Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - The early analyses - Leichtentritt and Reti



Example 22: Hints of a melodious second subject in the Finale[153]


Hints of a melodious second subject in Finale


Réti emphasises the fact that Chopin's music, while exhibiting expressive and romantic qualities, is firmly entrenched in thematic homogeneity and thematic transformation. These transformations, he adds, "become architectural forces, and, indeed, engender musical form."[154]


On the results of his efforts, Réti concludes:


Guided by these structural clues, the compositional process through which the work must have grown becomes strikingly transparent. We can imagine a musical thought, pregnant both with emotional impulse and with structural possibilities, revolving in the composer's mind. Visions flash up of the various configurations and moods which this thought may assume, and thus different sections and movements take shape.[155]


The results of these two major analyses by Leichtentritt and Réti show a disagreement with certain of the reservations with regard to opus 35 that were uncovered in earlier chapters. The relevant criticisms are:


1)      The fact that Chopin was not comfortable in using a sonata (implied in Schumann's critique in Appendix A);

2)      The fact that the last two movements have no connection with the first two (Huneker, page 18);

3)      The lack of organic or thematic unity between the four movements (Hadden, page 19);


[153] ibid., p. 307.

[154] ibid., p. 308.

[155] ibid., p. 307. Réti's emphasis.


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