Saturday, December 10, 2016

incubation phase 2

Five years ago I published a post
"an overview of structural concerns in the sonata forms of Sor, Giuliani, and Diabelli"

I was still immersing myself in the sonatas of those composers and getting into Matiegka, Carulli, and even some Molitor.  I've significantly updated and revised my take on Diabelli since then.  I still love the F major sonata from his Op. 29 but the other two sonatas conform more to the conviction expressed by (or at least attributed to) Beethoven about Diabelli being an uninspired hack.  :)  Still, Diabelli's Op. 29, No. 3 guitar sonata is a thing of beauty and shows WHY the rest of his work was so often hackwork but that's getting ahead of ourselves.

The plan was, years ago, to get into more detailed analysis of specific sonatas to show the ways the composers handled sonata form in more practical ways in specific works.  Back in December 2011 it seemed as though everything that had been worth saying about a certain local megachurch scene had probably already been said and what more could possibly come to light? 

Ha, well, OBVIOUSLY that was a severe misunderstanding of the situation!  So for the last half decade Wenatchee The Hatchet wasn't writing about formal and compositional processes in early 19th century guitar sonatas!  Nope, we were discussing the life and times of what used to be called Mars Hill because it seemed as though the mainstream press mainstream or Christian had otherwise failed to keep up with what was going on.  But now that Mars Hill has been dissolved and the Richard Nixon of megachurch pastors has moved on to hotter climes we can finally (maybe) get around to detailed discussions of the evolution and variety of sonata forms in early 19th century solo guitar sonatas.

The plan is to present a series of analysis posts this month that go through the sonata forms that appear in the following works:

Molitor    Op. 7
Matiegka Grand Sonatas I & II
Giuliani   Opp 61 and 150
Sor           Op. 22 and 25
                Op. 29 etudes 5 and 10
                Op. 30

Now you'll notice I skipped Giuliani's Op. 15.  Not that I don't like it, it's just that it's so obvious a case of sonata form it doesn't necessarily add more to a discussion of early 19th century guitar sonatas to discuss that if I can devote more time and energy to Molitor and particularly to Matiegka.  I would say Matiegka's guitar sonatas are severely under-represented in scholarly discussions in the English language.  I can find doctoral dissertations on Sor and Giuliani and some of the scholarship about those two has been great, but I'm not able to comment on Christopher P Calvet's

“Structure and Development in the One-Movement Guitar Sonatas of Fernando Sor”
(Master’s thesis, California State University, 1992), because, alas, I have not been able to read it.  If someone wanted to get it on behalf of Wenatchee The Hatchet as a Christmas or New Year's gift then, hey, sweet!  I HAVE been able to read the following dissertations on Sor

Both treatises date from 2012 and were completed and published the year after I wrote my general overview on formal concerns in Sor, Diabelli and Giuliani's guitar sonatas. 

For the few of you who even remember way back when I wrote that blog post you might remember I pointed out that there was a pattern of incomplete recapitulation in Diabelli, Sor and Giuliani.  THat's to say that each of these composers could write large-scale sonata forms in which Theme 1 was omitted in the recapitulation while Themes 2 and 3 would be brought back in the tonic key.  The plan was to have presented the case for how this was done and to go further.  I wanted to propose, as a guitarist composer myself, WHY this kind of recapitulatory process may appear in solo guitar sonatas.  With some more time and work this month I hope to finally get around to addressing that but laying some groundwork as to what this "incomplete recapitulation" concept is in sonata forms for solo guitar may need to be done.  For that I've been gratefully indebted to the dissertations linked to above. 

My hope is to contribute to the discussions begun by the dissertations above by making a case that what is called a "Type 2" sonata form is as prevalent in the solo guitar literature of the 19th century masters as the more conventional "textbook" sonata form.  I want to take a step further and propose that there are patterns of intra-expositional repetition and development that can signal whether or not a truncated recapitulation is likely. To this end I've found it useful to study piano sonatas by Chopin and Liszt in addition to the usual suspects. 

So later this month the plan is to roll out a blog post series that will get pretty technical.  If you can't read music then your eyes will glaze over but if you can read scores comfortably and are familiar with the repertoire about to be discussed it will make for breezy reading. 

It's not like I'm necessarily going to get into John Murray's The Imputations of Adam's Sin and discuss how and why the doctrine of natural imputation or federal imputation would make it important to Christian theologians to address the issue of whether or not Adam and Eve could be regarded as historic figures.  I mean ... I "could" and for a moment was tempted to do so in response to a recent blog post by some other guy in Arizona on the historicity of Adam and Eve but if Driscoll an't explain the significance of imputation of sin and its relevance to the question he deigned to semi-answer then, well, he wasted his money on that master's in exegetical studies and wasted everyone's time who signed off on giving him that degree.  Maybe it's just because it felt like yours truly spent months assembling what amounted to some kind of master's project length analytical series on a local figure in church culture in Puget Sound, but there's  a lot here at this blog that takes a while to put together.  That Murray reference wasn't just for kicks, I actually own the book and found it pretty helpful but it might signal the level of nerdery you'd have to deal with to address some of the issues that a certain guy in Arizona these days won't address, apparently. 

BUT ... hoping to resist temptation there.  This year the whole corporate entity has been dissolved and perhaps in 2017 we can get back to blogging about the stuff we'd set out to blog about before certain local current events circa 2012-2015 happened. 

So, ahem, back to the musical stuff, hoping to have a series of blog posts up this month that will be an analysis of sonata forms for solo guitar by early 19th century guitarist composers.  Looking forward to it but these kinds of projects take time.

PS, also thinking of blogging about Legend of Korra (finally); the Nolan Westworld series; and maybe throw in a few thoughts about franchise extension and the red state and blue state power fantasies endemic to 24 and Gilmore Girls.  But we'll see.  The music stuff really is a higher priority this month.