Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Late 19th & Early 20th reception



was disproved in the twentieth century by means of thematic analysis. Like Schumann, Huneker also senses an overuse of dissonance, especially in the "working out section," which "is too short."[43] He does, however, feel that the funeral march, when isolated, has a much more profound effect than in its normal sequence. Of the finale, he proclaims that it "is too wonderful for words."[44]


Possibly the most negative review of the sonata is that from James Hadden. In a direct, matter-of-fact style, the only comment given to the second piano sonata is as follows:


Of the three sonatas the same thing might be said... The second, the B flat minor Sonata (Op. 35), appeared in 1840. Schumann said of this work that Chopin had here "bound together four of his maddest children": a pregnant remark. The four movements, regarded separately, are admirable, but taken together they have little thematic or other affinity. The Marche funèbre, which constitutes the third movement, has been popularized to death, though Schumann found in it "much that is repulsive." It is really the finest movement in the Sonata.[45]


This quote is taken from The Master Musicians series of the day. The minimal space devoted to Chopin's three sonatas in a book of over 200 pages is quite staggering. Comments relating to all three piano sonatas as well as the cello sonata opus 65 total little over twenty lines. The author obviously considered these works as being of inferior quality and thus felt it unnecessary to devote much attention to them. This is in stark contrast to various other authors who, even when expressing their reservations about the second piano sonata, still give Chopin his due where deserved.


From an analytical point of view, Hugo Leichtentritt, although not counting Chopin among the "real composers of sonatas," was one of the first to acknowledge that an analysis of this work showed that one could "hardly uphold any longer the objection of imperfect structure."[46] He was possibly the first to read deeper into Chopin's understanding of sonata structure, and thus come to a different conclusion as to the


[43] ibid., p. 167.

[44] ibid., p. 168.

[45] Hadden, J. Cuthbert. The Master Musicians: Chopin (London: J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd, 1903), p. 186.

[46] Leichtentritt, Hugo. Analyse der Chopin'schen Klavierwerke, Vol. II (Berlin: Max Hesse, 1921-1922),p. 210.


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