Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Late reception 1940-1996



He adds that H.C. Koch came closest to such recognition in his explanation of the first movement of the symphony, with, however, an implication that the sonata was somewhat different and more intimate in style than the symphony. A study of Koch's writings as they appear in Newman yields little in terms of the sonata cycle as a whole. In general, the only requirement that seems to be mentioned in writings from this time is that of contrast between the movements. Suggestions regarding the choice of form and character to be used for each movement were barely touched upon.


Furthermore, dictionary definitions were hazy at best. J.A.P. Schulz's 1775 discussion of a sonata mentions the fact that it is an instrumental piece consisting of two, three, or four successive movements of different character. He adds that the sonata is the best form with which a composer could depict his feelings without words. Nothing is mentioned about first-movement sonata form, or the form of the sonata work as a whole. This is also evident in a 1755 article by Rousseau.[89]


Newman considers the appearance of an eight-page discussion of "La grande coupe binaire" ("fully-developed binary design") from Anton Reicha's Traité de haute composition musicale in 1826 as the next step in the process of recognition of sonata form. Although Reicha does not mention the word "sonata," nor recognise the ternary implications of the design, he does cover the basic essentials, including the terms "exposition" and "development." He also establishes the proportions of both parts of the binary design, saying that they should be in a 1:2 or 1:3 relationship. More importantly, he fixes not only the arrangement of the themes in the exposition, but also the key structure.[90]


Newman also refers to Adolph Bernhard Marx who, in 1845, published a detailed 137-page section on "sonata form" in the first edition of Die Lehre von der musikalischen Komposition. He states that Marx "devoted much attention to details of phrase-and-period syntax, he preferred a ternary to a binary concept of 'sonata form,' and he included among the other movements the overlapping of types like the 'sonata rondo' and the 'fugal sonata.'"[91]


[89] ibid., p.23.

[90] Helman, Zofia. 'Norma indywiduacja w sonatach Chopina,' in Musica Iagellonica (1993), p. 47.

[91] Newman, William S. The Sonata Since Beethoven (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1972),. p. 31.


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