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



Example 8: The link between the Scherzo and Funeral March[124]


Link between Scherzo and Funeral March


The revelatory aspects of Leichtentritt's work having been explored, the next important analysis of Chopin's opus 35 will now be examined - that of Rudloph Réti. His analysis is based on a form-building element considered by him as being almost completely neglected by the theoretical community at the time. This is the sphere of thematic or "motivic" structure,[125] which, when applied to Chopin's second piano sonata, reveals how thematically unified this work really is.


One of the principal reservations expressed by earlier critics about opus 35 was its apparent lack of thematic and organic unity between the four movements. Réti's analysis seems to provide overwhelming evidence to the contrary. However, this should be seen in perspective, as Réti is clearly using Chopin's opus 35 as a medium for proving the validity of his analytical method, and not as a means of rehabilitating Chopin. The uncovering of thematic links between subjects and movements should always be viewed with one important issue in mind: that by a process of reduction, it


[124] Chopin, Fr�d�ric. Klaviersonate b-moll opus 35 (M�nchen: G. Henle Verlag, 1976), pp. 21-22.

[125] R�ti, Rudolph. The Thematic Process in Music (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1951), p. 3. It should be noted that Schoenberg used a similar method when analysing atonal works around the beginning of the twentieth century. R�ti extended this analytical method by applying it to tonal works.


Previous      Next






©2010 Jonathan Oshry • joshry@hotmail.com