Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/592

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580

��SONATA.

��designated ; in fact, one of the versions of the Quintet, which stands as a duet for two piano- fortes, is in that form published as a ' sonata.' One of the latest examples of his chamber music is the Sonata for pianoforte and violin. This requires notice as the work of a great master, but throws very little light on any sort of exten- sion of the possibilities of sonata-form. There seems to be a sort of poetic design in the com- plicated arrangement of the first half of the first movement, in which the characteristic figures of the first subject reappear, as if to connect each section with the centre of interest ; and the half concludes with a complete restatement of the first subject simply and clearly in the original key, as is the case also in the same composer's Serenade in A for small orchestra. It may be observed in passing that this device curiously re- calls the early composite form, in which the first subject reappears at the beginning of the second half [see p. 5596]. There is one other slightly suggestive point namely, the reappearance of the introductory phrase of the slow movement in one of the episodes of the final Hondo. The work as a whole is not so large in character, or so rich in development, as many others of Brahms's earlier works in the form of chamber music. This is probably owing to the unsuitability of the combination of violin and pianoforte for such elaboration of structure and mass of sound as is best adapted to show the composer to the highest advantage.

Certain traits in his treatment of form, such as the bold digressions of key at the very outset of a movement, and the novel effects of transition in the subjects themselves, have already been described in the article FORM. It is only neces- sary here to point out that Brahms seems most characteristically to illustrate the tendency in modern music which has been styled ' intellect- ualism' ; which is definable as elaborate develop- ment of all the opportunities and suggestions offered by figures, harmonic successions, or other essential features of subjects or accessories, so as to make various portions of the work appear to grow progressively out of one another. This sometimes takes the form of thematic develop- ment, and sometimes that of reviving the figures of one subject in the material or accompaniment of another, the object being to obtain new aspects of close and direct logical coherence and con- sistency. Beethoven is the prototype of this phase of modern music, and the examples of it in his later instrumental works are of the finest description. Fortunately the field is a very large one, and rich in opportunities for composers of exceptional gifts ; of whom in this department of art Brahms is certainly the first living repre- sentative. There are several examples which illustrate this tendency in the F minor Quintet, which also in its form of a Duo for pianoforte is called ' Sonata.' One of the most obvious is the case in which the cadence concluding a paragraph is formulated, as in the following example at (a), the phrase being immediately taken up by a dif- ferent instrument and embodied as a most signi-

��SONATA.

ficant feature in the accessory subject whicb follows, as at (6).

(a) Pianoforte.

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(6) Violin.

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Under the same head of Intellectualism is some- times erroneously included that broad and liberal range of harmony which characterises the best composers of the day. This may doubtless call for intellectual effort in those who are unfamiliar with the progress of art, or of inexpansive powers of appreciation, but in the composer it does not imply intellectual purpose, but only the natural step onwards from the progressions of harmony which are familiar to those which are original. With composers of second rank such freedom is often experimental, and destructive to the general balance and proportion of the structure, but with Brahms it appears to be a special study to bring everything into perfect and sure proportion, so that the classical idea of instrumental music may be still maintained in pure severity, notwith- standing the greater extension and greater variety of range in the harmonic motion of the various portions of the movement. In fact Brahms ap- pears now to take his stand on the possibility of producing new instrumental works of real artistic value on the classical principles of abstract music, without either condescending to the popular de- vice of a programme, or accepting the admissi- bility of a modification of the sonata-form to- suit the impulse or apparent requirements of a poetical or dramatic principle.

A sonata which bears more obviously on the direction of modern art in the poetic sense is that of Sterndale Bennett, called "The Maid of Orleans.' This is an example of programme- music in its purest simplicity. Each of the four movements has a quotation to explain its purpose, and in the slow movement the second section has an additional one. Never- theless the movements are simple adaptations of the usual forms, the first standing for an in- troduction, the second representing the usual binary allegro, the third a slow movement in condensed binary form, and the last a rondo. There is but little attempt at using any struc- tural means, such as original distribution of subject-matter, to enforce the poetic idea : so the-

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