Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/570

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558

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��devices of form are the most unsophisticated applications of such simple reasoning. In the first place, in many movements which are not fugal, the opening bars are immediately repeated in another position in the scale, simply and without periphrasis, as if to give the listener assurance of an idea of balance at the very out- set. That he did this to a Certain extent con- sciously, is obvious from his having employed the device in at least the following Sonatas 2, 3, S, 9, 10, n, of Opera i raa ; 2, 4, 7, 8, of Opera 3 za ; and 2, 4, 5, and II, of Opera 4**; and Tartini and other composers of the same school followed his lead. This device is not however either so conspicuous or so common as that of repeating the concluding passage of the first half at the end of the whole, or of the con- cluding passages of one half or both consecutively. This, however, was not restricted to Corelli, but is found in the works of most composers from his time to Scarlatti, J. S. Bach and his sons ; and it is no extravagant hypothesis that its gradual extension was the direct origin of the character- istic second section and second subject of modern sonata movements. In many cases it is the only element of form, in the modern sense, in Corelli's movements. In a few cases he hit upon more complicated principles. The Corrente in Sonata 5 of Opera 4**, is nearly a miniature of modern binary form. The well-known Giga in A in the fifth Sonata of Opera 5 tft , has balance of key in the first half of the movement, modula- tion, and something like consistency to subject- matter at the beginning of the second half, and due recapitulation of principal subject-matter at the end. The last movement of the eighth Sonata of the Opera Terza, is within reasonable distance of rondo-form, though this form is generally as conspicuous for its absence in early sonatas as tunes are, and probably the one follows as a na- tural consequence of the other. Of the simple primary form, consisting of corresponding begin- ning and end, and contrast of some sort in the middle, there is singularly little. The clearest example is probably the Tempo di Gavotta, which concludes the ninth Sonata of Opera Quinta. He also supplies suggestions of the earliest types of Sonata form, in which both the beginnings and endings of each half of the movement correspond ; as this became an accepted principle of structure with later composers, it will have to be con- sidered more fully in relation to their works. Of devices of form which belong to the great polyphonic tribe, Corelli uses many, but with more musical feeling than learning. His fugues are not remarkable as fugues, and he uses con- trapuntal imitation rather as a subordinate means of carrying on the interest, than of expound- ing any wonderful device of pedantic wisdom, as was too common in those days. He makes good use of the chaconne-form, which was a great favourite with the early composers, and also uses the kindred device of carrying the repetition of a short figure through the greater part of a movement in different phases and posi- tions of the scale. In some cases he merely

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rambles on without any perceptible aim whatever, only keeping up an equable flow of sound with pleasant interfacings of easy counterpoint, led on from moment to moment by suspensions and occasional imitation, and here and there a helpful sequence. Corelli's position as a com- poser is inseparably mixed up with his position as one of the earliest masters of his instrument. His style of writing for it does not appear to be so elaborate as other contemporaries, both older and younger, but he grasped a just way of expressing things with it, and for the most part the fit things to say. The impression he made upon musical people in all parts of the musical world was strong, and he was long re- garded as the most delightful of composers in his particular line ; and though the professors of his day did not always hold him in so high estimation, his influence upon many of his most distinguished successors was unquestionably powerful.

It is possible, however, that appearances are deceptive, and that influences of which he was only the most familiar exponent, are mistaken for his peculiar achievement. Thus knowing his position at the head of a great school of violinists, which continued through several generationa down to Haydn's time, it is difficult to dis- unite him from the honour of having fixed the type of sonata which they almost uniformly adopted. And not only this noble and vigorous school, comprising such men as Tartini, Vivaldi, Locatelli, Nardini, Veracini, and outlying mem- bers like Le'clair and Rust, but men who were not specially attached to their violins, such as Albinoni and Purcell, and later, Bach, Handel and Porpora, equally adopted the type. Of Albi- noni not much seems to be distinctly known, except that he was Corelli's contemporary and probably junior. He wrote operas and instru- mental music. Of the latter, several sonatas are still to be seen, but they are, of course, not familiar, though at one time they enjoyed a wide popularity. The chief point about them is that in many for violin and figured bass he fol- lows not only the same general outlines, but even the style of Corelli. He adopts the four-move- ment plan, with a decided canzona in the second place, a slow movement first and third, and a quick movement to end with, such as in one case a Corrente. Purcell's having followed Corelli's lead is repudiated by enthusiasts; but at all events the lines of his Golden Sonata in F are wonderfully similar. There are three slow move- ments, which come first, second, and fourth ; the third movement is actually called a Canzona; and the last is a quick movement in 3-8 time, similar in style to corresponding portions of Corelli's Sonatas. The second movement, an Adagio, is the most expressive, being happily devised on the principle above referred to, .of repeating a short figure in different positions throughout the movement. In respect of sonata- form the work is about on a par with the average of Corelli or Biber.

The domain of Sonata was for a long while

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