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Retheorising the End: Sonata Structures and Morphological Form in Shostakovich's String Quartet Finales

Retheorising the End: Sonata Structures and Morphological Form in Shostakovich's String Quartet... Between the mid‐1930s and the 1960s Dmitri Shostakovich composed a large number of sonata movements in which the structure is in dialogue with eighteenth‐ and nineteenth‐century conceptions of the form. Performative in nature, his use of the formal genre is clearly displayed, indeed highlighted in the exposition, only to be just as openly countered later in the movement. Previous scholarship has focused on Shostakovich's use of sonata form in first movements of multi‐movement symphonies and quartets. Yet, his alterations to the form differ with respect to the placement of the movement within a multi‐movement work. In first‐movement sonata forms, the rupture of the structural boundary between the development and recapitulation is sutured over. In finales, the gap is torn open and put on display through a dissolution of the music at the structural juncture. How the music restarts after this dissolution affects the narrative role of the movement. Owing to these alterations in structure, the finales problematise the rhetorical functions such movements have historically played in the overall structure. Historic archetypes are not fulfilled, but rather questioned and undermined. Shostakovich's string quartet finales thus function as morphological forms, moving beyond traditional syntactic space into a more expressive realm. Through the gesture of disintegration they metaphorically display symbolic dissolution, only then to propose new means of reflecting symbolic existence. Through his alterations Shostakovich presents a revitalized sonata form, one that is able to create meaning within the modern context. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Retheorising the End: Sonata Structures and Morphological Form in Shostakovich's String Quartet Finales

Music Analysis , Volume 38 (3) – Oct 1, 2019

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12120
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Between the mid‐1930s and the 1960s Dmitri Shostakovich composed a large number of sonata movements in which the structure is in dialogue with eighteenth‐ and nineteenth‐century conceptions of the form. Performative in nature, his use of the formal genre is clearly displayed, indeed highlighted in the exposition, only to be just as openly countered later in the movement. Previous scholarship has focused on Shostakovich's use of sonata form in first movements of multi‐movement symphonies and quartets. Yet, his alterations to the form differ with respect to the placement of the movement within a multi‐movement work. In first‐movement sonata forms, the rupture of the structural boundary between the development and recapitulation is sutured over. In finales, the gap is torn open and put on display through a dissolution of the music at the structural juncture. How the music restarts after this dissolution affects the narrative role of the movement. Owing to these alterations in structure, the finales problematise the rhetorical functions such movements have historically played in the overall structure. Historic archetypes are not fulfilled, but rather questioned and undermined. Shostakovich's string quartet finales thus function as morphological forms, moving beyond traditional syntactic space into a more expressive realm. Through the gesture of disintegration they metaphorically display symbolic dissolution, only then to propose new means of reflecting symbolic existence. Through his alterations Shostakovich presents a revitalized sonata form, one that is able to create meaning within the modern context.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2019

References