Understanding Mozart's Piano Sonatas by John Irving

By John Irving

Mozart's piano sonatas are one of the so much favourite of his works and stand along these of Haydn and Beethoven as staples of the pianist's repertoire. during this learn, John Irving seems at a big variety of contextual occasions for Mozart's sonatas, concentrating on the diversity of the way within which they think identities and attain meanings. particularly, the ebook seeks to set up the provisionality of the sonatas' notated texts, suggesting that the texts will not be rather a lot identifiers as probabilities and that their identification is living within the utilization. shut realization is paid to reception issues, analytical techniques, organology, the function of autograph manuscripts, early variants and editors, and points of historic functionality perform - all of which transcend the texts in establishing home windows onto Mozart's sonatas. Treating the sonatas jointly as a repertoire, instead of as person works, the e-book surveys wide thematic matters comparable to the function of ancient writing approximately tune in defining a frequent area for Mozart's sonatas, their development inside pedagogical traditions, the importance of sound in preference to sight in those works (and specifically their sound on fortepianos of the later eighteenth-century), and the inventive position of the performer of their illustration past the body of the textual content. Drawing jointly and synthesizing this wealth of fabric, Irving presents a useful reference resource for these already conversant in this repertoire.

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310, for example – we might imagine that Mozart’s text requires of us competence in how the musical materials encoded within his text work: that is, how they combine on local and extended levels to create intelligible designs. Those designs might be regarded as being built upon well-defined interrelations among types of material such as themes and harmonic progressions (but also processes for handling and discriminating among these, such as contrast and repetition). In such a system, the implication is that the material and perhaps also the processes have objective status and are manipulated and recognized according to socially embedded sets of conventions.

It is not what the Andante actually is – merely how it might seem when interpreted according to one historically situated collection of analytical precepts comprising a ‘fusion of horizons’. Alternatively, we might pursue an interpretation of this movement from a different ‘horizon’, a three-part view of the sonata form that developed after Mozart’s death, and which assumed an increasingly prominent role in nineteenthcentury music theory as developed by Reicha, Czerny and Marx. The idea of sonata form as comprising a division into three sections, rather than two, was established gradually during the 1820s and 1830s.

311 from a Schenkerian analytical perspective will tend to privilege certain features such as voice-leading and nested hierarchies of dissonance–consonance relations, and it is not at all obvious how such benchmarks may be regarded as subjective, whereas a view that treats the arrival of a particular texture associatively as a sign of recapitulation might be felt to lack objectivity. Both extremes are evidence-based assertions, though one tends towards an objective, the other towards a subjective rationale.

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