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Three keys dominate the classical guitar repertory: C major, A minor, and A major. Other keys require significant unidiomatic hand positions to make a simple Alberti bass Tompkins A major and minor are used extensively for virtuosity. In this paper I will focus primarily on the large-scale formal features and problems in the sonata.
He moved to Vienna in and was immersed in the classical style and soon began publishing compositions in this new found style. He experienced only moderate success as a composer in Vienna but was successful as a teacher and performer. However, due to financial troubles, he moved back to Italy in where he enjoyed success as a composer, teacher, and performer until his death in These provided people a way to enjoy the latest opera arias in their homes, especially if they could not attend the actual opera.
In these pieces Giuliani mastered imitation of the Italian bel canto style, and this is present in his other pieces as well, including the Gran Sonata. Heck However, Philip Hii provided an extensive analysis of the claims and determined that it is likely an authentic Giuliani composition from Hii n. The only problematic place is the medial caesura MC , which will plant the seed for a much larger problem in the recapitulation recap. The second phrase begins on IV but eventually reaches a PAC 9 measures later see figure 1 While the transition TR could begin here, a second theme begins P2 and features guitar harmonics see figure 2.
Due to the monophonic nature of the harmonic section, there is a lack of a strong PAC. The transition ends with a strong V:HC at the end of the arpeggiated section see figure 3. The following measure features only a monophonic repetition of V The options are either that the first strong MC was declined by the C major phrase and that the next MC is accepted or that there is a tri-modular block.
I think that due to the fact that C major is harmonically distant from I and V, the first MC was declined. The C major phrase in the middle of the MC candidates only presents a small problem of determining where the MC is.
However, this chromatic mediant key relationship that Giuliani previewed for four measures becomes a much bigger problem in the recap.
Notice also that these two keys, while distant, are two of the ones discussed in the introduction. The reason for this will also be revealed in the recap, but for now it will suffice to point out the very conservative form of the C major phrase. Because C major lends itself easily to Alberti bass, it is often used for less virtuosic and more conservative styles and because it is much more difficult to execute fast arpeggios in C major than A major. It is a parallel period with only a small phrase expansion before the PAC is reached.
One of the unique features of this sonata is that S seems to be more tightly knit than P. This will also come more to the fore in the recap.
The EEC that is marked in 5 is the first strong candidate. It is possible to take the EEC several bars later, as the cadence is re-articulated several times. However, I have decided to take the first PAC as the EEC because I do not think there is enough of a jumping-away from the cadence to consider the door being opened again.
The remaining parts of the exposition are closing C themes. C space will not be the focus of this paper, mostly due to the fact that C is primarily guitar gymnastics rather than a new theme or harmonic problem. I find the argument against authenticity especially of self-plagiarizing of the sonata to be most compelling for C space.
But as Hii n. The material sounds familiar, and the beginning seems to quote P2 see figure 6 , but otherwise the development seems to be new material that explores other keys.
This would make the development non-rotational—a bit unusual for a type 3 sonata. Because of the stock guitar gestures of C, it is likely to find many similar arpeggios or scalar flourishes in the development space that is similar to C and therefore find a rotation. The primary goal of the development becomes a half cadence in C major [III , bringing in what appears to be a false recap in that key.
Recapitulation This is the point at which it is necessary to remember the introductory remarks about the keys of A major and C major on the guitar. C major is the more conservative style, Alberti bass featuring key, while A major is the virtuosic one. This is indeed the case as can be seen in the Alberti bass texture of P1 in 7.
After the final PAC, a triplet section on a tonic of C major pedal begins and then steps down to a dominant lock in the home key I. From a phenomenological standpoint, it seems that the arrival of the real recap is near.
The dominant lock leads to a MC that is identical to the second MC choice of the exposition perhaps further validating that choice , and S begins in I.
This is problematic because P is expected rather than S. Even though P1 was only articulated for nearly three bars, it never comes back after the confident entrance of S. Like the exposition, there is a C section, and it is again guitar gymnastics that bring the piece to a close. However, this is not the present focus of this paper, as I think the bigger issues of structure and design come from the chromatic mediant problem.
It is an example of Giuliani taking a small, local key issue and turning it into a key issue for the design of the sonata. It is possible to re-conceptualize the sonata type as type 2 rather than type 3 because of the weak return of P in the recap. There is also evidence for this in the unusual aspect of S being more tightly-knit than P Caplin This also presents an issue of whether the exposition is continuous or two-part. I think this is the closest to representing what Giuliani was doing for this section.
The claim that the sonata is inauthentic looses traction, and Giuliani himself wrote in that this new sonata was very different in form than anything else Hii n. The [III problem also presents a structural one from a Schenkerian perspective. The blue represents the C major section. The C major section at the MC was not structurally significant enough to be a background issue, but the C major section in the recap clearly is.
Also, the interruption is reinterpreted. This moment is the most critical of the sonata. I still think the sonata is type 3 even with the problem of the recap, but type 2 is a strong choice. From a Schenkerian view, the chromatic mediant problem creates a problem of where to place structural tones.
The problem comes with the S theme, as can be seen in 12 where the structural tones of the S themes are shown in the exposition and recap, respectively. Here, there is no way to keep the same structural tone of the melody and have the same Urlinie. A major produced virtuosic arpeggios while C major produced Alberti bass and more conservative phrases. By themselves, the treatment of each key is very typical.
Put together, however, and it brings a chromatic mediant problem that can impact the structure and design of the sonata. When Giuliani wrote that the sonata was in a form never seen before, perhaps he was referring to this. But the form is hardly new. Key issue aside, the form is very clearly a sonata, and most of the parts work as expected. One larger issue that has thus far only been addressed in passing is the incorporation of bel canto melodies and the fact that Giuliani had been living in Italy when this was written rather than Vienna.
His first full sonata, and other sonatinas, were published in Vienna and were written in a conservative, Viennese style. The Gran Sonata, however, deviates from the norm. One could speculate that Giuliani felt more freedom from the Viennese style in Italy, but I think his concentration on the bel canto style is an issue to be considered as well.
Sonata theory is not built upon melodies but rather key areas. I think this piece represents an interesting intersection of Italian opera and Viennese form.
Giuliani certainly had a foot in both places during his life. He personally knew both Beethoven and Rossini, and it appears as if he was able to fuse the two together to create something new and very guitar friendly. I think the study of form in the Classical guitar repertory is currently underdeveloped.
There are other important sonatas by Fernando Sor, a Spanish-born guitarist who made his career in Paris, and other contemporaneous guitarists. It would also be interesting to look at how the guitar left the Viennese and bel canto styles in the compositions of Legnani, Mertz, Aguado, and Regondi. They left the Giuliani legacy and tradition behind and moved towards later Romantic styles.
Afterwards, the guitar soon fell out of fashion, only to be revised again in the early-mid twentieth century. I, for one, was required to play at least one major Giuliani piece before graduating, and I fortunately had the opportunity to perform it on a nineteenth-century guitar reproduction.
But perhaps this repertoire should also make its way from the limited world of classical guitarists to the broader discussion about form in the early nineteenth century. There are many interesting questions to be explored, the first of which is the extent instrument choice affects form. Further study will be able to show whether the chromatic submediant problem is unique to the Gran Sonata or is a feature brought about by the Classical guitar.
References Bampenyou, Rattanai Classical form: A theory of formal functions for the instrumental music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Oxford University Press. Heck, Thomas Heck, Thomas F The birth of the classic guitar and its cultivation in Vienna, reflected in the career and compositions of Mauro Giuliani.
Gran Sonata Eroica, Op.150 (Giuliani, Mauro)
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Mauro Giuliani – Gran Sonata Eroica for solo guitar, op. 150