Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/580

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


568

��SONATA.

��the monotony of well-balanced phrases must soon have become wearisome. With regard to the actual distribution of the movements, Haydn does not depart from that already familiar in the works of earlier composers. Out of 40 sonatas, comprising works for pianoforte alone, for piano- forte with accompaniment, and some adaptations, 10 have only two movements, 29 have three, and only one has four, this last comprising the only Scherzando in the whole collection of one hundred and eleven movements. Nearly all the first movements are in binary form with an occa- sional rondo; the last is often a rondo, more often in binary form, and occasionally a theme and variations. In the sonatas which have more than two movements, at least twice as many re- tain the old adagio as those which have the characteristic minuet and trio ; but as a set-off, several of the sonatas either conclude with a dance form, or a rondo, or set of variations in the 'Tempo di Minuetto.'

The actual structure of the movements pre- sents occasional peculiarities. In a few cases the pure old binary type, with repeat of first subject at the beginning of the second half, re- appears. A considerable number are in the composite form, in which the first subject makes two distinct reappearances in full in the second- half, as before described. The two halves of the movement are generally, but not invariably, re- peatedthe first half almost invariably ; in fact, the absence of the double bar in the middle of the Sonata in D major (no. 32 in Breitkopf & Hartel's edition) appears to be the only exception. The distribution of subjects in balancing keys appears to be absolutely without exception, as tonic and dominant, or tonic minor and relative major. Each movement has usually two distinct subjects, but occasionally, as is observable in Haydn's predecessors, the second is not strongly marked. In a few cases the same subject serves for both sections. There are a few examples of his anticipating Beethoven's usage of introducing clear accessory subjects to carry on the sections. Thus the above-mentioned Sonata in D major begins as follows :

���and after completing the period proceeds in the same key with this distinct accessory subject :

��Haydn illustrates forcibly the usefulness of de- fining the main division of the movement, not only by emphasising the harmonic formula of the cadence, but by appending to it a characteristic phrase or figure, the position of which, imme- diately before the full stop, renders it particularly easy to recognise. The purpose and fitness of this

��SONATA.

has been already discussed. Haydn's cadence- figures are generally peculiarly attractive, and seem to be made so of set purpose. The follow- ing is one of the fullest and longest illustrations, from a Sonata in E b :

���-=:

�JU ' ^ ^1 tf

"" b" P

�4;

r-1 *

�(

�?

�w

, 1 1_

�^

-=fl

��As a rule the outlines of his binary movements are more persistently regular than those of his rondos. Haydn was the first composer of mark to adopt the rondo with frequency in sonatas. It had existed in isolation and in suites for a long while, and examples there are in plenty by Couperin and other early Frenchmen, who were much given to it; and also by various members of the Bach family, including the great John Sebastian. But hundreds of sonatas, from the highest to the lowest grade, may be taken at random with a fair probability of not finding a single example. The influence of the opera may probably be here traced again ; in the set tunes and dance types as significantly as in the general structure. How- ever, though Haydn's kind of rondo is peculiarly familiar and characteristic, he does not make use of the form in his sonatas nearly so proportionately often as later composers do. The proportion in comparison with Mozart is almost as one to two. The value and appropriateness of this form ia a matter of opinion. The greatest masters have used it frequently, and Beethoven with the pro- foundest effect. The usage of some other com- posers may be fairly described as obtrusively obvious, and it lends itself with greater readiness than any other plan of its scope to frivolity and commonplace. Haydn's subjects are often singu- larly slight, but his development of the form is almost always ingenious. Thus he varies his dis- position of the episodes, so that sometimes the main subject and a single episodical subject al- ternate in different circumstances throughout ; at other times they are disposed so as to resemble the recapitulation in binary form. In the returns of the main theme he always exercises some consideration. In hardly any case does he simply repeat the theme as it stands throughout ; com- monly each reappearance is a fresh variation. Occasionally the middle repeats are variations, and the first and last statements simple and iden- tical ; and sometimes variations of theme and episode alternate. In all such points his readiness

�� �