Monday, June 2, 2008

Beethoven Op. 10, No. 2 in F Major

Previously, I talked about the sonatas of Op. 10 in a sort of summary, and now I'd like to go into a little more depth with one of them. This is the second of the Op. 10 set. There are a few figures that illustrate in the music some of the aspects I am pointing out. In my next post, I'll go over a little more concerning my overall strategy to completing this project. But now for Op. 10, No. 2...

This sonata is fairly interesting. It contains a good bit of irony and subtle humor. After only 12 measures in F, Beethoven begins to transition to the second tonal area, C major, and he is there by measure 18.
He remains there until the end of the exposition at measure 66. During his stay in C, he leads the listener through the minor mode as well and also to believe he might even switch keys before the exposition’s end.

What become particularly interesting are his transitions through tonal areas throughout the movement. For his transition to the second tonal area of C major, he goes by way of an E major chord, the dominant of the relative minor of C major, a minor. This comes from a common practice during Mozart’s and Haydn’s time where the development section would oftentimes end on the relative minor. After some time it seemed fit to simply end the section on the V of the relative minor. However, by the time Beethoven composes Op. 10, this is not really consider "of the fashion" anymore. But Beethoven utilizes this harmonic progression in a different environment. Before it had only been common at the end of development sections, not, like Beethoven does here, in transitions within the exposition.

The final cadence of the exposition is simply a I-V-I stripped to just octaves. As Beethoven often likes to do, he uses this bare-bones form of basic harmony and develops it. Much of the development section consists of the development of this I-V-I progression in different keys.

The transition to the exposition is equally as interesting as the return to the recapitulation. Beethoven begins in the wrong key: D Major. He plays through the first theme and transition. At the transition he stops and isolates a small melodic fragment out of its harmonic context. Using a technique he learned from Haydn, he repeats this isolated fragment until the listener forgets where he was. Now, reharmonizing it, Beethoven makes the smooth transition to F where he starts the second half of the opening theme again.
With no need for the transition, he leaves out the material altogether and starts immediately in the second thematic section. Beethoven ends the movement as the exposition ended; there is a complete absence of a coda.

-Taylor Baldwin

1 comment:

Andre said...

That is a good analysis of the piece. I am writing programmes notes for op10 no2 and I was stuck as I didn't know what else to write. Your analysis gave me more ideas .