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Functional Analysis at the Fin de Siècle: Genre, Compositional Process and the Demonic in the Rondo of Elgar's Second Symphony

Functional Analysis at the Fin de Siècle: Genre, Compositional Process and the Demonic in the... The most interesting recent developments in formal function theory have tested its application on nineteenth‐century repertoire. Hitherto, however, functional analysis has touched only lightly on the post‐Wagnerian symphony from around 1900. When music analysis addresses this repertoire today, it is usually by means of the approaches that have become ‘Sonata Theory’. Functional analysis brings different insights, switching the focus to syntax and local formal process. The third‐movement ‘Rondo’ from Elgar's Second Symphony (1911) exemplifies the challenges inherent in progressive Romantic repertoire: while functional analysis can illuminate the syntax and formal processes of this music, it must be applied with an ear to shifting and overlapping functional meanings. The Rondo manifests parallel ambiguities at the levels of paratext and genre. The syntactic continuity and instability foregrounded by functional analysis resonate directly with the movement's thematisation of the demonic and the uncanny through paratext, topic, cyclic reminiscence and generic ambiguity. This article uses the concepts of functional theory to open and discuss questions of genre and compositional process and to reframe the Rondo's programmatic themes from an analytically informed perspective. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Functional Analysis at the Fin de Siècle: Genre, Compositional Process and the Demonic in the Rondo of Elgar's Second Symphony

Music Analysis , Volume 37 (3) – Oct 1, 2018

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12119
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The most interesting recent developments in formal function theory have tested its application on nineteenth‐century repertoire. Hitherto, however, functional analysis has touched only lightly on the post‐Wagnerian symphony from around 1900. When music analysis addresses this repertoire today, it is usually by means of the approaches that have become ‘Sonata Theory’. Functional analysis brings different insights, switching the focus to syntax and local formal process. The third‐movement ‘Rondo’ from Elgar's Second Symphony (1911) exemplifies the challenges inherent in progressive Romantic repertoire: while functional analysis can illuminate the syntax and formal processes of this music, it must be applied with an ear to shifting and overlapping functional meanings. The Rondo manifests parallel ambiguities at the levels of paratext and genre. The syntactic continuity and instability foregrounded by functional analysis resonate directly with the movement's thematisation of the demonic and the uncanny through paratext, topic, cyclic reminiscence and generic ambiguity. This article uses the concepts of functional theory to open and discuss questions of genre and compositional process and to reframe the Rondo's programmatic themes from an analytically informed perspective.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2018

References