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Beethoven's Error? The Modulating Ritornello and the Type 5 Sonata in the Post‐Classical Piano Concerto

Beethoven's Error? The Modulating Ritornello and the Type 5 Sonata in the Post‐Classical Piano... In his analysis of the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37, Donald Francis Tovey dismissed Beethoven's decision to modulate for the second theme in the movement's opening tutti as an ‘error’ that gives the impression of a symphonic exposition rather than a concerto ritornello and thereby undermines the work's generic identity. For Tovey, Beethoven and practitioners falling under his influence misunderstood a fundamental formal principle, enshrined in Mozart's predominant habit of associating structural modulation with the solo exposition. More recent theories of concerto first‐movement form, including James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy's model of the ‘type‐5’ sonata, sustain both Tovey's view of Op. 37 and the normativity of Mozart's example. Drawing on a corpus study of 87 piano concerti by 20 composers written between 1789 and 1848, this paper challenges the centrality of the monotonal ritornello to the theory of the type 5 sonata. It demonstrates the overwhelming generic predominance of modulating ritornelli in this time and develops a post‐canonical theory of concerto first‐movement form that questions the centrality of Mozartian norms on historical and empirical grounds. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Beethoven's Error? The Modulating Ritornello and the Type 5 Sonata in the Post‐Classical Piano Concerto

Music Analysis , Volume 40 (3) – Oct 1, 2021

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12180
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In his analysis of the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37, Donald Francis Tovey dismissed Beethoven's decision to modulate for the second theme in the movement's opening tutti as an ‘error’ that gives the impression of a symphonic exposition rather than a concerto ritornello and thereby undermines the work's generic identity. For Tovey, Beethoven and practitioners falling under his influence misunderstood a fundamental formal principle, enshrined in Mozart's predominant habit of associating structural modulation with the solo exposition. More recent theories of concerto first‐movement form, including James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy's model of the ‘type‐5’ sonata, sustain both Tovey's view of Op. 37 and the normativity of Mozart's example. Drawing on a corpus study of 87 piano concerti by 20 composers written between 1789 and 1848, this paper challenges the centrality of the monotonal ritornello to the theory of the type 5 sonata. It demonstrates the overwhelming generic predominance of modulating ritornelli in this time and develops a post‐canonical theory of concerto first‐movement form that questions the centrality of Mozartian norms on historical and empirical grounds.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2021

References