Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/569

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racter, and generally aiming less at musical ex- pression than the later movements. The second movement in the Church Sonata is freely fugal, in fact the exact type above described as a Can- zona ; the style is commonly rather dry, and the general effect chiefly a complacent kind of easy swing such as is familiar in most of Handel's fugues. In the Chamber Sonatas the character of the second movement is rather more variable ; in some it is an Allemande, which, being dignified and solid, is a fair counterpart to the Canzona in the other Sonatas : sometimes it is a Courante, which is of lighter character. The third move- ment is the only one which is ever in a different key from the first and last. It is generally a characteristic one, in which other early composers of instrumental music, as well as Corelli, clearly endeavoured to infuse a certain amount of vague and tender sentiment. The most common time is 3-2. The extent of the movement is always limited, and the style, though simply contra- puntal in fact, seems to be ordered with a view to obtain smooth harmonious full-chord effects, as a contrast to the brusqueness of the preceding fugal movement. There is generally a certain amount of imitation between the parts, irregu- larly and fancifully disposed, but almost always avoiding the sounding of a single part alone. In the Chamber Sonatas, as might be anticipated, the third movement is frequently a Sarabande, though by no means always ; for the same kind of slow movement as that in the Church Sonatas is sometimes adopted, as in the third Sonata of the Opera Seconda, which is as good an example of that class as could be taken. The last move- ment is almost invariably of a lively character in Church and Chamber Sonatas alike. In the latter, Gigas and Gavottes predominate, the cha- racter of which is so familiar that they need no description. The last movements in the Church Sonatas are of a similar vivacity and sprightli- ness, and sometimes so like in character and rhythm as to be hardly distinguishable from dance-tunes, except by the absence of the defin- ing name and the double bar in the middle, and the repeats which are almost inevitable in the dance movements. This general scheme is occa- sionally varied without material difference of principle by the interpolation of an extra quick movement, as in the first six Sonatas of the Opera Quinta ; in which it is a sort of show movement for the violin in a ' Moto continue ' style, added before or after the central slow movement. In a few cases the number is reduced to three by dropping the slow prelude, and in a few others the order is unsystematisable.

In accordance with the principles of classifi- cation above defined, the Church Sonatas appear to be much more strictly abstract than those for Chamber. The latter are, in many cases, not distinguishable from Suites. The Sonatas of Opera Quinta are variable. Thus the attractive Sonata in E minor, No. 8, is quite in the re- cognised suite-manner. Some are like the So- nate da Chiesa, and some are types of the mixed order more universally accepted later, having

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��several undefined movements, together with one dance. The actual structure of the individual movements is most uncertain. Corelli clearly felt that something outside the domain of the fugal tribe was to be attained, but he had no notion of strict outlines of procedure. One thing which hampered him and other composers of the early times of instrumental music was their unwilling- ness to accept formal tunes as an element iu their order of art. They had existed in popular song and dance music for certainly a century, and probably much more ; but the idea of adopting them in high-class music was not yet in favour. Corelli occasionally produces one, but the fact that they generally occur with him in Gigas, which are the freest and least responsible por- tion of the Sonata, supports the inference that they were not yet regarded as worthy of general acceptance even if realised as an admissible element, but could only be smuggled-in in the least respectable movement with an implied smile to disarm criticism. Whether this was decisively so or not, the fact remains that till long after Corelli' s time the conventional tune element was conspicuously absent from instrumental compo- sitions. Hence the structural principles which to a modern seem almost inevitable were very nearly impracticable, or at all events unsuitable to the general principles of the music of that date. A modern expects the opening bars of a move- ment to present its most important subject, and he anticipates its repetition in the latter portion of the movement as a really vital part of form of any kind. But association and common sense were alike against such a usage being universal in Corelli's time. The associations of ecclesiastical and other serious vocal music, which were then preponderant to a supreme degree, were against strongly salient points, or strongly marked in- terest in short portions of a movement in con- trast to parts of comparative unimportance. Con- sequently the opening bars of a movement would not be expected to stand out in sufficiently strong relief to be remembered iinless they were re- peated at once, as they would be in fugue. Human nature is against it. For not only does the mind take time to be wrought up to a fully receptive condition, unless the beginning is most exceptionally striking, but what comes after is likely to obliterate the impression made by it. As a matter of fact, if all things were equal, the portion most likely to remain in the mind of an average listener, is that immediately pre- ceding the strongest cadences or conclusions of the paragraphs of the movement. It is true, com- posers do not argue in this manner, but they feel such things vaguely or instinctively, and generally with more sureness and justice than the cold-blooded argumentation of a theorist could attain to. Many examples in other early composers besides Corelli, emphasise this point effectively. The earliest attempts at structural form must inevitably present some simply ex- plicable principle of this sort, which is only not I trivial because it is a very significant as well as

indispensable starting-point. Corelli's commonest

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