Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/563

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
FORM.
551
 

fact plan of baldly passing to its Dominant, pausing, and re-commencing operations. The reprise of the first subject is sufficient indication to the hearer as to what part of the movement he has arrived at, and the approaches to it require to be so fined off, that it may burst upon him with the extra force of a surprise. Sometimes a similar effect is obtained by the totally opposite course of raising expectation by hints of what is to come, and then deferring it in such a manner that the suspended anticipation of the mind may heighten the sense of pleasure in its gratification, as in the last movement of the Waldstein Sonata. Again the return is not unfrequently made the climax of a grand culmination of increasing force and fury, such as that in the first movement of the Waldstein Sonata (where the return is pp) and the 4th and 8th Symphonies, a device which is as moving to the hearer as either of the former ones, and equally intense and original.

In the recapitulation of his subjects, as might be anticipated from his intensity in all things, there is a growing tendency to avoid the apparent platitude of repeating them exactly as at first. Sometimes they appear with new features, or new orders of modulation, and sometimes altogether as variations of the originals. As instances of this may be taken the recapitulation of the first subjects in the first movements of the Eroica Symphony, D minor Sonata (op. 31, No. 2), the Waldstein, the Appassionato, and the B♭ Sonata, op. 106, the first movement of the Quartet in E♭, op. 127, and of the Kreutzer Sonata, the slow movements of the Violin Sonata in C minor, op. 30, and of the great B♭ Sonata just named, all which present the various features above enumerated in great perfection. No system can be defined of the way in which Beethoven connects his first and second subject in this part of the movement, as he particularly avoids sameness of procedure in such matters. As a rule the second subject is given more simply than the first; no doubt because of its being generally of less vital importance, and less prominent in the mind of the hearer, and therefore requiring to be more easily recognisable. With regard to the key in which it appears, he occasionally varies, particularly when it has not appeared in the first part in the orthodox Dominant key. Thus in the first movement of the great Quartet in B♭, op. 130, the second subject, which had appeared in the first part in the key of the third below (G♭ relative to B♭), appears in the recapitulation in the key of the minor third above—D♭. And in the Sonata in G major, op. 31, the second subject, which appeared in the key of the major third in the first part, appears in the reprise in that of the minor third below. These and other analogous instances seem to indicate that in the statement and restatement of his subjects, when they did not follow the established order, he held the balance to be between the third above and the third below, major and minor. The reason for his not doing so in the B♭ Sonata (op. 106) is no doubt because in the very elaborate repeat of the first section he had modulated so far away from the principal key.

The last point to which we come in Beethoven's treatment of the Sonata-forms is his use of the Coda, which is, no doubt, the most remarkable and individual of all. It has been before pointed out that Mozart confines himself chiefly to Codas after repetition of the second half of his movements, and these are sometimes interesting and forcible; but Codas added for less obvious reasons are rare; and as a rule both his Codas and Haydn's remain steadily in the principal key of the movement, and strengthen the Cadence by repetition rather than by leading the mind away to another key, and then back again up to a fresh climax of key-definition. That is to say, they added for formal purposes and not for the sake of fresh points of interest. Beethoven, on the other hand, seemed to look upon the conclusion of the movement as a point where interest should be concentrated, and some most moving effects produced. It must have seemed to him a pure absurdity to end the whole precisely as the half, and to conclude with matter which had lost part of its zest from having been all heard before. Hence from quite an early period (e.g. slow movement of D major Sonata, op. 10, No. 3) he began to reproduce his subjects in new and interesting phases in this part of the movement, indulging in free and forcible modulation, which seems even from the point of pure form to endow the final Cadence with fresh force when the original key is regained. The form of the Coda is evidently quite independent. He either commences it from an interrupted Cadence at the end of the preceding section, or passes on from the final chord without stopping—in the latter case generally with decisive modulation. In other cases he does not conclude the preceding section, but as it were grafts the Coda on to the old stock, from which it springs with wonderful and altogether renewed vigour. As conspicuous instances may be quoted the Coda of the Sonata in E♭, Op. 81a, ('Les Adieux, l'Absence, et le Retour,') which is quite the culminating point of interest in the movement; the vehement and impetuous Coda of the last movement of the Appassionata Sonata, which introduces quite a new feature, and the Coda to the last movement of the Waldstein Sonata. The two climacteric Codas of all, however, are those to the first movements of the Eroica and the 9th Symphony, which are sublime. The former chiefly by reason of its outset, for there is hardly anything more amazing in music than the drop from the piano Tonic E♭ which concludes the preceding section, to a forte D♭, and then to the chord of C major fortissimo. But the whole Coda of the first movement of the 9th Symphony is a perpetual climax and a type of Beethoven's grandest conceptions, full of varied modulation, and constant representation of the features of the subjects in various new lights, and ending with a surging, giant-striding specimen of 'Tonic and Dominant,' by way of enforcing the key, which is quite without rival in the whole domain of music.