Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/561

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FORM.
549
 

second section of the first half then follows simply in the same order as at the first. If the principal key of the movement happens to be minor, and the second section of the first part to be in the relative major, its reappearance in either the major or minor of the principal key depends chiefly on its character; and the passage that led to it by modulation would be either omitted altogether or so manipulated as not to conclude out of the principal key.

With this simple order of reproduction of the first two sections Mozart is generally contented, and the little alterations which he does occasionally make are of a straightforward nature, such as producing the second subject before the first (as in a Sonata in D major composed in 1778), or producing the second subject in the Dominant key first and repeating it in the principal key (as in a Sonata in C composed in 1779). The whole of the latter half of the movement is frequently repeated, and in that case generally followed by a Coda as in the last movements of Quartets in G minor No. 1, and A, No. 5, and D, No. 10; first movements of Quartets in B♭, No. 2, and D, No. 10; slow movement of Quartet in F, No. 8 ; first movement of Sonata in C minor; and of Quintets in G minor, D, and E♭; and last movement of the 'Jupiter' Symphony. The Coda is generally constructed out of prominent features of the movement, presented in some new light by fresh associations and fresh contrasts. It is seldom of any great length, and contains no conspicuous modulation, as that would have been held to weaken the impression of the principal key, which at the conclusion of the movement should be as strong as possible. In a few instances there are codas without the latter half of the movement having been repeated. Of this there is at least one very beautiful instance in the short Coda of the slow movement of the Quartet in B♭, which is constructed out of ejaculatory fragments of the first subject, never touching its first phrase, but passing like a sweet broken reminiscence. It must be borne in mind that this scheme is but a rough outline, since to deal with the subject completely would necessitate so much detail as to preclude all possibility of clearness.

It is commonly held that the influence of Mozart upon Beethoven was paramount in his first period; but strong though the influence of so great a star must inevitably have been upon the unfolding genius, his giant spirit soon asserted itself; especially in that which seems the very marrow of his works, and makes Form appear in an entirely new phase, namely the element of universally distributed intensity. To him that byword 'brilliant passages' was as hateful as 'Cant' to Carlyle. To him bombast and gesticulation at a particular spot in a movement—just because certain supposed laws of form point to that spot as requiring bustle and noise—were impossible. If there is excitement to be got up at any particular point there must be something real in the bustle and vehemence; something intense enough to justify it, or else it will be mere vanity; the cleverness of the fingers disguising the emptiness of the soul,—a fit accompaniment to 'the clatter of dishes at a princely table,' as Wagner says, but not Music. Such is the vital germ from which spring the real peculiarities and individualities of Beethoven's instrumental compositions. It must now be a Form of spirit as well as a Form in the framework; it is to become internal as well external. The day for stringing certain tunes together after a certain plan is past, and Form by itself ceases to be a final and absolute good. A musical movement in Beethoven becomes a continuous and complete poem; or, as Mr. Dannreuther [1] says, 'an organism' which is gradually unfolded before us, marred by none of the ugly gaps of dead stuffing which were part of the 'form' of his predecessors. Moreover Form itself must drop into the background and become a hidden presence rather than an obvious and pressing feature. As a basis Beethoven accepted the forms of Mozart, and continued to employ them as the outline of his scheme. 'He retained,' as the same writer has admirably said, 'the triune symmetry of exposition, illustration and repetition,' which as far as we know at present is the most perfect system arrived at, either theoretically or empirically; but he treated the details with the independence and force of his essentially individual nature. He absorbed the principle in such a fashion that it became natural for him to speak after that manner; and greatly as the form varies it is essentially the same in principle, whether in the Trio in E♭, opus 1, or the Quartet in F, opus 135.

In estimating the great difference between Mozart and Beethoven in their manner of treating forms it must not be forgotten that Mozart, as has been before observed, wrote at a time when the idea of harmonic form was comparatively new to the world of music, and to conform to it was in itself a good, and to say the merest trifles according to its system a source of satisfaction to the hearer. It has been happily suggested that Mozart lived in an era and in the very atmosphere of court etiquette, and that this shows itself in the formality of his works; but it is probable that this is but half the cause of the effect. For it must not be forgotten that the very basis of the system was clear definition of tonality; that is to say, the key must be strongly marked at the beginning and end of a movement, and each section in a different key must be clearly pointed out by the use of cadences to define the whereabouts. It is in the very nature of things that when the system was new the hearers of the music should be but little apt at seizing quickly what key was at any given moment of the highest importance; and equally in the nature of things that this faculty should have been capable of development, and that the auditors of Beethoven's later days should have been better able to tell their whereabouts with much less indication than could the auditors of Mozart. Hence there were two causes acting on the development of form. On the one hand, as the system grew familiar, it

  1. In Macmillan's Magazine,' for July, 1876.