Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Conclusion








This brings to an end a survey of the long and interesting history relating to the reception of Chopin's piano sonata in B flat Minor opus 35. The content and order of this dissertation was organised so as to highlight the change in receptive trend as it occurred around the mid-nineteenth to the late-twentieth centuries. This trend has been shown to exhibit a turning point around 1920 with the writings of Hugo Leichtentritt.


The change in receptive trend is in part due to a better understanding of the sonata cycle and sonata form. The evolution thereof began in the early Baroque era with the multi-movement suite. This continued with the appearance of the Classical sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven; the sonatas of Beethoven showing remarkable poetic licences and digressions from those of Haydn and Mozart. Already by this stage, a significant compression of the form was evident, especially in the later piano sonatas of Beethoven (although an expansion of the form is also seen in Beethoven's late Hammerklavier piano sonata). The Romantic composers continued the line of evolution, one of the most important results of which was the mixing of various forms and characters under the title "sonata." Chopin's experimentation with these forms and characters is no more apparent than in his second piano sonata. Here he mixes variation and sonata principles in the first movement, uses a three-layered form for the Scherzo, uses a slow Funeral March as the third movement instead of the second (the second being traditionally the home of the slow movement), and ends the work with a bi-thematic rondo lasting around seventy-five seconds.


Just as Haydn and Beethoven substituted a scherzo in place of the minuet, and introduced the fugue into their sonatas (Beethoven opus 106) and quartets (Haydn opus 20), similarly, Chopin placed his own forms into his sonatas. As observed by Jozef Chominski, Chopin used the four-movement scheme as a context within which



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