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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Repeats

From:

Joel Lazar <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 Mar 2000 13:04:10 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (53 lines)

Peter Varley wrote:

>Felix Delbruck wrote:
>
>>Of course the composer decides what structure his piece should have.  My
>>question was and is: how important a role does the *repeat* play within
>>that structure?
>
>In the specific case of Schubert's D960, surely it's very important?
>There's music in the lead-back from the end of the exposition to the
>start which doesn't appear anywhere else in the movement.  If the
>exposition repeat isn't played, that passage is never heard.
>
>To my mind, that's reasonable evidence that Schubert not only wanted the
>exposition repeat to be played but expected that in practice it would be.

Like it or not, sonata-form exposition repeats really need to be respected;
the tonal trajectory and the proportions of a movement as well as the
immediate excitement of a relatively conventional return to tonic [but not
always so] the first time followed by an harmonic jolt then next time are
crucial.

And let me remind our readers [if nobody else has and as I always do] that
Brahms 2/I and Mendelssohn 4/I contain in their first endings [British:
first time bars] some of the most wonderful music in each movement.

To be perfectly frank, I don't what I'm going to do with internal repeats
in the da Capos of Classical minuets with two or three trios--Mozart
Haffner and Posthorn Serenades next time I conduct them.  But I have been
taking the internal repeats in the da Capo of the scherzos of Beethoven
Symphony 1 and 2 for years and find it incredibly convincing.

It's the performer's task to make it interesting, not the composer's
fault for having opted for this structure.  Sonata-form movements in
related generes [symphony first movements and overtures for instance]
have been shown years ago to have important differences in structure
which are probably related to the presence/absence of repeats; although
we know that 18th and early 19th-century performance practice might have
been fairly casual in this respect.

I find that sonata-exposition repeats, internal repeats in rondos and
closed-form repeats all give me the opportunity to reveal different
aspects of texture and color when the music comes back.  This degree of
self-consiciousness, of course, was probably not to be found 200 years
ago, but then a psychodynamic attitude toward motivation in Shakespeare's
characters was not exactly part of an actor's preparation 400 years back.

Yet another reson why we may of course choose to emulate "period"
sonorities but can never really either play or hear music of another
era with the ears of its original auditors!

Joel Lazar
Bethesda MD

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