Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/415

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

and literary externals, nor the far more important and essentially varied works of Mendelssohn deserve the contempt which has been the modern correction for their high position in their day. But we must not forget that the subject of sonata forms is no mere province, but covers the whole of classical instrumental music; and we must here pay attention only to the broadest essentials of its central classics, mentioning what diverges from them only in order to illustrate them. Schubert's tendencies are highly interesting, but it would carry us too far to attempt to add to what is said of them in the articles on Music and Schubert.

The last great master of the sonata style is Brahms. A larger scale and more dramatic scope than Beethoven's seems unattain- able within the limits of any music identifiable with the classical forms; and the new developments of Brahms lie too deep for more than a bare suggestion of their scope here. Much of the light that can as yet be shed upon them will come through the study of Counterpoint and Contrapuntal Forms (q.v.). Outwardly we may see a further evolution of the coherence of the key-system of works as wholes; and we may especially notice how Brahms's modern use of key-relationships makes him carry on the development of a first movement rather in a single remote key (or group of keys) than in an incessant flow of modulations which, unless worked out on an enormous scale (as in the 2nd and 4th symphonies), will no longer present vivid enough colours to contrast with those of the exposition. Beethoven's last works already show this tendency to confine the development to one region of key. Another point, fairly easy of analysis, is Brahms's unlimited new resources in the transformation of themes. Illustrations of this, as of older principles of thematic development, may be found in musical type in the article Melody (examples 8-10). But no mere formal analysis or argument will go further to explain the greatness of Brahms than to explain that of Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart. Yet by that outward sign of dramatic mastery in the true sonata style, that variety of rhythmic motion which we have taken as our criterion, Brahms has not only shown in every work his kinship with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, but in one particular work he has given us documentary evidence of his faith in it. In his last years he revised, or rather recomposed, his first piece of chamber music, the trio in B major, Op. 8. The new material differs from the old, not only as a fresh creative impulse, but also in the simple fact that it moves literally four times as fast. Such rapidity is not shown by any external display of energy; indeed there is incomparably more repose in the new version than in the old. But the comparison of the two clearly demonstrates that the true sonata style is, now, as at the outset, primarily a matter of swift action and rhythmic variety; and nothing more certainly indicates the difference between the true style and the lifelessness of decadence or academicism than this sense of motion and proportion.

In so far as the tendencies of modern instrumental music represent an artistic ideal which is foreign to that of the sonata without being false, they represent a different type of motion, wider in its sweep, and consequently slower in its steps. The forms such a motion will produce may owe much to the sonata when they are realized, but they will certainly be beyond recognition different. In all probability they constitute the almost unconscious aims of the writers of symphonic poems (q.v.) from Liszt onwards, just as the classical sonata constituted the half-conscious aim of more than one quaint writer of 18th- century programme-music. But the growing importance and maturity of the symphonic poem does not exclude the continued development of the sonata forms, nor has it so far realized sufficient consistency and independence of style to take as high a place in a sound artistic consciousness. The wider sweep of what we may conveniently call " ultra-symphonic " rhythm owes its origin to Wagner's life-work, which consisted in evolving it as the only musical medium by which opera could be emancipated from the necessity of keeping step with instrumental music Small wonder, then, that the new art of our time is as yet, like that of Haydn's youth, stage-struck; and that all our popular criteria suffer from the same obsession. One thing is certain, that there is more artistic value and vitality in a symphonic poem which, whatever its defects of taste, moves at the new pace and embodies, however imperfectly, such forms as that pace is fit for, than in any number of works in which the sonata form appears as a clumsy mould for ideas that belong to a different mode of thought. If from the beginnings exemplified by the symphonic poems of the present day a new art-form arises in pure instrumental music that shall stand to the classical sonata as the classical sonata stands to the suite, then we may expect a new epoch no less glorious than that which seems to have closed with Brahms. Until this aim is realized the sonata forms will represent the highest and purest ideal of an art-form that music, if not all art, has ever realized.

See also Beethoven ; Concerto ; Harmony ; Overture ; Rondo ; Scherzo; Serenade; Symphony; Variations. (D. F. T.)

SONCINO, a town of Lombardy, Italy, in the province of Cremona, 11 m. E. of Crema by steam tramway, 282 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901), 6150 (town); 8136 (commune). It contains a handsome castle built in 1469-1475 for Galeazzo Maria Sforza by Benedetto Terrini (cf. L. Beltrami, II Castello di Soncino, Milan, 1890). The town was the seat of a Hebrew printing-press founded in 1472, but suppressed in 1597, when the Jews were expelled from the duchy of Milan.

SONDERBURG, a seaport and seaside resort of Germany, in the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, on the S.W. coast of the island of Alsen, of which it is the chief town, and 17 m. by steamboat N.E. from Flensburg. Pop. (1905), 7047. It is connected with the mainland by a pontoon bridge, and* has a castle, now used as barracks, in the beautiful chapel of which many members of the Sonderburg-Augustenburg line lie buried; a Lutheran church and a town hall. There is an excellent harbour, and a considerable shipping trade is done. The town, which existed in the middle of the 13th century, was burnt down in 1864 during the assault by the Prussians upon the Diippler trenches.

SONDERSHAUSEN, a town of Germany, capital of the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, situated in a plain 37 m. by rail N. of Erfurt. Pop. (1905), 7383. . It possesses a castle, with natural history and antiquarian collections, and a parish church (restored 1891), with the mausoleum (1892) of the reigning princes. There are manufactures of woollens and pins.

SONDRIO, a town of Lombardy, Italy, capital of the province of Sondrio, in the Valtellina, 1 140 ft. above sea-level, on the river Adda, 26 m. E. of Lake Como and 82 m. by rail N.E. of Milan. Pop. (1901), 4425 (town); 7707 (commune). The Valtellina, of which Sondrio is the capital, produces a considerable quantity of red wine. Sondrio also has silk-works. Above the town to the north rise the snowclad peaks of the Bernina group. The railway goes on to Tirano, 16 m. farther east, from which diverge, the Bernina and Stelvio roads.

SONE, or Son, a river of central India which has been identified with the Erannoboas of the Greek geographers. With the exception of the Jumna it is the chief tributary of the Ganges on its right bank. It rises in the Amarkantak highlands about 3500 ft. above sea-level, the Nerbudda and Mahanadi also having their sources in the same table-land. From this point it flows north-west through an intricate mass of hills, until it strikes the Kaimur range, which constitutes the southern wall of the Gangetic plain. Here it turns east and continues in that direc- tion until it falls into the Ganges about 10 m. above Patna, after a total course of 465 m. Its upper waters drain about 300 m. of wild hilly country, which has been imperfectly explored; while in its lower section of 160 m. it traverses the British districts of Mirzapur, Shahabad, Gaya and Patna. The Sone canals, fed by the river, form a great system of irrigation in the province of Behar. The headworks are situated at Dehri about 25 m. below the point where the river leaves the hilly ground. The weir across the Sone at this point is believed to be the longest con- structed in a single unbroken piece of masonry, the length between abutments being 12,469 ft. A main canal is taken off on either bank of the river, and each of these is divided into branches.