereotypical reward for his efforts. 

The Haydn lied ... with help from IMSLP.



Matiegka unsurprisingly transposed the theme from F major to A major. He also split the lied in half with internal repetitions for the two halves as the basis for the presentation of the theme and all subsequent variations. 

This is worth mentioning because while in the finale Matiegka's tribute to Haydn is explicit and mentions which Haydn lied he composed variations on, the first movement features a less obvious and far less obviously cited artistic homage to Haydn.  It may be easier to present the Haydn material first so that as we go through the Matiegka sonata we can have fewer digressions.

You'll be able to see the additional score examples after the break.


Haydn wrote a lot of trios for violin, piano and cello.  One of them, Trio XVI, features the following secondary theme:

Now for a guitarist who wants to pay homage to Haydn while making the ideas more suitable for the guitar someone with the technique of Matiegka did something more like ...


Halve the rhythmic values and modify the melodic lines while simultaneously retaining the basic harmonic movement of the phrases and we've got Matiegka's second theme in the recapitulation of the first movement from his Grand Sonata II.  It's not the same, obviously, but the similarities also seem too obvious to go unmentioned. 

We're going to get another case where there's a truncated recapitulation.  Matiegka's going to bring back just a small part of his Theme 1 materials and I'm mentioning the Haydn theme this early in discussing Grand Sonata II because I believe a case can be made that the Haydn theme is the key to understanding how Theme 1 and Theme 2 are related.  One of the shortcomings of a sonata theory such as the one proposed by Hepokoski & Darcy is their diffidence toward a concept that has been pretty well accepted in music theory circles, the idea of a monothematic sonata.  They prefer to say that it's possible to have a P-derived S or C section.  Now that makes sense if you're trying to prescribe interpretive possibilities for analyzing large-scale sonata forms but the shortcoming in that approach, speaking as a composer, is that it doesn't readily account for the possibility that there could be an S derived P.  I'm going to make a case that Matiegka's Theme 1 makes sense as a derivation of a pre-existing theme drawn from the works of Haydn and that the second theme came first and provided a foundation for the material that appears in Theme 1. 

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