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[Pg v]


This little volume is entitled "The Pianoforte Sonata: its Origin and Development." Some of the early sonatas mentioned in it were, however, written for instruments of the jack or tangent kind. Even Beethoven's sonatas up to Op. 27, inclusive, were published for "Clavicembalo o Pianoforte." The Germans have the convenient generic term "Clavier," which includes the old and the new instruments with hammer action; hence, they speak of a Clavier Sonate written, say, by Kuhnau, in the seventeenth, or of one by Brahms in the nineteenth, century.

The term "Piano e Forte" is, however, to be found in letters of a musical instrument maker named Paliarino, written, as we learn from the valuable article "Pianoforte," contributed by Mr. Hipkins to Sir George Grove's Dictionary of[Pg vi] Music and Musicians, already in the year 1598, and addressed to Alfonso II., Duke of Modena. The earliest sonata for a keyed instrument mentioned in this volume was published in 1695; and to avoid what seems an unnecessary distinction, I have used the term "Pianoforte Sonata" for that sonata and for some other works which followed, and which are usually and properly termed "Harpsichord Sonatas."

I have to acknowledge kind assistance received from Mr. A.W. Hutton, Mr. F.G. Edwards, and Mr. E. Van der Straeten. And I also beg to thank Mr. W. Barclay Squire and Mr. A. Hughes-Hughes for courteous help at the British Museum; likewise Dr. Kopfermann, chief librarian of the musical section of the Berlin Royal Library.


London, 1895.

[Pg 1]




In history we find certain names associated with great movements: Luther with the Reformation, or Garibaldi with the liberation of Italy. Luther certainly posted on the door of the church at Wittenberg his famous Theses, and burnt the Papal Bull at the gates of that city; yet before Luther there lived men, such as the scholar Erasmus, who have been appropriately named Reformers before the Reformation. So, too, Cavour's cautious policy paved the way for Garibaldi's brilliant victories. Once again, Leonardo da Vinci is named as the inventor of chiaroscuro, yet he was preceded by Fra Filippo Lippi. And in similar manner, in music, certain men are associated with certain forms. Haydn, for example, is called the father of the quartet; close investigation, however, would show that he was only a link, and certainly not the first one in a long evolution. So, [Pg 2]too, with the sonata. The present volume is, however, specially concerned with the clavier or pianoforte sonata; and for that we have a convenient starting-point—the Sonata in B flat of Kuhnau, published in 1695. The date is easy to remember, for in that same year died England's greatest musician, Henry Purcell.

Before studying the history of the pianoforte sonata, even in outline, it is essential that something should be said about the early history of the sonata. That term appears first to have been used in contradistinction to cantata: the one was a piece sounded (suonata, from sonando) by instruments; the other, one sung by voices. The form of these early sonatas (as they appear in Giovanni Gabrieli's works towards the close of the sixteenth century) was vague; yet, in spite of light imitations, the basis was harmonic, rather than contrapuntal. They were among the first fruits of the Renaissance in Italy. But soon there came about a process of differentiation. Praetorius, in his Syntagma musicum, published at Wolfenbüttel in 1619, distinguishes between the sonata and the canzona. Speaking generally, from the one seems to have come the sonata proper; from the other, the suite. During the whole of the eighteenth century there was a continual intercrossing of these two species; it is no easy matter, therefore, to trace the early stages of development of each separately.

Marpurg, in his description of various kinds of pieces in his Clavierstücke, published at Berlin in[Pg 3] 1762, says: "Sonatas are pieces in three or four movements, marked merely Allegro, Adagio, Presto, etc., although in character they may be really an Allemande, Courante, and Gigue." Corelli, as will be mentioned later on, gave dance titles in addition to Allegro, Adagio, etc. Marpurg also states that "when the middle movement is in slow time it is not always in the key of the first and last movements." This, again, shows intercrossing. The genuine suite consisted of several dance movements (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue) all in the same key. But we find occasionally in suites, a Fugue or Fuguetta, or even an Aria or Adagio; and in name, at any rate, one dance movement has formed part of the sonata since the time of Emanuel Bach.

In 1611, Banchieri, an Olivetan monk, published at Venice his L'Organo suonarino, a work "useful and necessary to organists,"—thus runs the title-page. At the end of the volume there are some pieces, vocal and instrumental (a Concerto for soprano or tenor, with organ, a Fantasia, Ricercata, etc.), among which are to be found two sonatas, the one entitled, "Prima Sonata, doppio soggietto," the other "Seconda Sonata, soggietto triplicato." They are written out in open score of four staves, with mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, and bass clefs. To show how the sonatas of those days differed both in form and contents from the sonata of our century, the first of the above-mentioned is given in short score. It will, probably, remind readers [Pg 4]of "the first (i.e. sonatas) that my (i.e. Dr. Burney) musical inquiries have discovered, viz., some sonatas by Francesco Turini, which consisted of only a single movement, in fugue and imitation throughout."

Sonata from L'Organo Suonarino

Sonata continued

[Pg 5]Sonata continued

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Turini was organist of Brescia Cathedral, and in 1624 published Madrigali a una, due, tre voci, con alcune Sonate e a tre, Ven. 1624. Between[Pg 6] Turini, also Carlo Farina, who published violin sonatas at Dresden in 1628, and Corelli (b. 1653), who brought out his first work in 1683, one name of great importance is Giovanni Legrenzi.

In the eighth volume of Dr. Burney's musical extracts there are two sonatas, a tre, a due violini e violone, by Legrenzi (opera ottava, 1677). The first is in B flat. It commences with a movement in common time entitled La Benivoglia.

La Benivoglia

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An Adagio in G minor (only six bars) is followed by an Allegro in D minor, six-eight time, closing on a major chord; then eight bars common time in B flat (no heading); and, finally, a Presto (three-four) commencing in G minor and closing in B flat. None of the movements is in binary form.

The 2nd Sonata, in D, has five short movements. No. 1 has an opening of thirty-seven bars in common time, fugato. There is a modulation in the ninth bar to the dominant, and, later on, a return to the opening theme and key; in the intervening space, however, in spite of modulation, the principal key is not altogether avoided.

Sonatas of various kinds by Legrenzi appeared between 1655 and 1677. Then there were the "Varii Fiori del Giardino Musicale ouero Sonate da Camera, etc.," of Gio. Maria Bononcini, father of Battista Bononcini, the famous rival of Handel, published at Bologna in 1669, and the sonatas of[Pg 7] Gio. Battista Vitali (Bologna, 1677). Giambatista Bassani of Bologna, although his junior by birth, was the violin master of the great Corelli. His sonatas only appeared after those of his illustrious pupil, yet may have been composed before. Of the twelve in Op. 5, most have many short movements; some, indeed, are so short as to be scarcely deserving of the name.

By the time of Arcangelo Corelli, who, as mentioned, published his first work (Op. 1, twelve sonatas for two violins and a bass) in 1683, sonatas answered to the definition given by Mattheson in his Das neu eröffnete Orchester (1713), in which they are said to consist of alternate Adagio and Allegro. J.G. Walther, again, in his dictionary of music,[1] which appeared at Leipzig in 1732, describes a sonata as a "grave artistic composition for instruments, especially violins." The idea of grouping movements was already in vogue in the sixteenth century. Morley in his Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music, printed in 1597, speaks of the desirableness of alternating Pavans and Galliards, the one being "a kind of staid musick ordained for grave dancing," and the other "a lighter and more stirring kind of dancing." Contrast was obtained, too, not only by difference in the character, but also, in the measure of the music; the former was in common, the latter in triple time.

With regard to the grouping of movements, Corelli's sonatas show several varieties. The usual [Pg 8]number, however, was four, and the order generally—slow, fast, slow, fast. Among the forty-eight (Op. 1, 2, 3, and 4, published 1685, 1690, 1694, and 1700 respectively) we find the majority in four movements, in the order given above[2]; of the twelve in Op. 3, no less than eleven have four movements, but—

No. 1 (in F) hasGrave, Allegro, Vivace, Allegro.
No. 6 (in G),Vivace, Grave, Allegro, Allegro.
No. 10 (in A minor), Vivace, Allegro, Adagio, Allegro.

There are, however, eight sonatas consisting of three movements; and as this, a century later, became the normal number, we will give the list:—

Op. 1, No. 7 (in C)Allegro, Grave, Allegro. (Middle movement begins in A minor, but ends in C.)
Op. 2, No. 2 (in D minor)Allemanda (Adagio), Corrente (Allegro), Giga (Allegro).
Op. 2, No. 6 (in G minor)Allemanda (Largo), Corrente, Giga.
Op. 2, No. 9 (F sharp minor)Allemanda (Largo), Tempo di Sarabanda (Largo), Giga (Allegro).
Op. 4, No. 8 (D minor)Preludio (Grave), Allemanda (Allegro), Sarabanda (Allegro).
Op. 4, No. 10 (G)Preludio[3] (Adagio) and Allegro, Adagio and Grave (E minor), Tempo di Gavotta (Allegro).[Pg 9]
Op. 4, No. 11 (C minor)Preludio (Largo), Corrente (Allegro), Allemanda (Allegro).
Op. 4, No. 12 (B minor)Preludio (Largo), Allemanda (Presto), Giga (Allegro).

It is interesting to note that each of the two sonatas (Op. 1, No. 7, and Op. 4, No. 10), most in keeping with its title of sonata, has the middle movement in a relative key. Op. 1, No. 7, begins with an Allegro in common time; and the short Grave is followed by a light Allegro in six-eight time. The first movement, with its marked return to the principal key, is very interesting in the matter of form. The other sonatas with suite titles have all their movements in the same key. Locatelli in his XII Sonate for flute, published early in the eighteenth century, has in the first: Andante, Adagio, Presto; also Nos. 3, 5, etc. So, too, in Tartini's Sonatas (Op. 1) there are also some in three (No. 3, etc.). But Emanuel Bach commenced with that number, to which, with few and unimportant exceptions, he remained faithful; likewise to the slow movement dividing the two quick ones. The three-movement form used by J.S. Bach for his concertos and sonatas no doubt considerably influenced his son. But already, in 1668, Diderich Becker, in his Musikalische Frülings-Früchte, wrote sonatas for violins, etc. and continuo, in three movements. (No. 10, Allegro, Adagio, Allegro. Again, Sonata No. 19 opens with a [Pg 10]movement in common time, most probably an Allegro; then comes an Adagio, and, lastly, a movement in six-four, most probably quick tempo.) These sonatas of Becker a 3, 4 or 5, with basso continuo, are unfortunately only printed in parts. As a connecting link between the Gabrielis and Corelli, and more particularly as a forerunner of Kuhnau, Becker is of immense importance. We are concerned with the clavier sonata, otherwise we should certainly devote more space to this composer. We have been able to trace back sonatas by German composers to Becker (1668), and by Italian composers to Legrenzi (1655); those of Gabrieli and Banchieri, as short pieces, not a group of movements, are not taken into account. Now, of earlier history, we do know that Hans Leo. von Hasler, said to have been born at Nuremberg in 1564, studied first with his father, but afterwards at Venice, and for a whole year under A. Gabrieli. Italian and German art are thus intimately connected; but what each gave to, or received from, the other with regard to the sonata seems impossible to determine. The Becker sonatas appeared at Hamburg, and surely E. Bach must have been acquainted with them. Becker in his preface mentions another Hamburg musician—a certain Johann Schop—who did much for the cause of instrumental music. Schop, it appears, published concertos for various instruments already in the year 1644. And there was still another work of importance published at[Pg 11] Amsterdam, very early in the eighteenth century, by the famous violinist and composer G. Torelli, which must have been known to E. Bach. It is entitled "Six Sonates ou Concerts à 4, 5, e 6 Parties," and of these, five have three movements (Allegro, Adagio, and Allegro).

Corelli was the founder of a school of violin composers, of which Geminiani,[4] Locatelli,[5] Veracini,[6] and Tartini[7] were the most distinguished representatives; the first two were actually pupils of the master. In the sonatas of these men there is an advance in two directions: sonata-form[8] is in process of evolution from binary form, i.e. the second half of the first section is filled with subject-matter of more definite character; the bars of modulation and development are growing in number and importance; and the principal theme appears as the commencement of a recapitulation. We should like to say that binary is changing into[Pg 12] ternary form; unfortunately, however, the latter term is used for a different kind of movement. To speak of a movement in sonata-form, containing three sections (exposition, development, and recapitulation) as in binary form, seems a decided misnomer.

The violinists just mentioned were the last great writers of sonatas in Italy. Emanuel Bach arose during the first half of the eighteenth century, and, henceforth, Germany took the lead; Bach was followed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The influence of the Corelli[9] school was felt in Germany and also in England. Sonatas were published by Veracini at Dresden in 1721, and by Tartini and Locatelli at Amsterdam before 1740. Again Veracini was for a time solo violinist to the Elector of Dresden (1720-23); Tartini lived for three years at Prague (1723-26), while Locatelli, during the first half of the eighteenth century, made frequent journeys throughout Germany. Emanuel Bach, the real founder of the modern pianoforte sonata, must have been influenced by their works.

In a history of the development of the sonata generally, those of Corelli would occupy an important place, for in them we find not only fugal and dance forms, but also hints of sonata-form.

Dr. Parry, in his article on "Sonata" in Sir G.[Pg 13] Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, has named the Corrente of Corelli's 5th Sonata in Op. 4 as offering "nearly a miniature of modern binary form." The well-known Giga Allegro of the 9th Sonata (Op. 5), and the Allemanda Allegro of the 10th Concerto in C, also present remarkable foreshadowings.

Handel, however, furnishes a very striking illustration—

In the six "Sonatas or Trios for two Hoboys with a thorough bass for the harpsichord," said to have been composed already in 1696, we find quick movements in binary form. In some, the first section offers both a first and a second subject, while in the second section, after modulation, there is a return to the opening theme, though quite at the close of that section. A brief description of one will make the form clearer. The second Allegro of No. 4 (in F) has two sections. The first, which ends in the dominant key (C), contains forty-six bars. The opening theme begins thus:—

Handel sonata, opening theme

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At the twenty-ninth bar, a passage leads to the second theme—

Handel sonata, second theme

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This second theme is, in a measure, evolved from the first. In any case, it is of subordinate character; and it differs slightly as given by first or [Pg 14]second oboe, whereas the principal theme appears in exactly the same manner for both instruments.

The second section opens with developments of b, and modulation from C major to D minor; a also is developed, the music passing from the last-named key back to the opening one. There is a full close in that key, and then modulation to F. The remaining twenty-two bars give the first section in condensed form: first and second subjects and coda.[10]

It would be interesting to trace the influences acting on the youth Handel at the time when he wrote these sonatas. Most probably they were Johann Philipp Krieger's[11] sonatas for violins and bass; N.A. Strungk's sonatas published at Dresden in 1691; and more especially Agostino Steffani's "Sonate da Camera" for two violins, alto, and bass, published in 1683. An opera by the last-named, which appeared at Hanover in 1699, has an "Air de Ballet," which contains the first notes of "Let the bright Seraphim"; besides, it is known that Handel culled ideas and "conveyed" notes from works of other composers; also, that he turned them to the best account.

[Pg 15]

In the same year in which Corelli published his Op. 1 (1683), Domenico Scarlatti, the famous harpsichord player, was probably born; in the history of development his name is the principal one of importance between Corelli and Emanuel Bach. In the matter of technique he rendered signal service, but, for the moment, we are concerned with his contribution towards development. Scarlatti does not seem to have ever considered the sonata in the sense of a work consisting of several contrasting movements; all of his are of only one movement. The title "sonata" as applied to his pieces is, therefore, misleading. Whether the term was actually used by the composer himself seems doubtful. The first thirty of the sixty Scarlatti sonatas published by Breitkopf & Härtel appeared during the lifetime of the composer at Madrid. They are dedicated to John the Just, King of Portugal, and are merely entitled

Essercizi per Gravicembalo.

In editions of the eighteenth century the composer's pieces are styled Lessons or Suites. However, twelve published by J. Johnson, London, are described on the title-page as Sonatas modernas.

From the earliest days of instrumental music dance tunes were divided into two sections. The process of evolution is interesting. In the earliest specimens, such as the Branle given in the Orché[Pg 16]sographie of Thoinot Arbeau, we find both sections in the same key, and there is only one theme. The movement towards the dominant note in this Branle may be regarded as a latent modulation. In time the first section was developed, and the latent modulation became real; then, after certain intermediate stages, the custom was established of passing from the principal to the dominant key (or, in a minor piece, to the relative major or dominant minor), in which the first section closed. But in Corelli,[12] and even in Scarlatti,[13] we find, occasionally, a return to an earlier stage (i.e. a first section ending in the same key in which it commenced). In most of his pieces Scarlatti modulates to the dominant; in minor, to the relative major. Some exceptions deserve mention. In the Breitkopf & Härtel collection, No. 26, in A major, passes to the minor key of the dominant; and No. 11, in C minor, modulates to the minor key of the dominant, but the section closes in the major key of the dominant.

Scarlatti's sonatas consist, then, of one movement in binary form of the early type. Only in a few of these pieces is there a definite second subject; in none, a return to the opening theme.

Scarlatti sonata

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In No. 26 there is just a return to the first bar[Pg 17] (see second section, bar 11), but the previous ten bars show no modulation, and one can scarcely speak of thematic development. After the few bars of development and modulation, in some cases, the second section is found to consist merely of a repetition of some part of the first section, the key being tonic instead of dominant. This is, practically, embryonic sonata-form. The tonic and dominant portions of the first section are becoming differentiated; but the landmark, i.e. the return to the opening theme in the second section which divides binary from sonata form, is, in Scarlatti, non-existent. His first sections often consist of a principal theme and passages, also phrases indirectly connected with the opening one; sometimes of a chain of short phrases more or less evolved from the opening thought (see Nos. 1, 21, 29). (These and the numbers which follow refer to the Breitkopf & Härtel edition of sixty Scarlatti sonatas.) The composer often passes through the minor key of the dominant (in the first section) before arriving at the major; sometimes the major is introduced only late in the section (Nos. 7, 17, etc.), or minor remains (No. 26). We meet with a similar proceeding in Beethoven. Minor pieces often pass to the dominant minor, but end in major (i.e., first section). In Scarlatti there is, for the most part, no second subject, but frequently (Nos. 5, 7, 9, etc.) a concluding phrase which can, at times, be traced to the opening theme. Sonata 6, in F, shows a second subject [Pg 18]of a certain independence. The best examples are to be found in Nos. 24 and 29 (in A and E); in these the character of the second subject differs from that of the first, and it is also in a minor key, which offers still another contrast.

And now a word or two respecting Scarlatti's method of development. He alters figures (Nos. 12 and 54), extends them (Nos. 9 and 54), but often merely repeats passages on the same degrees as those of the first section, or on different ones. He makes use of imitation (Nos. 7 and 36). Sometimes he evolves a phrase from a motive (No. 11). In No. 19 the development assumes a certain importance. It commences, not, as in most cases, with the opening theme or figure of the first section, but with a group of semiquaver notes which appears later in that section. In No. 20 Scarlatti preserves the rhythm, but with total change of notes (No. 20)—

Scarlatti sonata 20

Scarlatti sonata 20

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The same number gives another interesting specimen of change of rhythm. In No. 48 he picks out an unimportant group of notes, and works it by imitation and sequence. There are some interesting specimens of development in the thirty sonatas printed from manuscripts in the possession of Lord Viscount Fitzwilliam by Robert Birchall. Scarlatti's development bars are seldom many in number.

[Pg 19]

After modulation and development, the music slides, as it were, into some phrase from the first section,[14] and allowance being made on account of difference of key (there the music was passing, or had passed from tonic; here it is returning to that key), the rest is more or less a repetition of the first section. More or less: sometimes the repetition is literal; at other times there is considerable deviation; and shortenings are frequent. With regard to style of writing for the clavier—a few canonic imitations excepted—there is no real polyphony. Most of the sonatas are in only two parts. The composer revels in rapid passages (runs, broken chords, simple and compound), wide leaps, difficult octaves, crossing of hands, and, of course, short shakes innumerable. Domenico Scarlatti was indeed one of the most renowned virtuosi on the clavier. Handel met him at Rome in 1708, and Cardinal Ottoboni persuaded them to compete with each other. We are told that upon the harpsichord the victory was doubtful, but upon the organ, Scarlatti himself confessed the superiority of his rival.[15]

Johann Kuhnau published a sonata for clavier in 1695, and this was followed up by a set of seven sonatas ("Frische Früchte") in 1696, and a few years later (1700) by the seven "Bible" Sonatas. That he was the first composer who [Pg 20]wrote a sonata for the clavier is a point which cannot be overlooked, and in the evolution of the sonata he occupies an interesting position. In the "Frische Früchte" there is, as Dr. C.H. Parry truly remarks in his excellent article "Sonata" in Sir G. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, an awakening sense of the relation and balance of keys; but in the "Bible" Sonatas the form and order of the movements is entirely determined by the Bible stories. As specimens of programme-music they are altogether remarkable, and will, later on, be described in detail; they do not, however, come within the regular line of development. It was, of course, natural that such a new departure should attract the notice of John Sebastian Bach, who was Kuhnau's immediate successor as cantor of St. Thomas' School, Leipzig, and Spitta, in his life of Bach, refers to that composer's Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo, and reminds us that "Kuhnau as well as so many others had some influence on Bach." Of course, among the "so many others," Froberger's name—as we shall see later on from Kuhnau's preface—deserves a prominent place. In addition to what Kuhnau says, Mattheson has recorded that "Froberger could depict whole histories on the clavier, giving a representation of the persons present and taking part in them, with all their natural characters." When writing the Capriccio above named, Spitta believes that Bach was specially influenced by the last of the "Bible" Sonatas (we [Pg 21]may perhaps add that Spitta tells us that Bach was intimately acquainted with Kuhnau). He indeed says: "We might doubt the early origin of the Capriccio if its evident 'dependence' on Kuhnau did not solve the mystery." Then, again, in a Sonata in D by Bach, published in the Bach Gesellschaft edition, Spitta calls attention to the opening subject in D, and does not hesitate to declare that "it is constructed on the pattern of a particular part of the story of Jacob's marriage" (the 3rd of the "Bible" Sonatas). His description of the Bach sonata would, doubtless, have attracted more notice but for the fact that copies of the Kuhnau sonatas were extremely rare; they were, we believe, never reprinted since the commencement of the eighteenth century. The first two have now been published by Messrs Novello & Co. The Kuhnau influence on Bach seems, however, to have been of short duration; for, after these juvenile attempts, as Spitta observes, "he never again returned to this branch of music in the whole course of a long artistic career extending over nearly fifty years." The fugue form absorbed nearly the whole attention of that master; and the idea of programme-music remained in abeyance until Beethoven revived it a century later.[16] Emanuel Bach inherited some of his father's genius, and he may instinctively have felt the utter hopelessness of following directly in his footsteps. J.S. Bach had exhausted the possibilities of the fugue form.[Pg 22] It was perhaps fortunate for Emanuel Bach that, while still young, he left his father's house. After residing for a few years at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, he entered the service of Frederick the Great; and at the court of that monarch he came, at any rate, directly under Italian influence.

An interesting link between Kuhnau and E. Bach is Mattheson, who published at Hamburg in 1713 a sonata dedicated to the one who can best play it (derjenigen Persohn gewidmet, die sie am besten spielen wird). The work itself not being available, the following description of it by J. Faisst (Caecilia, vol. 25, p. 157) may prove interesting:—"It (i.e. the sonata) consists of only one movement, which, considering its evidently intentional wealth of technique, might be named a Toccata. But in form this one movement clearly belongs to the sonata order, and, in fact, holds a middle place between the tendencies towards sonata-form (the term taken in the narrower sense of form of one single movement) noticeable in Kuhnau, and the more developed shape which this form has assumed within recent times. We have here three sections. In the opening one, the theme, after its first exposition in the key of G, forms the basis of various passages, and then appears in the key of the dominant, followed again by passages of larger extent and richer contents; finally, in abbreviated form, it reappears in the tonic. The second section commences in the parallel key, E minor, with passages which recall those of the first section, and continues with the theme in [Pg 23]the same key; afterwards theme and passages are developed through the keys of A minor, C major, G major, D major and B minor; in the last, in which the theme occurs, there is a full close. As third section the first is taken Da Capo." It is evident from a remark made by Mattheson in his Der volkommene Capellmeister, which appeared at Hamburg in 1739, that some of the sonatas written during the transition period, between Corelli and E. Bach, are lost, or, at any rate, have not been discovered.[17] Mattheson says: "During the last years successful attempts have been made to write sonatas for the clavier (formerly they were for violins or instruments of that kind); still, up to now, they have not the right form, and are capable of being touched (i.e. played) rather than of touching: they aim at the movement of fingers rather than of hearts."[18]

A little later than Mattheson (i.e. in 1721), Pier Giuseppo Sandoni, husband of the famous vocalist Cuzzoni, published at London "Sonate per il Cembalo," dedicated to the Duchess of Pembroke. No. 1, in D minor, has three movements, an Allemande, Largo, and Giga Presto; they are all short, and in two sections; and, as a rule, the writing is in two parts. No. 2, in F, opens with [Pg 24]an Allegro of peculiar form. It has four sections, each of which is repeated; the first (seven bars) modulates to the key of C, closing thus—

Sandoni sonata

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The second section (also consisting of seven bars) soon modulates to D minor, closing in that key in a manner similar to the first. The third section (ten bars) consists of modulation and slight development, and closes in A minor. The fourth section (fifteen bars) passes by means of broken chords (in imitation of the last bar of the previous section) through various keys, ending in the same fashion as the first section, only, by way probably of intensification at the end, there are seven instead of four quaver chords; the section, of course, ends in F. This movement in the matter of form offers an interesting link between Kuhnau and E. Bach. The second movement is a minuet, with variations; it certainly has a beginning, but seems endless. The 3rd Sonata, in A, resembles No. 1 in form, also in grouping of movements.

And in addition to the sonata of Mattheson, the Sei Sonatine per Violino e Cembalo, di Georgio Philippo Telemann, published at Amsterdam in 1721, will give us an approximate idea of the clavier sonata between Kuhnau and Emanuel Bach. Each number, by the way, is headed—title-page notwithstanding—[Pg 25]a sonata. No. 1, in A major, consists of four movements, Adagio, Allegro, Largo, Allegro, and all the four are in binary form. The second is naturally the most important; the others are very short and simple. In this Allegro, besides the allusion in the dominant key to the theme at the opening of the second section there is a return to it, after modulation, in the principal key. Some of the other sonatas are longer, but No. 1 represents, roughly, the other five as to form and contents. No. 6, in F, by the way, has only three movements: Vivace, Cantabile, and Presto.

The "Sonate per Gravicembalo, novamente composte," published by Giovanni Battista Pescetti in 1739, deserve notice, since they appeared three years before the six sonatas dedicated by Emanuel Bach to Frederick the Great. They are nine in number. In style of writing, order, and character of movements, they bear the stamp of the period in which they were written. Most of the movements in binary form are of the intermediate type, i.e. they have the principal theme in the dominant at the beginning of the exposition section, and again, later on, in the principal key. There is considerable variety in the order and number of movements. No. 1, for instance, has an Adagio, an Allegro, and a Menuett with variations. No. 2, in D, has four movements: Andante, Adagio, Allegro, Giga; the short Adagio is in D minor. No. 3, in G minor: Presto and A Tempo Giusto (a dignified fugue).[Pg 26] The influence of Handel is strong, also that of Scarlatti. Bars such as the following—

Pescetti sonata

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foreshadow, in a curious manner, the Alberti bass.

A great number of clavier sonatas were written about the time during which Emanuel Bach flourished: his first sonatas appeared in 1742, his last in 1787. An interesting collection of no less than seventy-two sonatas (sixty-seven by various composers; five anonymous), issued in twelve parts, under the title Oeuvres mêlées (twelve books, each containing six sonatas), was published by Haffner at Würzburg, somewhere between 1760 and 1767. And another collection of symphonies and sonatas, principally by Saxon composers, was published at Leipzig in 1762 under the title Musikalisches Magazin. We will give the names of some of the chief composers, with titles of their works, adding a few other details. It is difficult in some cases to ascertain the year of publication; and it is practically impossible to say when the sonatas were actually composed:—

Bach, Wilh. Friedemann. Sei sonate, No. 1,[19] D major (Dresden, 1745). Sonata in C (published in Litolff's Maîtres du Clavecin), and others in D and G (autographs), and in F, A, and B flat (manuscripts).

Bach, Joh. Ernst. Two sonatas (in Oeuvres mêlées).

[Pg 27]

Nichelmann, Christoph. Sei brevi sonate, etc., Op. 2; Nuremberg (between 1745-1756).

Hasse. Two sonatas in E flat and B flat (manuscript; on one is the date of 1754). Two sonatas, one in D minor (only one Lento movement); the other in D major (only one Allegro movement in old binary form). These are both in the Leipzig collection named above.

Benda, Georg. Sei sonate (Berlin, 1757). Sonatas in G, C minor, and G, also seven sonatinas (Vermischte Clavierstücke, Gotha, 1780).

Wagenseil, Georg. Sonata (Oeuvres mêlées). Six sonatas for the harpsichord (with accompaniment for a violin).[20] Opera prima. (A. Hummel, London.)

Schaffrath, Christoph.[21] Six sonates, Op. 2 (published by Haffner, Nuremberg, 1754).

Mozart, Leopold. Three sonatas (Oeuvres mêlées).

Müthel, Joh. Gottfr. Three sonatas, etc. (Haffner, Nuremberg, about 1753); three sonatas (autograph).

Umstatt, Joseph.[22] One sonata (Oeuvres mêlées). Sonata consisting of only a Minuetto, Trio, and Gigue (Leipzig collection). And the two Italians—

Galuppi. Sonate per cembalo (London); and

Paradies, P. Domenico. Twelve sonate di gravicembalo (London).

Grétry, Belgian composer (1741-1813), wrote "Six sonates pour le clavecin" (1768), to which, unfortunately, we have not been able to gain access.

[Pg 28]

From the two collections, etc., may be gathered many facts of interest. First, as regards the number and character of movements in a sonata. Emanuel Bach kept, for the most part, to three: two fast movements, divided by a slow one.[23] In the second of his Leipzig collections (1780), there are two with only two movements (Nos. 2 and 3; a few bars connecting the two movements of No. 3). But among other composers there are many examples; in some sonatas, the first movement is a slow one; in others, both movements are quick, in which case the second one is frequently a minuet.[24] All twelve sonatas of Paradies have only two movements.

Of sonatas in three movements, some commence with a slow movement followed by two quick movements.[25] (In one instance, in E. Bach's sonatas, the 1st Collection, No. 2, in F, we even find two slow movements followed by a quick one, Andante, Larghetto, Allegro assai.) But the greater number had the usual order:—Allegro or Allegretto, Andante or Adagio, and Allegro or Presto. Thus Hasse, Nichelmann, Benda, and other composers. Now in E. Bach's Würtem[Pg 29]berg sonatas we found all three movements were in the same key, and there are similar cases in Hasse, Fried. Bach, Joh. Ernst Bach, etc.; but for the most part, the middle (slow) movement was in some nearly related key; in a sonata commencing in major—in the relative, or tonic minor, or minor under-dominant; and even (as in a sonata by Adlgasser) in the upper-dominant. Joh. C.F. Bach, in one instance, selected the minor key of the upper-dominant, and there are examples of more remote keys (E. Bach, Coll. of 1780, No. 1). With sonatas commencing in minor, the key selected for the middle movement was generally the relative major of the under-dominant, or that of the tonic; sometimes even tonic major. A very extraordinary example of a remote key is to be met with in Bach's Collection of 1779, No. 3: his opening movement is B minor, but his middle one, G minor.[26]

It should be mentioned with regard to sonatas in three movements commencing in a minor key, that the last generally (in works of this period) remains and ends in minor. In modern sonatas the major is often found, at any rate before the close (see Beethoven, Op. 10, No. 1, etc.).

Baldassare Galuppi, born in 1706 on the island of Burano, near Venice, was a pupil of Lotti's.[Pg 30] Two sets of six "Sonate per il cembalo" of his were published in London. We cannot give the date, but may state that a sonata of his in manuscript bears the date 1754 (whether of copy or composition is uncertain; anyhow, the year given acts as limit). The variety in the number of the movements of the published sonatas (one has four, some have three, some two, while No. 2 of the first set has only one) points to a period of transition. This alone, apart from the freshness and charm of the music, entitles them to notice. Much of the writing is thin (only two parts), and, technically, the music far less interesting than the Scarlatti pieces. Some of the phrases and figures, and the occasional employment of the Alberti bass, tell, however, of the new era soon about to be inaugurated by Haydn. There is one little feature in the 1st Sonata of the first set which may be mentioned. In the second section of the Adagio (a movement in binary form) of that sonata, the theme appears, as usual then, at the beginning of the second section, and, later on, reappears in the principal key, but it starts on the fourth, instead of the eighth quaver of the bar.

There was great variety in the order of movements. Sometimes a slow movement was followed by two quick movements;[27] and the third movement was frequently a minuet. The quick movement sometimes came in the middle (Galuppi, Sonata in[Pg 31] B flat), sometimes at the beginning (E. Bach, Coll. 1781, No. 3), sometimes at the end (E. Bach, Coll. 1779, No. 2). Then, again, sometimes all, but frequently two of the three movements, were connected, i.e. the one passed to the other without break.

So much for sonatas in two or three movements. But among the Oeuvres mêlées there are no less than twenty which have four movements—some in the old order: slow, fast, slow, fast; others in a new order: Allegro, Andante or Adagio, Minuet, and Allegro or Presto.[28] Thus Wagenseil,[29] Houpfeld, J.E. Bach, Hengsberger, and Kehl. Sometimes (as in Seyfert and Goldberg) the Minuet came immediately after the Allegro[30] (see Beethoven chapter with regard to position of Minuet or Scherzo in his sonatas). In a sonata by Schaffrath, the opening Allegro is followed by a Fugue. Again (in Spitz, Zach, and Fischer) the following order is found: Allegro, Andante, Allegro, Minuet. In Fischer all the movements are in one key; only the Trio of the Minuet is in the tonic minor.[Pg 32] In Spitz the Andante is in the under-dominant, the other movements being in the principal key. In Zach the Andante is in the minor tonic, and the third movement in the upper-dominant. It is well to notice that in none of these four-movement sonatas are the movements connected. The same thing is to be observed in Beethoven, with exception, perhaps, of Op. 110. In the Oeuvres mêlées there is only one instance of a sonata in five movements by Umstatt. It consists of an Allegro, Adagio (in the dominant), Fugue Allegro (in the relative of dominant), a Minuet in the principal key, with Trio in relative minor; and, finally, a Presto. By way of contrast, we may recall the two sonatas of Hasse, in one movement, already mentioned, and also the last of Emanuel Bach's six sonatas of 1760.

The works of many of the composers named in connection with differences in the number and order of movements are forgotten; and, in some cases, indeed, their names are not even thought worthy of a place in musical dictionaries. Yet these variations are of great moment in the history of development. And this for a double reason. First, many of the works must have been known to E. Bach, and yet he seems to have remained, up to the last, faithful to the three-movement plan. One or two of his sonatas have only two movements, none, however, has four. Secondly, the experiment of extending the number to more than three, practically passed [Pg 33]unheeded by Dussek, Clementi, Mozart,[31] Haydn,[32] and by all the composers of importance until Beethoven. The last-named commenced with sonatas in four movements; but, as will be seen in a later chapter, he afterwards became partial to the scheme of three movements.

Let us now consider, and quite briefly, movements in binary form; again, in this matter, some instructive facts will be gathered from the works of Bach's contemporaries. As in Scarlatti, so here we find the first of the two sections into which such a movement is divided, ending in one case[33] in the tonic, but, as a rule, in the dominant. There is, however, an instance of the close in the under-dominant (Müthel, No. 2 of the Sonatas of 1780), and in E. Bach, in the relative minor of the under-dominant (Sonatas of 1780, No. 3, Finale). In a minor key, the first section closed either in [Pg 34]the key of the relative major, or that of the dominant minor[34]—much more frequently the former.

Now, in proportion as the second part of the first section grew more definite, so also did the approach to it. Everyone knows the pause so frequently to be found in Haydn and Mozart, on the dominant of the dominant, i.e. if the key of the piece were C—

dominant of the dominant

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It is instructive to compare the less formal methods of approaching the new key in E. Bach and his contemporary Paradies; with them it was generally by means of a half-close. It must be remembered that E. Bach frequently has a movement quite on Scarlatti lines, i.e. without a definite second subject;[35] also that the second subject in Bach's time was, as a rule, of secondary importance. But, curiously, in the Finale of a sonata written by Leopold Mozart (father of the great genius), after a half cadence on the dominant of the dominant, tempo and measure change (from Presto two-four, to Andante three-four, the latter remaining until the end of the first section), and the same occurs in the recapitulation section; by this means the second theme was made specially prom[Pg 35]inent. In a sonata of Scarlatti's, in D, commencing

Scarlatti Sonata in D

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there is a definite second subject in, by the way, the minor key of the dominant, and it is divided from the first by two bars in common time (a descending scale and a shake on a semibreve). And then again, in No. 12 of the "Libro de XII. Sonatas Modernas para Clavicordio," the second subject is divided from the first by two bars of common time (the piece is in Scarlatti's favourite measure, three-eight), an ascending scale and a shake. There are clear examples of a second subject, besides E. Bach, in Eberlin, Fleischer, J.C. Bach, and J.C.F. Bach. Yet even in Haydn's sonatas one cannot always speak of a second subject. The further history of the development of the contents of the second half of the first section shows, as it were, a struggle between two ideals. One was kinship, i.e. the endeavour to present the secondary matter in strong relationship to the opening one (the opening notes or bars of a real second subject were, indeed, frequently the same, allowance being made, of course, for difference of key); the other was contrast, i.e. the endeavour to obtain variety. Haydn was more affected by the first; Mozart by the second. In Beethoven the two are happily combined. It is important to notice the closing bars of many first sections of the period of which we are speaking. For instance, in E. Bach, the first movement of the sonata in each [Pg 36]of the Collections of 1781 and 1783 has a concluding theme (as in the sonata of Scarlatti, and frequently evolved from the opening theme). Though in the complementary key, it cannot count as "the second subject." It appears after the complementary key has been ushered in by one cadence, and after having apparently run its course, it has been wound up by another. Then, again, the portion between the cadences just mentioned is at times filled with a true theme, so that the concluding one, like the cave of Abraham's field of Machpelah, is in reality an appendency. Sometimes there are several: the enlargement of the exposition section by Beethoven, and still more modern composers, so that it contains sometimes three, and even more themes, is practically an exposition section on Scarlatti lines, only on a larger scale: the figure has become a phrase, mere connecting passages have acquired organic meaning. The second section of Scarlatti's movement in binary form contained a few bars of development and modulation. Then a return was made to the opening key of the piece, but never to the opening theme; and in that key a portion more or less great, more or less varied, according to circumstances, was repeated. That return to the opening theme is, as we have already said, the landmark which divides binary from sonata form.

In sonatas of the middle of the eighteenth century the modulation section (in a major key) ended in [Pg 37]various ways,—on the dominant chord (of the principal key), on the tonic chord of the relative minor, the under-dominant, or even on the tonic itself of the principal key. Later on, Haydn and Mozart kept, for the most part, to the dominant chord. Beethoven, on account of the distant, and often abrupt, modulations of his middle sections, generally marked the approach to the recapitulation by clear, and often prolonged, dominant harmony; sometimes, however, the return of the principal theme comes as a surprise. The recapitulation always remained more or less faithful to the exposition. It is interesting to note how little the character and contents of the recapitulation section have been affected in modern times by the growth of the development section. In the matter of balance the two sections of movements in binary form are more satisfactory than the two sections (two, so far as outward division is concerned) of modern sonatas. The grain of mustard-seed in the parable grew into a tree, and so, likewise, have the few bars of modulation of early days grown into an important section. However difficult to determine the exact moment at which a movement in sonata-form really ceased to be binary, there seems no doubt that that moment has now passed. We have already noted when the change commenced.

[Pg 38]



This remarkable musician was born, April 1660,[36] at Geysing, where his grandfather, who, on account of his religious opinions, had been forced to leave Bohemia, had settled. Already in his ninth year young Kuhnau showed gifts for science and art. He had a pleasing voice, and first studied under Salomon Krügner, and afterwards under Christian Kittel,[37] organist of the Elector at Dresden. His next teachers were his brother Andreas Kuhnau, Alexander Hering,[38] and Vin[Pg 39]cenzo Albrici. In 1680 the plague broke out at Dresden, and Kuhnau returned to his parents. He then went to Zittau with a certain Erhard Titius, who had been Praefectus at the Kreuzschule, Dresden, and received help from the court organist, Moritz Edelmann, also from the "celebrated" Weise. A motet of Kuhnau's was given at Zittau under his direction. After the death of Titius, Kuhnau resided for a time in the house of J.J. von Hartig, judge at Zittau. In 1682 he went to Leipzig, where D. Scherzer endeavoured to obtain for him the post of organist at St. Thomas'; Kühnel, however, was appointed. The latter died in 1684, and was succeeded by Kuhnau, who in 1700 also became cantor of St. Thomas'. He devoted much of his time to jurisprudence. Among other things, he wrote a curious satire, entitled Der musikalische Quacksalber, published in 1700. There remain in manuscript, Tractatus de tetrachordo and Introductio ad compositionem musicalem. Kuhnau had many pupils; we know of two who afterwards became distinguished men. The one was Christoph Graupner (1683-1760), who in 1710 became capellmeister at Darmstadt. In 1722, on the death of Kuhnau, Graupner,[39][Pg 40] who had been prize scholar under him, presented his testimonials, was examined, and seemed likely to become cantor as his teacher's successor. Meanwhile, however, John Sebastian Bach offered himself as candidate, and as Dr. Pepusch before Handel at Cannons in 1710, so did Graupner retire before his great rival. Mattheson, in his Ehren-Pforte (p. 410), tells us that "as a composer for the clavier, Graupner may rank as one of the best of his time." He wrote suites and sonatas for clavier. Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758 or 9), the second pupil, soon after leaving Leipzig, where he had enjoyed Kuhnau's instruction from 1701-7, went to Italy, and on his return studied for a short time with Graupner. Fasch then filled various posts, until in 1722 (the very year indeed of Kuhnau's death) he became capellmeister at Anhalt Zerbst, where he remained until his death. His son, Carl Friedrich Christian, was the founder of the Berlin Singakademie. In 1756 Emanuel Bach had something to do with Fasch's appointment as clavecinist to Frederick the Great. The father, who was then seventy years of age, and who, like old Sebastian Bach, lived with the fear of God before his eyes, opposed the wish of his son to enter the service of the infidel king. Emanuel, who wished the younger Fasch to come to Berlin, wrote to the father to say "that in the [Pg 41]land over which Frederick the Great ruled, one could believe what one liked; that the king himself was certainly not religious, but on that very account esteemed everyone alike." Bach offered to take young Fasch into his house, and to preserve him as much as possible from temptation. With regard to Graupner, it would be interesting to know whether in any of his sonatas (the autographs of which are, we believe, at Darmstadt) he worked at all on Kuhnau's lines. And with regard to Fasch, one would like to know whether he ever conversed with Emanuel Bach about his father, who taught him theory, and about Johann Kuhnau, his father's renowned teacher. It is from such by-paths of history that one sometimes learns more than from statements showing how son descended from sire, and how pupils were directly influenced by their teachers.

But it is as a musician that we are now concerned with Kuhnau, and, in the first place, as the composer of the earliest known sonata for the clavier. In 1695 he published at Leipzig—

"Sieben Partien aus dem Re, Mi, Fa, oder Terzia minore eines jedweden Toni, benebenst einer Sonata aus dem B. Denen Liebhabern dieses Instrumenten zu gar besondern Vergnügen aufgesetzet." That is—

Seven Partitas based on the Re, Mi, Fa, or minor third of each mode, together with a Sonata in B flat, for the especial gratification of lovers of this instrument.

[Pg 42]

With respect to this sonata, Kuhnau remarks in his preface: "I have added at the end a Sonata in B flat, which will please amateurs; for why should not such things be attempted on the clavier as well as on other instruments?" In such modest fashion was ushered into the world the first sonata for clavier, or, at any rate, the earliest with which we are acquainted.[40]

Mattheson, in Das neu eröffnete Orchester (1713), speaks about the revival of clavier sonatas, so that it is not quite certain whether that B flat Sonata was actually the first.[41] During the seventeenth century, sonatas were written for various instruments, with a figured bass for the cembalo.

It will, of course, be interesting to trace the influences acting upon Kuhnau. They were of two kinds: the one, Italian; the other, German. Corelli deserves first mention; and next, the Italian organist and composer, Vincenzo Albrici,[42] capellmeister to the Elector of Saxony from 1664-88, and afterwards organist of St. Thomas', Leipzig, who is known to have encouraged Kuhnau when young, and to have helped him to learn the Italian language. But German influence must also have been strong. Of Froberger special mention will be made later on. There was one [Pg 43]man, Diderich Becker, who published sonatas for violins and bass already in 1668, and these, if we mistake not, must have been well known to Kuhnau. Apart from the character of the music, the title of the work, Musikalische Frülings Früchte, and the religious style of the preface, remind one of Kuhnau's "Frische Früchte," also of his preface to the "Bible" Sonatas. It is curious to find the quaint expression "unintelligent birds" used first by Becker, and afterwards by Kuhnau.

Let us describe briefly the above-mentioned B flat Sonata. The first movement is in common time, but the composer gave it no heading. It is generally supposed (Becker, Rimbault, Pauer) to be an Allegro; moderato might well be added, for the stately, Handelian-like (the anachronism must be excused) music will scarcely bear a rapid tempo. The movement opens with an eight-bar phrase, closing on the dominant. Then the music, evolved from previous material, passes rapidly through various related keys. After this modulation section there is a cadence to F major, and in this, the dominant key, something like a new subject appears, though it is closely allied to the first. A return is soon made to the principal key, but there is no repetition of the opening theme. After a cadence ending on the tonic (B flat), and two coda-like bars, comes a fugal movement, still in the same key. The vigorous subject, the well-contrasted counterpoint, the interesting episodes, and many attractive details [Pg 44]help one to forget the monotony of key so prevalent in the days in which this sonata was written. This, and indeed other fugues of Kuhnau show strong foreshadowings of Handel and Bach; of this matter, however, more anon. The counterpoint to the third entry of the subject is evolved from the opening subject of the sonata. The third movement consists of a fine Adagio in E flat, in the key of the subdominant and in three-four time. Then follows a short Allegro in three-four time, of polyphonic character. At the close of the movement Kuhnau has written the opening chords of the first movement with the words Da Capo. A similar indication is to be found in one of the "Frische Früchte" Sonatas. This repetition, also the third movement leading directly to the fourth, and the thematic connection mentioned above, would seem to show that the composer regarded the various sections of his sonata as parts of a whole.

In addition, Kuhnau wrote thirteen sonatas. The "Frische Clavier Früchte," or "Sieben Suonaten von guter Invention u. Manier auf dem Clavier zu spielen," were published in 1696, and later editions in 1710 and 1724. In a quaint preface the composer tells us that in naming his "Fresh Fruits" "sonatas," he kept in mind all kinds of inventiones and changes (Veränderungen) by which so-called sonatas are superior to mere partitas. Already a century before this preface was written, Praetorius had distinguished between two classes of instrumental music: the one, grave; [Pg 45]the other, gay. The composer has also a word to say about the graces or ornaments, the "sugar which sweetens the fruits." In modern reprints of Kuhnau the sugar is sometimes forgotten.[43] These "Frische Früchte" were followed by six "Bible" Sonatas in 1700. The former, both as regards form and contents, are remarkable. Kuhnau was a man of deeper thought and loftier conception than Emanuel Bach, but he was fettered by fugal forms,[44] and was fighting against them much in the same spirit in which Beethoven, a century later, fought against sonata-form, in the most general sense of that term. Beethoven was not only the more gifted, but he profited by the experiments of his predecessors, and he enjoyed the advantage of a vastly improved technique; Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, and others were the stepping-stones by which he rose to higher things. Kuhnau's attempts at sonata writing were bold, often rugged; and his experiments in programme-music, extraordinary. The latter were soon forgotten, while the clever, clear-formed sonatas of Emanuel Bach served as a gratification to the age in which he lived, and as guides to the composers who followed him. The "Frische Früchte," standing between Corelli and Emanuel Bach, are [Pg 46]of interest. The fugal element is still strong; and we find, not so much the smooth style of Corelli as the vigorous style of Froberger and other composers of North Germany. In character of subject-matter and in form there is decided advance as compared with the B flat Sonata. Kuhnau still seems rather limited in figures, and therefore repeats himself;[45] then again his movements do not always show gradation of interest. Their order and number are, indeed, perplexing, and not always satisfactory. The 2nd Sonata, in D, for instance, commences with a fine Allegro, followed first by a short Adagio, commencing in the relative minor, and intermixed with short presto passages, and then by a lively movement in six-eight time. These three would form an admirable sonata, yet the composer does not end here. There is still another short Adagio, and a concluding movement; and in spite of some fine passages, these appendages form a decided anti-climax. Similar instances are to be found in the other sonatas.

Now for a few words concerning their form. Some of the opening movements (for instance, those of Nos. 1, 2) are practically based on fugue-form, with which, by the way, sonata-form is allied.

The first movement of No. 4, in C minor, is of interest, both in its resemblances to, and differ[Pg 47]ences from, modern sonata-form. It has four sections:—

a. Eleven bars, beginning and ending in C minor, and containing a characteristic theme.

b. Eleven bars, beginning in E flat (i.e. relative major of opening key) and closing in G minor (i.e. key of minor dominant). It contains a theme rhythmically allied to the principal theme. This section is repeated.

c. Nine-and-a-half bars, opening in C minor, and passing to, and closing in E flat. It contains imitative passages evolved from the principal theme.

d. Exact repetition of first section, only with a close on the major chord.

The last movement of the 6th Sonata, in B flat, offers a still more striking resemblance to sonata-form; the various sections are better balanced; the middle or development section (with its close strettos) is particularly noticeable; also the recapitulation, which is not literal, as in the above example. The slow movements—occasionally very short—follow no particular plan. The fugal element is always more or less present, but some of the other movements have somewhat of a suite character; No. 6, indeed, opens with a Ciaccona. There is a certain formality about Kuhnau's music, and, for reasons already mentioned, he is occasionally monotonous. But there is an independent spirit running through his sonatas, and a desire to escape from the trammels of tradition which are quite refreshing. And there is a nobility in the style and [Pg 48]skill in the workmanship which remind us of the great Bach. There are, indeed, resemblances to Bach, also to Handel. Scheibe, in his Critischer Musikus, mentions Kuhnau, in conjunction with Keiser, Telemann, and Handel, as one of the greatest composers of the eighteenth century. The mention of Kuhnau together with Handel deserves note. The constant discoveries which are being made of Handel's indebtedness to other composers suggest the thought that perhaps Kuhnau was also laid under contribution. No one, we think, can hear the "Bible" Sonatas without coming to the conclusion that Handel was acquainted with the works of his illustrious predecessor. We will just place side by side three passages from the "Bible" Sonatas of Kuhnau with three from a harpsichord suite of Handel—

"Bible" Sonata, No. 2. Kuhnau.

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Collection I., Suite 7, Ouverture. Handel.

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"Bible" Sonata, No. 6. Kuhnau.

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 [Pg 49]

Collection I., Suite 7, Passacaille. Handel.

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"Bible" Sonata, No. 6. Kuhnau. 

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Collection I., Suite 7, Passacaille. Handel.

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It should be noticed that the three Handel quotations are all from the same suite. We do not mean to infer that the above passages from Handel are plagiarisms, but merely that the Kuhnau music was, unconsciously, in his mind when he wrote them.

C.F. Becker, in his Hausmusik in Deutschland, has suggested that these sonatas were known also to Mozart, and begs us to look on this picture, the opening of a Vivace movement in Kuhnau's 6th Sonata:—

Vivace movement in Kuhnau's 6th Sonata

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[Pg 50]

and on this, from The Magic Flute:—

from The Magic Flute

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Faisst, however, justly observes that though the harmonic basis is the same in both, with Kuhnau the under-part is melody, whereas with Mozart it is the reverse. He also accuses Becker—and justly, as readers may see by turning to the passage in the Zauberflöte—of not having represented the passage quite honestly. Reminiscence hunters need to be very careful.

In these sonatas, as compared with the one in B flat, the thematic material is of greater importance; and so, too, in the slow movements the writing is simpler and more melodious.

The rapid rate at which they were composed deserves mention. Kuhnau seems to have had the ready pen of a Schubert. In the preface to these "Frische Früchte" he says: "I wrote these seven sonatas straight off, though attending at the same time to my duties (he was juris practicus, also organist of St. Thomas'), so that each day one was completed. Thus, this work, which I commenced on the Monday of one week, was brought to an end by the Monday of the following week."

[Pg 51]

Kuhnau's second (and, so far as we know, last) set of sonatas bears the following title:—

Musikalische Vorstellung
Biblischer Historien
In 6 Sonaten
Auf dem Klavier zu spielen
Allen Liebhabern zum Vergnügen
Johann Kuhnauen.

That is—

Musical Representation
of some
Bible Stories
In 6 Sonatas
To be performed on the Clavier
For the gratification of amateurs
Johann Kuhnau.

Kuhnau was not the originator of programme-music. In the so-called Queen Elizabeth Virginal Book,[46] in the Fitzwilliam Library, there is a Fantasia by John Munday, who died 1630, in which there is given a description of weather both fair and foul. Again, Froberger, who died in 1667, is said to have been able, on the clavier, to describe incidents, ideas, and feelings; there is, indeed, in existence a battle-piece of his. And then Buxtehude (d. 1707) wrote a set of seven Suites for clavier, in which he is said to have represented [Pg 52]the nature and characteristics of the planets; these are, unfortunately, lost. With Froberger's music, at any rate, Kuhnau was familiar. In a long preface to these Bible stories, the composer refers to the subject of programme-music. He reminds us how from ancient times musicians have tried to rival the masters of rhetoric, sculpture, and painting in terms of their own art. And he expressly refers to programme pieces, and even to sonatas by the "distinguished Froberger[47] and other excellent composers." The essence of his long, elaborate, and, at times, somewhat confused argument (it must be remembered that he was discussing a very difficult subject; and, also, that he was the first to write about it) is as follows:—He believes music capable by itself of producing wonderful effects, but in special cases, requiring the assistance of words. Music, he tells us, can express sadness or joy; for that no words are necessary. When, however, some individual—as in his sonatas—is referred to, words become essential, i.e. if one is to distinguish between the lamentation of a sad Hezekiah, a weeping Peter, or a mourning Jeremiah. In other language, words are necessary to render the emotion definite. Kuhnau gives a quaint illustration of the absolute necessity of words in certain cases; and that illustration is of particular interest, inasmuch as it points to still earlier, and possibly, clavier sonatas. "I remember," says our author, "hearing a few years [Pg 53]ago a sonata composed by a celebrated Chur-Fürst capellmeister, to which he had given the title, 'La Medica.' After—so far as I can recall—describing the whines of the patient and of his relations, the running of the latter to the doctor, the pouring forth of their sorrow, there came, finally, a Gigue, under which stood the words, 'The patient is progressing favourably, but has not quite recovered his health.' At this some mocked, and were of opinion that, had it been in his power, the author might well have depicted the joy at a perfect recovery. So far, however, as I could judge, there was good reason for adding words to the music. The sonata commenced in D minor; in the Gigue there was constant modulation towards G minor. At the final close, in D, the ear was not satisfied, and expected the closing cadence in G." In this wise was the partial recovery expressed in tones, and explained in words.

Except for the unmistakable seriousness of the author, this description might be taken as a joke, just as in one of the "Bible" Sonatas the deceit of Jacob is expressed by a deceptive cadence; but such extreme examples serve to emphasise the author's declaration that, at times, words are indispensable. Before noticing the sonatas themselves, one more quotation in reference to the same subject must be made from this interesting preface. The humblest scholar, Kuhnau tells us, knows the rule forbidding consecutive perfect consonances, and he [Pg 54]speaks of certain strict censores who expose the clumsiness of musical poets who have refused to be bound by that rule. "But," says Kuhnau, in lawyer-like language: "Cessante ratione prohibitionis cessat ipsa prohibitio." The term musical poets (the italics are ours) is a remarkable one; Kuhnau himself, of course, was one of them.

Philipp Spitta, in his Life of J.S. Bach, devotes one short paragraph to the Bible stories, and gives one or two brief quotations from the second; but they certainly deserve a longer notice.

The 1st Sonata is entitled "The Fight between David and Goliath." It opens with a bold section, intended, as we learn from a superscription, to represent the bravado of Goliath. The giant's characteristic theme, on which the whole section is built, is as follows:—

Goliath's theme

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Then follows a section in A minor. A Chorale represents the prayer to God of the terrified Israelites, while the palpitating quaver accompaniment stands for the terror which seized them at sight of the giant; the harmonies are very striking. This Chorale setting should be compared with one by Bach (Spitta's Life of Bach, English edition, vol. i. p. 216), said to owe its existence to the influence of Georg Böhm, organist at Lüneburg at the commencement of the eighteenth century. Next comes a little pastoral movement (C major, three-[Pg 55]four time) expressive of David's courage and of his confidence in God. Then a tone-picture is given of the encounter; the heavy tread of the Philistine is heard in the bass, while semiquaver passages, evolved from a figure in the preceding movement, evidently portray the spirited youth. One realistic bar scarcely needs the explanation given by Kuhnau that it is the slinging of the stone which smote the Philistine in his forehead; and the same may be said of the "Goliath falls" in the following bar:—

Battle between David and Goliath

[Pg 56]

David and Goliath continued

Goliath falls

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This section, limited to sixteen bars, is not only an early, but a notable specimen of programme-music; it is realistic, but not in the least ridiculous. Rapid passages with points of imitation tell of the flight of the Philistines. A bright movement (still in C) bears the superscription, "The joy of the Israelites at their victory"; in it there is an allusion to the pastoral movement. Maidens then advance, with timbrels and instruments of music, to meet the victor, and the sonata concludes with [Pg 57]a stately Minuet, similar in character to the Minuet in the Overture to Handel's Samson; the people are dancing and singing for joy.

The 2nd Sonata presents to us a very different picture. Here we have the melancholy of Saul driven away by means of music. There are a few realistic effects, such as the paroxysms of madness of Saul, and the casting of the javelin; but the subject is one which readily lends itself to real musical treatment. The music of the 1st Sonata was principally objective; here, however, it is principally subjective. In the first part of the work the music depicts, now the sadness, now the rage of the monarch. The opening is worthy of Bach, and presents, indeed, a foreshadowing of the opening of the 16th Prelude of the "Well-tempered Clavier." Spitta mentions the fine fugue, with the subject standing for the melancholy, the counter-subject for the madness of the king; and he justly remarks that these two images of Saul "contain the poetical germ of a truly musical development." The "dimly brooding" theme of the fugue brings to one's mind the "Kyrie eleison" fugue of Mozart's Requiem; also the theme of the Allegro of Beethoven's Sonata in C minor (Op. 111), notwithstanding the fact that Kuhnau's is slow and sad, but Beethoven's, fast and fiery. Here is the first half of the former—

Kuhnau Bible Sonata No. 2

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Let not our readers be deceived by the word[Pg 58] "fugue." The movement is no mere formal scholastic piece of writing such as one might expect; the preluding of David on his harp, the "javelin" episode, the paroxysms of rage give to it rather the character of a free fantasia. One word with regard to the paroxysm passages. We quoted above a sentence from the preface respecting the violation of the rule respecting consecutive consonances by certain "poet musicians." Kuhnau, under this plural mask, was, as we have mentioned, certainly referring to himself, for in another part of the preface he specially calls attention to the consecutive fifths by which he depicts the disordered mind of King Saul. This first movement, opening in G minor, ends on the chord of G major. We now come to a movement (B flat) entitled "The Refreshing Melody from David's Harp." The following is part of David's soothing theme:—

David's theme

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At first it is not heard in its entirety. The sweet singer of Israel plays it, or sometimes only the first two bars, in various keys, and with varied harmonisation, as if watching the king and trying the effect on him of different modulations. Besides in the principal key, it appears several times, and in succession, in the relative minor, then in the [Pg 59]minor key of the supertonic. The key of the subdominant enters with refreshing effect; after that, a return is made to the principal key, which continues until the close of the movement. Between each delivery of the theme, occur passages similar to the following:—

David's restlessness

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as if to denote the restlessness of the king. And as the character of the music, especially towards the close, suggests piano and pianissimo, it would seem as though intended to express the gradual healing power of the music. As a piece of abstract music, the movement appears long, but not if the dramatic situation be kept well in mind. At length the sounds of the harp cease, and a closing, peaceful, and dignified movement in G minor tells of Saul's now tranquil state of mind.

The 3rd Sonata, entitled "The Marriage of Jacob," opens with a delightful Gigue; over it stands the superscription, "The joy of the family of Laban at the arrival of their relation Jacob." The beginning of the second section has, as usual, the subject inverted. The music is gay and sparkling. Then comes a section illustrative of Jacob's seven years' service for a wife. The music expresses effort and fatigue, but by way of musical contrast sprightly bars intervene from time to time, to represent happy moments when the lovers meet. Further on we have the bridal-song of the [Pg 60]companions of Rachel: a short, quaint, and delicate movement in minor and in triple time. It commences thus:—

Bridal song

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A short section follows, full of rapid semiquaver passages and points of imitation (such a mode of procedure is frequently adopted by the composer); and then comes a sudden change in the character of the music. No tempo is marked, but, evidently, it must not be rapid. It is a tone-picture of the deception practised by Laban upon Jacob when he substituted Leah in place of Rachel. At first, it is a free recitative. A quotation of a few bars will give a good idea of the extraordinary harmonies and rhythmical figures:—

Laban's deception

[Pg 61]

Laban's deception

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And again—

Laban's deception

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The Fugue, short and vigorous, has a characteristic theme:—


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A new section expresses Jacob's happiness until he discovers the deceit practised on him. The [Pg 62]exact moment of displeasure is indicated by a superscription; the latter, however, was scarcely necessary—the notes speak for themselves. For there are reminiscences of the Laban recitative, of the fugue theme, and also (in augmentation) of the counter-subject. This is, indeed, an early instance of the employment of representative themes. The composer then naïvely orders the section descriptive of the wedding festivities to be repeated, to illustrate the second marriage of Jacob with the beloved Rachel.

The 4th Sonata deals with Hezekiah's mortal sickness and recovery. It is shorter than the preceding ones, and of simpler structure. It opens with slow, sad music: the prophet of God has summoned the king to prepare for death. His ardent prayer to heaven is naturally expressed by a well-known Chorale, supported by most effective polyphonic harmony. After a short thematic working of a figure from the Chorale, the latter is submitted to fresh treatment: the movement (in six-four time) somewhat resembles the old Corrente. The sonata concludes with a lively movement in binary form. It is intended to depict the king's joy at his recovery. There are a few bars adagio in each section: Hezekiah recalls the past. This is the only one of the sonatas which, as abstract music, would be satisfactory without any programme.

No. 5 is entitled "Gideon, the Saviour of Israel." From a musical point of view it is the least interesting of the set, yet it contains some [Pg 63]curious programme effects. It will be remembered that a sign from heaven was given to Gideon: the fleece was to be covered with dew, but the ground to remain dry; the next night, however, the order of things was reversed. Kuhnau expresses the latter by giving a theme in contrary motion. This may almost be described as punning in music. The composer, however, meant it seriously; from the tone of his preface, and the narration, with comments, which he has prefixed to each sonata, in addition to the explanatory words over the music itself, it is clear that his aim was to elucidate and intensify the Bible stories by means of his art. He was a man, apparently, of deep religious belief.

The battle-picture is a curiosity, but, as music, of little value. The flight of the Midianites is depicted in the following primitive manner:—

Flight of the Midianites

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The 6th (and last) Sonata bears the title, "The Tomb of Jacob." We have, at first, mournful music: the sons of the Patriarch are standing round the deathbed. At length Jacob dies, and they "ponder over the consequences of the sad event." A quiet, expressive theme

"The Tomb of Jacob"

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[Pg 64]

is then treated fugally, and with marked effect. Then comes the journey from Egypt to the land of Canaan. The bass, progressing in quavers, expresses motion. From time to time a curious syncopated semiquaver figure is heard in the upper part: it may be intended to represent sobbing. The following quotation, including one of these "sobbing" passages, will give a good idea of the character of this section—

Journey from Egypt

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A short, solemn phrase is headed, "The Burial of Israel." Then a finely worked-out fugal section depicts the great grief of the bystanders. It is in four parts, but in one place the addition of a fifth part and stretto treatment render the feeling of grief more intense. A peaceful closing section in the major key and in triple time expresses the consoled minds of the survivors.

From this résumé of these "Bible" Sonatas, it will be seen that they have nothing in common with the ordinary sonata of the time in which they [Pg 65]were written. They were bold attempts at programme-music; and, as we have already said, the form is entirely determined by the subject-matter.

In the old edition of these "Bible" Sonatas, in addition to the preface of which we have made mention, Kuhnau has related the Bible stories in his own characteristic language. We give a translation of the first two, as specimens.

I. The Combat between David and Goliath

The portrait given in Scripture of great Goliath is something quite uncommon: a monster of nature appears, a giant, tall as a tree. Six ells will not suffice to measure his length; the high helmet of brass which he wears on his head makes him appear still taller; and the scaly coat of mail, the greaves of brass placed about his legs, together with the enormously heavy shield which he carries, also his strong spear, tipped with iron, like unto a weaver's beam, sufficiently show that he is of mighty strength, and that all these exceedingly heavy loads do not inconvenience him in the slightest. If the mere description of this man creates fear, how much greater will not the terror of the poor Israelites be when the living image of this their enemy appears before them. For he stands before them in his brazen armour, rivalling the sun in brilliancy, makes with the rustling of his armour a terrible din, and snorts and bellows as if he would devour them at one [Pg 66]mouthful; his words sound in their ears like dreadful thunder. He holds in contempt his enemies and their equipage, and demands that a hero be sent out to him from their camp; this combat is to show whose shoulders shall bear the yoke of bondage. By this means he imagines that the sceptre will soon pass from the Israelites to the Philistines. But a miracle is about to happen! When courage fails all the heroes of Israel, when the giant has only to show himself, to cause them to flee, when, also, the terrible warrior continues, according to his custom, to pour contempt on the enemy, David, a slim, courageous stripling, a simple shepherd-boy, then appears, and offers to fight the bully. He is accused of rashness. This, however, troubles David but little; he adheres firmly to his heroic resolution, and seeks audience of King Saul. By God's help, he had fought with a bear and a lion who had taken from him a lamb, had snatched the prey from the jaws of these cruel beasts, and, further, had slain them. Thus he hoped would end the struggle with this bear and lion of a Philistine. Strongly relying upon God, he advances towards the powerful giant, with a sling, and with some specially selected pebbles. Then the Philistines think to themselves, "Now will the great hero blow away the enemy like a speck of dust, or kill him as he would a fly." All at once Goliath becomes terrible in his rage, and raves, uttering frightful oaths at David, declaring that he is treated as if he were a dog, and that[Pg 67] David comes to him with shepherd's staff, and not with weapons worthy of a warrior. David, however, is fearless. He relies on his God, and prophesies to the enemy that, though without sword, spear, or shield, he will cast Goliath to the ground; that he will cut off his head, and leave his carcase as food for birds and wild beasts. Hereupon David rushes at the Philistine, wounds him in the forehead with a sharp stone cast from his sling, so that Goliath falls to the ground. Before he has time to rise, David, making use of his opportunity, slays him with his own sword, and bears away from the field of battle, the hewn-off head as a trophy of victory. As formerly the Israelites fled before the snorting and stamping of the great Goliath, so now flee the Philistines in consequence of the victory of young David. Thus they give opportunity to the Israelites to pursue them, and to fill the roads with the corpses of the slain fugitives. It is easy to imagine how great must have been the joy of the victorious Hebrews. In proof of it, we learn how women came forth from the cities of Judea, with drum, fiddle, and other musical instruments, to meet the victors, and sang alternately: "Saul hath slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands."

Thus the sonata expresses—

1. The stamping and defying of Goliath.

2. The terror of the Israelites, and their prayer to God at sight of the terrible enemy.

[Pg 68]

3. The courage of David, his desire to humble the pride of the giant, and his childlike trust in God.

4. The contest of words between David and Goliath, and the contest itself, in which Goliath is wounded in the forehead by a stone, so that he falls to the ground and is slain.

5. The flight of the Philistines, and how they are pursued by the Israelites, and slain by the sword.

6. The exultation of the Israelites over their victory.

7. The praise of David, sung by the women in alternate choirs.

8. And, finally, the general joy, expressing itself in hearty dancing and leaping.

II. David curing Saul by means of Music

Among the heavy blows dealt to us at times by God, for holy reasons, are to be counted bodily sicknesses. Of these one can in a real sense say that they cause pain. Hence the invention of that physician of Padua was by no means ridiculous, who thus represented in picture-form, over his house-door, the various sicknesses: a man attacked by many dogs and gesticulating wildly, through pain. To each of these dogs was given a name, and each acted accordingly. The dog, Gout, was biting the man's foot; the dog, Pleurisy, his [Pg 69]loins; Stone, his kidneys; Colic, his belly, and so on. Finally, a great sheep-dog, representing daily fever, had thrown the man to the ground. The inventor could easily have known (for that he did not require any special experience) that sicknesses act upon men in a manner not less gentle. By the exercise of patience, pain can at length be conquered, although the soul, so intimately combined with the body, must feel it not a little. But when the soul is attacked by sickness, patience always gives way; for bodily, cannot in any way be compared with mental, suffering. Inner anguish shows itself in restless gestures. Scripture takes us into a lazaretto of such afflicted persons. Among others, we meet with a royal and singular patient. Saul is his name. Of him we read: "The spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and he was vexed by an evil spirit from the Lord." Where God is absent, and the Evil One present, there must dwell all manner of evil. The hateful aspect of this man in his paroxysms of pain can readily be imagined. His eyes turn the wrong way, and sparks of fire, so to speak, dart out one after the other; his face is so disfigured, that human features can scarce be recognised; his heart casts forth, as it were, a wild, stormy sea of foam. Distrust, jealousy, envy, hatred, and fear burst forth from him. Especially does the javelin, constantly flying from his hand, show that his heart rages fiercely with anger. To sum up: his soul-sickness is so great that [Pg 70]the marks of hellish tortures can be clearly traced. At lucid intervals (lucidis intervallis) or quiet hours, the tortured king realises his indescribable evil; and he therefore seeks after a man who can cure him. But under such extraordinary circumstances can help be hoped for? From human arts, Saul could not expect any salvation. But God sometimes works wonders among men. So he sends to him a noble musician, the excellent David, and puts uncommon power into his harp-playing. For when Saul, so to speak, is sweating in the hot bath of sadness, and David plays only one little piece, the king is at once refreshed, and brought into a state of repose.

Thus the sonata represents—

1. Saul's sadness and madness.

2. David's refreshing harp-playing, and

3. Tranquillity restored to the king's mind.

[Pg 71]



In the year 1637 was born at Massa de Valnevola (Tuscany) Bernardo Pasquini,[48] who is said to have been one of the most distinguished performers on the organ and also the harpsichord. He studied under Loreto Vittori and Antonio Cesti, but his real master was evidently Palestrina, whose scores young Bernardo studied with fervent zeal. He was appointed organist of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, and, according to the monument erected to his memory by his nephew, Bernardo Ricordati, and his pupil, Bernardo Gaffi, in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina of that city, the composer was for a time in the service of Battista, Prince Borghese. The inscription runs thus:—


"Bernardo Pasquino Hetrusco e Massa Vallis Nevolæ Liberianæ Basilicæ S.P.Q.R. Organedo viro probitate vitæ et moris lepore laudatissimo qui Excell. Jo. Bap. Burghesii Sulmonensium Principis clientela et munificentia honestatus [Pg 72]musicis modulis apud omnes fere Europæ Principes nominis gloriam adeptus anno sal. MDCCX. die XXII. Novembris S. Ceciliæ sacro ab Humanis excessit ut cujus virtutes et studia prosecutus fuerat in terris felicius imitaretur in coelis. Bernardus Gaffi discipulus et Bernardus Ricordati ex sorore nepos præceptori et avunculo amantissimo moerentes monumentum posuere. Vixit annos LXXII. menses XI. dies XIV."

Pasquini enjoyed reputation as a dramatic composer, and the success of an opera of his performed at the Teatro Capranica, Rome, during the festivities in honour of Queen Christina of Sweden (1679), is specially noted; or, according to Mendel, he wrote two successful operas, one for the opening of the Teatro Capranica, and a second for the festivals. He also wrote an oratorio: La Sete di Christo. Pasquini died in the year 1710.

But, it will be asked, Why is he mentioned in a book which is concerned with the sonata? It is known that he was a skilful performer on the harpsichord, and some Toccatas and Suites of his appear to have been published in a collection of clavier music at Amsterdam in 1704. Fétis, in his Biographie Universelle des Musiciens, even states that he wrote sonatas for gravicembalo. Here are his words:—

"Landsberg possédait un recueil manuscrit original de pièces d'orgue de Pasquini, dont j'ai extrait deux toccates, composées en 1697. Ce manuscrit est indiqué d'une manière inexacte dans le catalogue [Pg 73]de la bibliothèque de ce professeur (Berlin, 1859) de cette manière: Pasquini (Bernardo) Sonate pei Gravicembalo (libro prezioso). Volume grosso E scritto di suo (sua) mano in questo libro. Ce même catalogue indiqué aussi de Bernard Pasquini: Saggi di contrapunto—Anno 1695. Volume forte. E scritto di suo (sua) mano in questo libro. Malheureusement ces précieux ouvrages sont passés en Amérique avec toute la bibliothèque musicale du professeur Landsberg."

Whether these precious volumes actually went to America seems doubtful. Anyhow both volumes are now safely housed in the Berlin Royal Library. It may be mentioned that the first contains no real sonata: its contents consist principally of suites, toccatas, variations, and fugues.

In the story of Italian instrumental music, Pasquini is little more than a name. The fourth volume of A.W. Ambros' History of Music concludes thus:—"So ist uns von dem gerühmten Meister nichts geblieben, als seine Name u. seine stolze Grabschrift in San Lorenzo in Lucina." (Thus of the famous master (i.e. Pasquini) nothing remains except his name and his proud monument in San Lorenzo in Lucina). The writer of the article "D. Scarlatti," in Sir George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, remarks that the famous harpsichord player and composer "has been called a pupil of Bernardo Pasquini." But he considers this "most improbable, seeing that Pasquini was of the school of Palestrina, and wrote entirely in [Pg 74]the contrapuntal style, whereas Domenico Scarlatti's chief interest is that he was the first composer who studied the peculiar characteristics of the free style of the harpsichord."

Of Pasquini as a performer on the harpsichord, Mattheson relates "how on his visit to Rome he found Corelli playing the violin, Pasquini the harpsichord, and Gattani the lute, all in the orchestra of the Opera-house." And, once more, in the notice of Pasquini in the same dictionary, we are informed that the composer "exercised a certain influence on German musicians." In C.F. Weitzmann's Geschichte des Clavierspiels there is an interesting reference to some Toccatas of Pasquini published in "Toccates et suites pour le clavecin de MM. Pasquini, Paglietti et Gaspard Kerle, Amsterdam, Roger, 1704." A Toccata was published (most probably one of those in the above work) by I. Walsh in his

Second Collection
Toccates, Vollentarys and Fugues
made on purpose for the
Organ and Harpsichord
Compos'd by
Pasquini, Polietti
and others
The most Eminent Foreign Authors.

Of Polietti,[49] court organist at Vienna before J.[Pg 75]S. Bach was born, Emil Naumann has, by the way, given an interesting account in an article "Ein bisher unbekannt gebliebener Vorgänger Seb. Bach's unter den Italienern" (Neue Berl. Mus.-Ztg. Jahrgang 29). The Toccatas of Pasquini, published by Roger, and a so-called "Sonata,"[50] printed by Weitzmann in the work just referred to, constitute, we believe, all that has hitherto appeared in print of this composer.

And yet surely Pasquini may lay claim to a place in the history of instrumental music and the sonata, for he not only wrote suites, but also sonatas for the harpsichord, or, to be quite exact, for two harpsichords. Some, at any rate, of his music is to be found in the British Museum. There are three volumes (Add. MSS. 31,501-3). On the fly-leaf of the first is written:—

"Ad Usum Bernardi Felicij Ricordati de Baggiano in Etruria."

Then comes in pencil a note probably made when the volumes came into the possession of the British Museum:—

"These are original MSS. by the hand of Bernardo Pasquini, 1637-1710, the greatest organist of Italy in the second half of the 17th century, and written for his nephew B. Ricordati. They are the only MSS. of Pasquini known to be [Pg 76]in Europe. This vol. is dated at the end, Dec. 3, 1704; at the beginning, May 6, 1703."

And now for its contents. The first piece is a short suite,[51] consisting of a Tastata (the old term for Prelude), a Corrente and an Aria; and it shows that Pasquini could write homophonic as well as polyphonic music. Then follows a piece in the key of D major, headed

"A due Cembali, 1704, Bernardo Pasquini,"

which consists of three movements. First one commencing with chords, after which, fugal imitation. Next we have a fugal movement, like the preceding one, in common time; lastly, one in six-eight time. All three movements are in the same key. The part for each cembalo is written on a separate stave, the one below the other. Only the bass notes are written, and the upper parts are indicated by figures. But this will be clearer presently, for we shall give one or more illustrations. At the close of the six-eight movement is written fine, and on the following page another piece begins in C major, marked merely 2a, commencing thus:—

Pasquini sonata

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This theme reminds one of Bach's Adagio from the 2nd Organ Concerto—

[Pg 77]

Bach, Adagio, 2nd Organ Concerto

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or even Handel's "Along the Monster Atheist strode."[52] The movements of this second piece are similar in structure and character to those of the first. Next we have a piece of lighter character in two movements, and, apparently, for one cembalo: there is, of course, only one bass part (figured). At the commencement is merely marked Basso continuo. The following piece is headed 3a Sonata (3rd Sonata). It is in the key of D minor, and it has three movements, all in the same key. Now, as all the pieces for two cembali in the volume after this are marked as sonatas, coupled with the fact that before this 3rd Sonata there are two pieces for two cembali, the latter of which is marked 2a (second), we may conclude that these two are also sonatas. The piece for one cembalo between the 2nd and 3rd Sonatas is, as we have remarked, of lighter character, and was possibly considered a suite. After the 3rd Sonata comes a fourth, then a Basso continuo (containing, however, by exception, more [Pg 78]than one suite), and so on, alternately, until the 14th Sonata is reached. Then follows the last piece in the volume. The superscription, "For one or two cembali,"[53] leads us to believe that the preceding Basso continuo numbers were intended for one cembalo. It should be stated that movements in binary form are rare among the sonatas, frequent among the Basso continuo pieces,—another reason for considering the latter suites.

The structure of the 3rd Sonata[54] is extremely simple. The first, probably an Allegro moderato, opens with a bold characteristic phrase, which is repeated in the second bar by the second cembalo; points of imitation, in fact, continue throughout the movement. At the seventh bar there is modulation to the dominant, and at the ninth, to the subdominant, in which the opening theme recurs. A stately antiphonal passage leads back to the principal key, and the movement concludes with a cadence such as we find in many a work of Bach's or Handel's. The Adagio opens with short phrases for each instrument alternately. A new subject in the relative major is treated in imitative fashion. After a return to the opening theme, also an allusion to the second theme, a new figure is introduced, but the movement soon comes to a close. This slow movement brings to one's mind "The Lord is a Man of War," and the major section of the duet, "Thou in Thy Mercy,"[Pg 79] in Handel's Israel in Egypt. The third movement, in structure, much resembles the first; the music is broad and vigorous. The closing bars suggest the stringendo passage and presto bars in the coda of the Scherzo of the "Choral Symphony." Of course it is disappointing to have only the bass parts for each instrument. The volume, as we have already stated, was for the use of Ricordati, and probably the uncle and nephew performed these sonatas together. Musicians will be able to write out the figured basses, and thus form some idea of the music. The figures are an outline of what was in the composer's mind; but these basses, like those of Bach and Handel, so simple, so clear to the composers who penned them, will always remain more or less a crux criticorum. It will be noticed that the three movements, as in some of Corelli's sonatas, are all in the same key.

We now give the opening bars of the three movements of the piece for one or two cembali:—

Pasquini sonata, 1st movement

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Pasquini sonata, 2nd movement

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[Pg 80]

Pasquini sonata, 3rd movement

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All the other sonatas are more or less after the pattern of the one given. The other two volumes contain suites, airs with variations, arias, and a quantity of short figured basses, apparently as studies.

Before closing this short chapter we will add a word or two about Italian music for the harpsichord at the beginning of the eighteenth century. A recent writer remarks that "Domenico Scarlatti seems to spring full-armed into the view of history." But his father, the renowned opera-writer, Alessandro Scarlatti, wrote music for the harpsichord, also his pupil, Gaëtano Grieco, who succeeded him as Professor at the Conservatorio dei poveri di Gesù Cristo (Naples) in 1717. The influence of the master can be clearly traced in the music of the pupil; and, if one may judge from the simpler character of Grieco's music[55] as compared with that of D. Scarlatti, he, too, was a predecessor. Grieco is said to have been born about 1680; D. Scarlatti was born in 1683; but this, of course, decides nothing as to the dates of their compositions. The harpsichord music of G. Grieco has both character and charm, and it is indeed strange that none of his pieces have been included either in the Trésor des Pianistes, the Maîtres du Clavecin, or Pauer's Collections of old music.

[Pg 81]

This chapter is headed: "A Contemporary of Kuhnau." The latter published all his known sonatas by the year 1700, while the dates assigned to the Pasquini sonata volume are, as we have seen, 1703-4. But at that time Pasquini was over sixty years of age; it is therefore more than probable that he was really the predecessor of the German master as a writer of clavier sonatas.

[Pg 82]



Carl Phillip Emanuel, third son of J.S. Bach, was born at Weimar, 8th or 14th March, 1714, and died at Hamburg, 14th December, 1788. He studied composition and clavier-playing with his father. His brother, Wilhelm Friedemann, his senior by four years, went through a similar course, but learnt, in addition, the violin under J.G. Graun. Emanuel's attention, however, was concentrated on the one instrument; and to this we probably owe the numerous clavier sonatas which he wrote, and which paved the way for those of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. In his twenty-first year (1735) Emanuel left his father's house in order to study jurisprudence at Frankfort-on-the-Oder; three years later, however, he went to Berlin, and as cembalist entered the service of Frederick the Great (1740).[56] Already in [Pg 83]his father's house, the young student saw and heard many distinguished musicians; he himself has told us that no musician of any note passed through Leipzig without seeking an opportunity to meet his father, so famed as composer and as performer on the organ and clavier. And again, afterwards, at the Court of Prussia, he came into contact with the most notable composers and performers of his day. From among these may be singled out C.H. Graun (composer of the "Tod Jesu") and Georg Benda.[57] Graun was already in the service of Frederick when the latter was only Crown Prince.[58] It would be interesting to learn the special influences acting upon Emanuel before he published his first set of sonatas in 1742, but this is scarcely possible. The collection of symphonies[59] or sonatas published at Leipzig in 1762, mentioned in our introductory chapter, gives, however, some idea of [Pg 84]the music of that period; and it is possible that many of the numbers were written before Emanuel Bach published his first works. The "Sammlung Vermischte Clavierstücke für geübte und ungeübte Spieler," by Georg Benda, may also be mentioned; it is of great interest, especially the Sonata in C minor. The character of the music and style of writing for the instrument constantly remind one of Emanuel Bach. Benda, born in 1721, joined the King of Prussia's Band in 1742, and soon became known as an experienced performer on the harpsichord. Unfortunately it is impossible to ascertain the dates of composition of the various pieces of this collection, and thus to find out whether Benda was an imitator of Bach or vice versâ; the collection itself was only published at Gotha in 1780.

The Italian taste in music which prevailed at the Prussian Court[60] had undoubtedly a marked influence on Bach, and one for good. The severe counterpoint of the North German school and the suave melody of the Sunny South blended together with happy results.

It is customary to speak en bloc of Emanuel Bach's sonatas; if, however, the earlier be compared with some of the later ones, interesting differences may be detected, and developments [Pg 85]traced. But the composer's artistic career, unfortunately, does not show a steady, regular advance such as we find in J.S. Bach or Beethoven. C.H. Bitter, his biographer and enthusiastic admirer, has to confess that he was a practical man, and that he wrote at times to please pupils and amateurs; while, occasionally, his aim may have been pecuniary gain.

Of his early period, we shall notice the "Sei Sonate per Cembalo," dedicated to Frederick II. of Prussia (1742), and the Würtemberg Sonatas, published in 1745. Of his middle period, the "Sechs Sonaten fürs Clavier mit veränderten Reprisen," Berlin, 1760, and the "Sechs leichte Sonaten," Leipzig, 1766. And of his latter period, the six collections of "Sonaten für Kenner u. Liebhaber," published at Leipzig between 1779 and 1787. With regard, however, to the last-named, it must be remembered that some are of a comparatively early date. Thus the 3rd Sonata of the 3rd Collection, one of the finest of Bach's works, was composed in 1763, while the collection itself only appeared in 1781. But a table of dates will be given further on.

If some of the best sonatas written after 1760 be compared with those of 1742, there will be found in the later works more character in the subject-matter, also movements of greater length. Practice, too, had improved the composer's style of writing. The later Bach did not return to the [Pg 86]principal theme in such a crude, nay, lawless, fashion as the following:—

(Frederick) Sonata 1. First Movement.]

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In these "Frederick" Sonatas there is as yet no tendency to enharmonic and other surprise modulation such as Bach afterwards displayed. Then as to technique, we find here octaves and large chords comparatively rare,[61] while scale passages are more restricted. Like Beethoven, Emanuel Bach seized hold of additional notes to the keyboard. In 1742 his highest and lowest notes, apparently, were—

1742 highest and lowest notes

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but afterwards—

highest and lowest notes

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[Pg 87]

In the introductory chapter we noted the change with regard to the number of movements of a sonata which took place between 1683, when Corelli published his first sonatas, and 1740, when E. Bach composed his first set. Instances were given of sonatas in three movements by Corelli, but with that composer four was the normal number; with E. Bach, three. This change came about in great measure through the concerto. From E. Bach, we are able to show the links in the chain of development: Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven; but though between Kuhnau, the first writer of sonatas for the clavier, and Bach, B. Pasquini wrote, as mentioned in the last chapter, sonatas in three movements, yet we have no knowledge that Bach was acquainted with them. Kuhnau, in fact, however interesting a phenomenon in the musical firmament, is not necessary to explain the appearance of Bach. Joh. Sebastian Bach was undoubtedly acquainted with the "Bible" Sonatas. He must have admired them, but he may have been afraid of the freedom of form which they displayed, and of their tendency to programme-music; and perhaps he did not speak of them to his sons, lest they should be led astray. For, as we have already mentioned, Sebastian Bach seems to have yielded for a moment to the Kuhnau influence, but, if we may judge from his subsequent art-work, he did not feel satisfied that it was a good one.

In 1742, E. Bach dedicated the six sonatas[Pg 88] (composed in 1740) to Frederick the Great. The title-page runs thus:—

Sei Sonate
per Cembalo
che all' Augusta Maestà
Frederico II.
Rè di Prussia
Carlo Filippo Emanuele Bach
Musico di Camera di S.M.
Alle spese di Balth. Schmid
in Norimberga.

And in the obsequious dedication, the composer describes them as works "debolissimo Talento mio." As Bach's earliest published sonatas, they are, for our purpose, of special interest. Their order is as follows:—

Sonata1inFPoco Allegro, Andante, Vivace.
"2"B flat Vivace, Adagio, Allegro assai.
"3"E Poco Allegro, Adagio, Presto.
"4"C minor Allegro, Adagio, Presto.
"5"C Poco Allegro, Andante, Allegro assai.
"6"A Allegro, Adagio, Allegro.

The first and last movements of all six are in binary form. In the five major sonatas, the first sections close in the key of the dominant, and in the one minor sonata (No. 4), in the relative major. The opening movement of each sonata is in early sonata-form: the second section starts with the [Pg 89]principal theme, or a brief allusion to it; but then, after a short development with modulation, there is a return to the principal key and to the principal theme.[62] The final movements, on the other hand, are of the usual suite order. Of interest and, indeed, of importance in our history of development are the contents of the first section of the opening movements. In some of the Scarlatti sonatas (see No. 56) there is to be found a fairly definite second subject in the dominant key, or, in the case of a minor piece, in the dominant minor or relative major. Here the process of differentiation is continued; in the 2nd Sonata the contrast between the two subjects is specially marked. We give the opening bar of each—

C.P.E. Bach, 2nd Sonata, 1st subject C.P.E. Bach, 2nd Sonata, 2nd subject

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In most of the developments the composer steers clear of the principal key, so that at the return of the principal theme it may appear fresh. To such a method, since Beethoven, we are quite accustomed; but it is curious how little [Pg 90]attention—even with the example of E. Bach before him—Haydn paid to such an effective means of contrast in some of his early sonatas. In Bach's No. 6, in A, the development assumes unusual magnitude; it is even longer than the first section. And it is not only long, but interesting. One passage, of which we quote a portion, has rather a modern appearance:[63]

C.P.E. Bach Sonata No. 6

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The return of the principal theme is preceded by an unexpected entry of the opening bars in B minor,—a first sign of that humour which afterwards formed so prominent a feature in Bach's music. And the theme itself, after the opening notes, is dealt with in original fashion.

[Pg 91]

The middle movements of Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6 are in the key of the relative minor; that of No. 1 is in the tonic minor, and that of No. 4 (C minor), in the relative major. No. 1, twice interrupted by a recitative (upper part and figured bass),[64] is dignified, yet tender, and, in form, original. The Adagio, in C sharp minor, of No. 3 is a movement of singular charm; it is based on imitation, but, though old in style, it breathes something of the new spirit, or rather—for there is nothing new under the sun—of the old Florentine spirit which freed music for a time from the fetters of polyphony. The genius of Johann Sebastian Bach gained the victory over form, and, in fact, exhausted fugue-form. It is in the clever, but dry fugues of some of his contemporaries and, especially, successors, that one can feel the absolute necessity for a new departure. This Adagio is, as it were, a delicate remembrance, and one not unmixed with sadness, of the composer's immortal parent.

The light, lively final movements need no description. All the music of these sonatas is written in two or three parts or voices; occasionally there are chord passages in which for the moment the number is increased. We have dwelt somewhat in detail on this work, as it appears to be little known.

There is a sonata in the key of D major, published in the 3rd Collection (1763) of Marpurg's[Pg 92] Clavierstücke (p. 10), by E. Bach, which was written in the same year (1740), but earlier than the "Frederick" Sonatas. C.H. Bitter remarks that if the year of composition were not known, it would certainly pass as a much later work. The first movement reminds one of Beethoven's terse, bold style. Bitter refers to the freedom with which the thoughts are expressed, to the melodious character of the Andante, and to the humour of the Finale. He might also have referred to the style of writing for the instrument, which suggests a later date.

In 1745 (?) appeared the Würtemberg Sonatas (so called because they were dedicated to Bach's pupil, the Duca di Wirtemberg e Teckh, as he is named on the title-page of the original edition). These sonatas are marked as Opera seconda. They were offered by the composer to the Duke in recognition of the many favours shown to him "at the time when I had the honour of giving you lessons in music at Berlin."[65] Of these sonatas we have only been able to have access to the two preserved in the British Museum; the others are probably of similar character.

No. 1, in E flat, opens with an Adagio, followed by an Allegro assai (E flat), and then by a Menuet alternato and Trio, both in E flat, and with the former da capo. The first and second movements are in old binary form; the Allegro shows the influence of D. Scarlatti. The Minuet is [Pg 93]fresh and pleasing. It is evident, taking E. Bach himself as standard, that this is a suite rather than a sonata.

No. 2, in B flat, is of similar character and construction. Both sonatas are old in form, but more modern in their subject-material and style of writing than those dedicated to the King of Prussia. In the latter there is a solidity not to be found here; in its place we have lightness, almost merriment; they were written, one would almost think, expressly for the amusement of the Duke. The rapid semi-quaver passages (as in No. 1) and the crossing of hands (as in No. 2) tell in no undecided manner of the influence of Scarlatti. The exceedingly light and graceful Minuets remind one of the kinship between the composer and Haydn.

In a letter to Forkel, dated 10th February 1775, Bach writes as follows:—

"Die 2 Sonaten, welche Ihren Beyfall vorzüglich haben, sind die einzigen von dieser Art, die ich je gemacht habe. Sie gehören zu der, aus dem H-moll, die ich Ihnen mitschickte, zu der aus dem B, die Sie nun auch haben, u. zu 2en aus der Hafner-Würtembergischen Sammlung, u. sind alle 6 anno 1743, im Töplitzer Bade von mir, der ich damahls sehr gicht-brüchig war, auf einem Claviacord mit der kurzen Octav verfertiget."[66]

[Pg 94]

It would be interesting to know the two sonatas belonging to this period, "the only ones of the kind that I have ever written." In the catalogue of musical remains of E. Bach, published two years after his death, the opening bars are given of a Sonata in B minor (see above letter) written at Töplitz in 1743—

C.P.E. Bach Sonata in B minor

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This, surely, must be the one mentioned in the above letter.

In 1760, Bach published six sonatas with varied repeats (mit veränderten Reprisen), dedicated to Princess Amelia of Prussia. In the preface the composer remarks that "nowadays change or repetition is indispensable." He complains that some players will not play the notes as written, even the first time; and again, that players, if the changing on repetition is left to them, make alterations unsuitable to the character [Pg 95]of the music. These sonatas are of great historic interest. This preface, also the evident necessity for additional (inner part) notes at times, especially in the slow movements of E. Bach and other composers of that day, make one feel that, as it now stands, much of Bach's music is a dead letter. Here we are face to face with a question which in a kindred matter has given rise to much controversy. If the music is to produce its proper effect, something must be done. To that (in the case of Emanuel Bach's sonatas) all reasonable musicians must agree. Yet not, perhaps, as to what that something should be. According to certain authorities, only additions should be made which are strictly in keeping with the spirit of the age in which the music was written. Some, on the other hand, would bring the music up to date; they think it better to clothe eighteenth-century music in nineteenth-century dress, than to ask musicians with nineteenth-century ears to listen to patched-up eighteenth-century music. The second plan would not be approved by musicians who hold the classical masters in veneration; with a little modification, the first one, however, ought to meet with general acceptance. We may write in keeping with the spirit of a past age, but the music must now be played on an instrument of different character, compass, and quality of tone; so surely in making additions (and, so far as certain ornaments are concerned, alterations) these things ought to be taken into consideration. A certain latitude should, therefore, [Pg 96]be allowed to the transcriber; hard-and-fast rules in such a delicate task are impossible. The late Dr. Bülow edited six of Emanuel Bach's sonatas,[67] and though he was well acquainted with the composer's style of writing, his anxious desire to present the music in the most favourable light sometimes led him to make changes of which even lenient judges would not approve. The matter is an interesting one, and we may therefore venture to refer somewhat in detail to one passage. In the 3rd Sonata (F minor) of the 3rd Collection, the passage—

C.P.E. Bach, 3rd Collection, 3rd Sonata

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has been changed by Bülow: he has altered the C flat in the second half of the first bar into a C natural, thus smoothing down the hard progression to the key of B flat minor. Now this very passage had already, nearly a hundred years previously, attracted the notice of Forkel, who admitted that, apart from the context, it jarred against his musical feeling. But he had thought over the composer's intention in writing that sonata, and had come to the conclusion that, in the opening Allegro, Bach wished [Pg 97]to express indignation.[68] He therefore asks: "Are the hard, rough, passionate expressions of an angry and indignant man beautiful?" In this case, Forkel was of opinion that the hard modulation was a faithful record of what the composer wished to express.[69] The natural order of history seems inverted here. One would have expected Forkel to look upon the music from an abstract, but Bülow from a poetical point of view. C.H. Bitter—also on purely musical grounds—condemns Bülow's alterations. He says:—"Even weaknesses of great masters, among which the passages in question are not to be counted, still more so, special peculiarities, should be left untouched. What would become of Beethoven, if each generation of musicians, according to individual judgment, arrogated to itself the right, here and there, of expunging hardnesses, smoothing down peculiarities, and softening even sharp points with which, from time to time, we come into unpleasant contact? Works of art must be accepted as they are."

The first part of Bitter's argument is sound; but, unfortunately for the last, the writer in his life of Emanuel Bach and his brothers insists on the necessity of not accepting Emanuel's clavier works as they are.

He quotes a passage from the Andante of the 4th Sonata of the second set of the "Reprisen[Pg 98] Sonaten," and comes to the natural conclusion that it was only an outline requiring filling up.

With all his faults, one cannot but admire the spirit in which Bülow worked. He felt the greatness of the old masters, regretted the limited means which they had at their command, also the stenographic system in which they were accustomed to express their thoughts; and he sought, therefore, to make use of modern means, and thereby was naturally tempted to introduce modern effects. The restoration of the old masters is a difficult and delicate task, and in most cases, one may add, a thankless one. In the matter of transcription, however, it is important to distinguish between a Bülow and a Tausig: the one displayed the intelligence of an artist; the other, the thoughtlessness of a virtuoso.

But what, it may be asked, is the character of the changes made by Bach? The matter is of interest; by examining these sonatas, we get some idea of the difference between letter and spirit. However, from what we have said above, a mere imitation of these changes, in playing Bach's music, would, in its turn, be letter rather than spirit.

As a rule the bass remains the same, though plain crotchets may become quavers, as in extract from Sonata 1 given below, or notes turned into broken octaves—

quavers broken octaves

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[Pg 99]

or, at times, some very slight alteration may occur, such as—

version 1version 2

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In the upper parts the changes are similar to those found in the variations of Haydn and Mozart. An illustration will be better than any explanation, and we accordingly give a brief extract from the 1st Sonata: first the five bars of the Allegretto, as at the opening, then as they are changed—

C.P.E. Bach, Sonata 1, Allegretto

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[Pg 100]

C.P.E. Bach, Sonata 1

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The publication of the set of six Leipzig collections of sonatas, etc., commenced in 1779; but thirteen years previously, the composer had published a set of "Sechs Leichte Clavier Sonaten," and these, in one or two respects, are curious. The opening movement of No. 6 has no double bars, and, therefore, no repeat of the first section. And again, it has a coda pausing on the dominant chord and followed by an Andantino. This second movement, peculiar in form and modulation, ends on the dominant of F, leading directly to the Presto.

[Pg 101]

The opening of the Larghetto of No. 2—

C.P.E. Bach, Sonata 2, Larghetto

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was probably the prototype of many a theme of the classical masters.

The works by which Emanuel Bach is best known are the six collections of sonatas, rondos, and fantasias published at Leipzig between 1779-1787. The composer died in 1788. The 1st Collection (1779) bears the title "Sechs Claviersonaten für Kenner und Liebhaber," and, in fact, contains six sonatas. But "nebst einigen Rondos" (together with some Rondos) was already added to the title-page of the 2nd and 3rd Collections; and to the remaining ones, the still further addition of "Freye Fantasien."

For the sake of reference, the list of sonatas is subjoined—

 """B minor1774Hamburg.
 """ A (Bülow No. 3)1765Potsdam.
 """ G (Bülow No. 4)1765Potsdam.
 """ A (Bülow No. 2)1780Hamburg.
(1781)3""A minor1774Hamburg.[Pg 102]
 """ D minor (Bülow No. 5)1766Potsdam.
 """ F minor (Bülow No. 1)1763Berlin.
 """E minor1765Berlin.
(1785)5""E minor1784Hamburg.
 """B flat1784Hamburg.
 """E minor1785Hamburg.

Without copious musical examples, an analysis of these eighteen sonatas would prove heavy reading. It will, therefore, be easier for the writer, and certainly pleasanter for his readers, to give a somewhat "freye Fantasia" description of them, laying emphasis naturally on points connected with the special purpose in view.[70]

In the matter of tonality there are some curiosities. When Beethoven's 1st Symphony appeared, the opening bars of the introduction became stumbling-stones to the pedagogues of that day. The work was, without doubt, in the key of C major; yet, instead of opening with the tonic chord of that key, the composer led up to it through the keys of the subdominant, relative [Pg 103]minor, and dominant. No wonder that such a proceeding surprised conventional minds, and that the critics warned Beethoven of the danger of "going his own way." But his predecessor, Emanuel Bach, had also strayed from the pedagogic path, a narrow one, yet, in the end, leading to destruction. In the first book (1779), the 5th Sonata (as shown by the whole of the movement, with exception of the two opening bars) is in the key of F major, yet the first bar is in C minor (minor key of the dominant) and the second, in D minor (relative minor of the principal key).

C.P.E. Bach, Sonata 5

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There were, no doubt, respecters of tonality also in Emanuel Bach's day, to whom such free measures must have seemed foolhardy. While composing this sonata Bach was, apparently, in daring mood. The slow middle movement in[Pg 104] D minor opens with an inversion of the dominant ninth, and the Finale in F thus—

Finale in F

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Of the character of the first section of movements in binary form we have already spoken in the introductory chapter.

In the matter of development, the Bach sonatas are in one respect particularly striking; the composer seems to have resolutely turned away from the fugal style, and in so doing probably found himself somewhat hampered. Like the early Florentine reformers, Bach was breaking with the past, and with a mightier past than the one on which the Florentines turned their back; like them, he, too, was occupied with a new form. Not the music itself of the first operas, but the spirit which prompted them, is what we now admire; in E. Bach, too,—especially when viewed in the light of subsequent history,—we at times take the will for the deed.

We meet with much the same kinds of development as in Scarlatti: phrases or passages taken bodily from the first section and repeated on different degrees of the scale, extensions of phrases, and passage-writing based on some figure from the exposition, etc. The short development section of the Sonata in G (Collection No. 6) offers examples of the three methods of development [Pg 105]just mentioned. Bach, like Scarlatti, was a master of his instrument, and even when—as was said of Mendelssohn—he had nothing particular to say, he always managed to say that little well. E. Bach has already much to suffer in the inevitable comparison with Beethoven; and the fact that we have the full message of the one, but not of the other, no doubt accentuates the difference.

In many ways Bach reminds one of Beethoven. There are unexpected fortes and pianos, unexpected crescendos and diminuendos. Of such, the noble Larghetto in F minor of the Sonata in F (Collection 1779, No. 2) offers, indeed, several fine examples. Particularly would we notice the passage just before the return of the opening theme; it begins ff, but there is a gradual decrease to pp; the latter seems somewhat before its time, and therefore surprises. Then, again, we meet with out-of-the-way modulations. Bach was extremely fond of enharmonic transitions,[71] and the same can be said of Beethoven in both his early and his late works. The means employed by the two composers may be the same, but the effect is, of course, always more striking in Beethoven, whose thoughts were deeper, and whose means of expressing them were in every way more extended. And once again, in some of the forms of melody, in figures and passages, traces can be found of connection between the two masters. To our thinking the bond of union between E. Bach and Beethoven is stronger than [Pg 106]the oft-mentioned one between the early master and Haydn: Haydn was practically Bach's pupil; Beethoven, his spiritual heir. This it is which gives interest to any outward resemblances which may be detected, not the resemblances themselves.

In Bach's six sonatas of 1742 the movements are detached. But the opening movement (an Andante in sonata form) of the 2nd Sonata of the Leipzig Collection of 1779 ends with a few bars in canonic form (and with quaint Bebung effect), leading without break to the following Larghetto. The next sonata also connects the second with the third movement. In the above case the change was merely from the key of tonic major to that of minor; but here the movement is in G minor, and an enharmonic modulation leads to the dominant of B minor, key of the final movement. The sonata begins in B minor, and the choice of the remote key of G minor for the middle movement is somewhat curious. Sonata No. 4 connects first and second movements; and the third is evidently meant to follow without pause. It must, however be remembered that the majority of the Leipzig sonatas do not have the various movements thus connected. It therefore seems to have been an experiment rather than a settled plan. Examples of the connection of movements are also to be found in Nichelmann and J.C.F. Bach. The same thing may be seen in some of Haydn's sonatas (Nos. 18, 22, etc.), [Pg 107]while Beethoven offers a remarkable instance in his sonata, Op. 57.

The 1st Sonata of the 2nd Collection passes from the first to the second movement (Allegretto, G minor; Larghetto, F sharp minor) in a curious manner, by enharmonic means. The last bar has—

C.P.E. Bach, Collection II, Sonata 1

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The quotation is in abbreviated form. The second chord would, of course, be taken at first as dominant minor ninth on G. The 1st Sonata of the 4th Collection is not striking as music, and certainly not of sufficient importance to justify serious inquiry into the peculiar order of keys for the three movements (G, G minor, and E major).

With regard to the number of movements, all except two of the eighteen sonatas have three; the second and third of the 2nd Collection have only two.

John Christian Bach, or the "London" Bach, as he was called, dedicated his fifth work, consisting of six sonatas "Pour le clavecin ou pianoforte," to Ernst, Duke of Mecklenburg. This cannot have been before 1759, as that was the year in which the composer came to London. He describes himself on the title-page as—"Maître de Musique de S.M. la Reine d'Angleterre." These sonatas, as [Pg 108]we learn from the dedication, were written for the "amusement" of the Duke. The first, third, and fourth have each only two movements. They remind us less of E. Bach than of Haydn's early style. There is some very fresh, pleasing writing in them. No. 5 has some excellent practising passages, and perhaps the following—

J.C. Bach, Sonata 5

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may have suggested to Cramer his first study. The middle movement of No. 6 is a vigorous double Fugue; the whole sonata is, indeed, one of the finest of the set.

A Sonata in D, by Wilhelm Friedmann Bach, is commented on by Dr. Parry in his "Sonata" dictionary article. There is another one in C major, a fresh and vigorous example of a musician whose powers were never fully developed.

The sonatas of Pietro Domenico Paradies (b. 1710), a contemporary of E. Bach, are of interest. They were published in London by John Johnson, and bear the title, "Sonate di gravicembalo dedicate a sua altezza reale la principessa da Pier Domenico Paradies Napolitano." The edition bears no date; but the right of printing and selling granted by George II. bears the date November 28, 1754. A second edition was published at Amsterdam in 1770. The sonatas are twelve in number, and consist of only two movements of various character:[Pg 109] some have an Allegro or Presto, followed by a Presto, Allegro, or Gigue; and sometimes (as in Nos. 9 and 11) the second movement is an Andante. In other sonatas the first movement is in slow time. These two-movement sonatas would seem to form an intermediate stage between Scarlatti and Emanuel Bach. As a matter of fact, however, the latter, as we have seen, had published clavier sonatas in three movements long before the appearance of those of Paradies. In some of the movements in binary form Paradies shows an advance on Scarlatti (see Nos. 1 and 10), for in the second section there is a return, after modulation, to the principal theme. Some have the theme in the dominant key at the commencement of that section, others not. Thus we see various stages represented in these sonatas. The music is delightfully fresh, and, from a technical point of view, interesting. The influence of Scarlatti both in letter and spirit is strongly felt. In some of the movements (cf. first movement of No. 8 and of No. 12) there is a feature which Paradies did not inherit from Scarlatti, i.e. the so-called Alberti bass. Of such a bass Scarlatti gives only slight hints. Alberti, said to have been its inventor, was a contemporary of Paradies, and the latter may have learnt the trick from him: there are many examples of its use. In Alberti, "VIII Sonate Opera Prima,"[72] the opening Allegro of No. 2 has [Pg 110]it in forty-four of the forty-six bars of which it consists, and, besides, each section is repeated. That convenient form of accompaniment soon came into vogue. It occurs frequently in the sonatas and concertos of J.C. Bach and Haydn, but it is in the works of second-rate composers that one sees the full use, or rather abuse, made of it. No. 8 of the Paradies sonatas is particularly attractive, and the second movement forms a not unpleasant reminiscence of Handel's so-called "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations.

[Pg 111]




This composer, to whom is given the name of "father of the symphony and the quartet," was born at Rohrau, a small Austrian village on the Leitha, in the night between 31st March and 1st April 1732. At a very early age the boy's sweet voice attracted the notice of G. Reuter, capellmeister of St. Stephen's, Vienna, and for many years he sang in the cathedral choir. In 1749 he was dismissed, the alleged cause being a practical joke played by him on one of his fellow-choristers. He was, as Sir G. Grove relates in his article "Haydn" in the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, thrown upon the world "with an empty purse, a keen appetite, and no friends." Haydn took up his abode in an attic in the old Michaelerhaus. But it chanced that Metastasio lived in the same building, and the famous poet took an interest in the penniless composer, and, among other things, taught him Italian. Metastasio was extremely fond of music, and we know from his letters that the flowing compositions of his countrymen [Pg 112]delighted him more than the learned music of Germany. Then Haydn made the acquaintance of Porpora, who gave him instruction in composition and in the art of singing. And he is also supposed to have studied the works of San Martini, an Italian composer in the service of Prince Esterhazy. In addition, Italian music was much played and much admired in Vienna. Emanuel Bach also, as we have seen, came under Italian influence, but not until he had finished his studies under his father's guidance. Once more, we may conclude that Haydn, before he commenced writing clavier sonatas, had made acquaintance with those of Paradies and of Alberti. These early Italian influences should be noted, for one is apt to think rather of the young composer as plodding through Fux's "Gradus" and playing Emanuel Bach's sonatas on his "little worm-eaten clavier." During his last years Haydn told his friend Griesinger that he had diligently studied Emanuel Bach, and that he owed very much to him. From the painter Dies, in his biographical notice of the master, we also learn how fond he was of playing Emanuel Bach's sonatas. And this influence was undoubtedly not only a strong, but a lasting one; in 1788, the year in which E. Bach died, Haydn wrote to Artaria, begging the latter to send him that master's last two works for clavier.

In reference to Haydn, musicians are apt to speak merely of his sonatas, whereas those of Beethoven are generally described by their key, or [Pg 113]their opus number; or as belonging to one of the three periods into which that master's art-work is usually divided. There is good reason for this difference. Haydn's sonatas are not of equal importance with those of his successor; and then some are old-fashioned, others second-rate. Beethoven's sonatas are by no means all of equal merit, yet there is not one but has some feature, whether of form, or development, or technique, by which it may be distinguished. And yet a close and careful study of Haydn's sonatas will show that he, too, had his periods of apprenticeship, mastery, and maturity. Let not our readers take alarm. We are not going to analyse his thirty-five sonatas, or to enter into minute details. But we shall try, by selecting some of the most characteristic works, to show how the master commenced, continued, and concluded.

The earliest of the published sonatas,[73] No. 1 (33), is somewhat of a curiosity. It consists of four movements: an Allegro in G major; a Minuetto and Trio, G major and minor; an Adagio in G minor; and an Allegro molto in G major. It is the only sonata of Haydn's which contains four movements. The plaintive Trio and the Scarlatti-like Finale are attractive.

In the year 1774, J.J. Hummel, at Amsterdam, published six sonatas, the last three of which [Pg 114]appear to have been originally written for pianoforte and violin;[74] and in 1776 six more were printed by Longman & Broderip as Op. 14. These may serve as specimens of Haydn's early style; and in them, by the way, the composer was accused of imitating, nay, caricaturing, E. Bach.

In the European Magazine for October 1784 there appeared an account of Joseph Haydn, "a celebrated composer of music," in which occurs the following:—

"Amongst the number of professors who wrote against our rising author was Philipp Emanuel Bach of Hamburgh (formerly of Berlin); and the only notice Haydn took of their scurrility and abuse was to publish lessons written in imitation of the several styles of his enemies, in which their peculiarities were so closely copied, and their extraneous passages (particularly those of Bach of Hamburgh) so inimitably burlesqued, that they all felt the poignancy of his musical wit, confessed its truth, and were silent."

Further on the writer mentions the sonatas of Ops. 13 and 14 as "expressly composed in order to ridicule Bach of Hamburgh"; nay, he points to the second part of the second sonata in Op. 13 and the whole of the third sonata in the same work by way of special illustration.

[Pg 115]

There are many resemblances to E. Bach in Haydn,—notes wide apart, pause bars, surprise modulations, etc.,—and this is not more extraordinary than to find resemblances between Mozart and Beethoven; but the charge of caricature seems unfair. Besides, it is scarcely likely that Haydn, who owed so much to Bach, would have done any such thing. It must be remembered that at the date of the European Magazine in question, E. Bach had not yet published any of the six Leipzig Collections ("Sonaten für Kenner," etc.), by which he is best known at the present day.

Of the six sonatas, Op. 13, the first three are Nos. 8 (26), 9 (27), 10 (28) in Pohl's thematic catalogue (Joseph Haydn, vol. ii.). The other three have not been reprinted in modern collections. In the first three the keys and order of movements are as follow:—

No. 1. Allegro moderato in C; Adagio, F; Finale, Presto.

No. 2. Allegro moderato in E; Andante, E minor; Finale, Tempo di Menuetto.

No. 3. Allegro moderato in F; Larghetto, E minor; Presto.

These sonatas are interesting as music, and the workmanship is skilful. If one can get over the thinness of the part-writing, especially in the slow movements, there is much to enjoy in them. The style of movement—Tempo di Menuetto—in No. 2 recalls Emanuel Bach's "Würtemberg" sonatas of 1745.

Here are the numbers of the sonatas of Op.[Pg 116] 14: 11 (20), 12 (21), 13 (22), 14 (23), 15 (24), 16 (25). And here are the keys and movements—

No. 1. Allegro con brio in G; Minuetto, G; Trio, G minor; Presto.

No. 2. Allegro moderato in E flat; Minuetto, E flat; Trio, E flat minor; Presto.

No. 3. Moderato in F; Adagio, B flat; Tempo di Menuetto.

No. 4. Allegro in A; Adagio; Tempo di Minuetto con Variazione.

No. 5. Moderato in E; Presto.

No. 6. Allegro moderato in B minor; Tempo di Minuetto; Presto.

During the eighteenth century, both in Italy and Germany, sonatas in two movements were common, but with Haydn the reduction in No. 5 probably was made on practical, and not artistic grounds. Schindler once asked Beethoven why he had only two movements to his Sonata in C minor (Op. 111), and the master replied—probably with a twinkle in his eye—that he had not had time for a third.

If these sonatas of 1776 be compared with earlier ones (1767), an immense improvement in the development sections will be observed. In the earliest but one of the master's sonatas—No. 2 (30)—the whole of the middle section is in the principal key. No. 4 (Op. 14) has all three movements connected,—a plan, as we have already seen, adopted by E. Bach in some of his sonatas. The sonata in question is in the key of A major. The Allegro ends with an arpeggio dominant [Pg 117]chord, and still in the same bar follows the dominant chord of the relative key of F sharp minor, leading directly to the Adagio; this movement, in its turn, closes on the dominant chord of A, the key, of course, of the final movement (Tempo di Minuetto con Variazioni).

In 1780 six sonatas were published by Artaria, and dedicated to the sisters Franziska and Marianne v. Auenbrugger. They are Nos. 20 (1), 21-24 (10-13), and 7 (14). No. 20 (1) is a bright little work. No. 21 (10) (C sharp minor) opens with an interesting movement.[75] The sonata ends with a beautiful Menuetto and Trio, in which the composer comes very near to Beethoven. The middle movement is a Scherzando, and thereby hangs a little tale. No. 24 (13) commences with the same theme. When Haydn sent the sonatas to his publisher he called attention to this resemblance, and, in fact, requested that it should be mentioned on the inner side of the title-page. And he added: "I could, of course, have chosen a hundred other ideas in place of this one; but in order not to run any risk of blame on account of this intentional trifle (which the critics, and especially my enemies, will regard in a bad light), I make this avertissement. Or please add some note of a similar kind, otherwise it may prove detrimental to the sale." No. 22 (11) has an opening Allegro in Haydn's brightest [Pg 118]manner. The short Largo is quaint and expressive; the ff chord of the Neapolitan sixth is of fine effect. The movement ends on the dominant chord, and thus leads without break to the lively Presto Finale. The concluding movement of the next sonata displays a crispness and vigour which remind one of Haydn's great successor. Already in connection with these six sonatas have we mentioned Beethoven. And from this period onwards the kinship between the two composers becomes more evident. Haydn, however, did not, like Beethoven, rise steadily higher and higher; great moments came, as it were, by fits and starts. He wrote in season and out of season; nulla dies sine linea seems to have been his motto. With Beethoven, a later work, unless it be one of his few pièces d'occasion, means a fuller revelation of his genius.

We will now pass on to the latest period, represented by two great sonatas, both in the key of E flat. The one was written for the composer's friend and patron, Frau v. Genziger. The opening Allegro shows earnest, deep feeling, while at the close of the recapitulation Haydn makes us feel the full power of his genius; the passage irresistibly recalls moments in the first movement of the "Appassionata"; those stately reiterated chords, those solemn pauses, have a touch of mystery about them. It is interesting to see how the second theme is evolved from the principal subject of the movement; by a slight modification [Pg 119]the character of the music is quite changed; what was stately is now light and graceful. The Adagio cantabile is one of the purest examples of a style of music which has become a thing of the past. The full and sustained tone of modern instruments has rendered unnecessary those turns, arpeggios, and numerous ornaments with which the composers of the last century tried to make amends for the fleeting tones of their harpsichords and clavichords. Haydn and Mozart were skilful in this art of embellishment, though sometimes it was unduly profuse; this Adagio of Haydn's is a model of sobriety. The bold minor section, which Frau v. Genziger, by the way, found rather troublesome to play, offers an effective contrast to the major. A graceful Tempo di Menuetto brings the work to an effective close. The other Sonata in E flat[76] is much more difficult to play. The writing is fuller, and it contains passages which even a modern pianist need not disdain. It is really strange that the sonata is not sometimes heard at the Popular Concerts. In the opening Allegro the exposition section contains more than the two orthodox themes, and the development [Pg 120]section assumes considerable magnitude; the latter is full of clever details and bold modulations. The key of the Adagio is E major, but this is of course the enharmonic equivalent of F flat. Brahms, in his last Sonata for Violoncello and Pianoforte in F, has the slow movement in F sharp. This has been spoken of as a novelty, yet Haydn, as we see, had already made the experiment; and similar instances may be found in Schubert and Beethoven, though not in their pianoforte sonatas. The Finale Presto reminds one by the style of writing, and by a certain quaint humour, of Emanuel Bach; but there are some bold touches—sforzandos on unaccented beats, prolongation of phrases, long dwelling on one harmony, etc.—which anticipate Beethoven. Traces of the past, foreshadowings of the future; these are familiar facts in evolution.


Before Mozart had reached the age of twenty he wrote six sonatas for a certain Baron Dürnitz, who, by the way, forgot to send the promised payment in return. Of these, Otto Jahn remarks that "their healthy freshness and finished form entitle them still to be considered as the best foundation for a musical education." Freshness is indeed the best term to describe both the thematic material and the developments. Four of them (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5) consist of the usual three movements; No. 4 commences with a long[Pg 121] Adagio in two sections, each of which is repeated. Two graceful Minuets (the second taking the place of a Trio) follow, and the third movement is an Allegro in sonata-form. No. 6 has for its second movement a Rondeau en Polonaise, and for its third, a Theme with variations. The Rondo of No. 3 (in B flat) is unusually long; it contains two episodes, one in the relative minor, the other in the subdominant. The next three sonatas (in C, A minor, and D) are of greater importance. They are all said to have been written at Mannheim. The first was most probably the one mentioned in a letter of 1777 written by Mozart to his father. He describes a public concert given on the 22nd of October, and says: "Then I played alone the last Sonata in D, then my Concerto in B flat, then a Fugue in C minor, and a splendid Sonata in C major out of my own head, with a Rondo at the end." The "last Sonata in D" was the last of the set of six noticed above. In reference to the Sonata in C, the expression "out of my own head" would seem to indicate that it had not at that time been written out. Mozart was right to speak of the work as "splendid." The bold opening subject, the well-contrasted second theme, the short but masterly development, the original leading back to the principal subject, and the many variations in the recapitulation section, fully justify his qualification. The slow movement is full of charm, and the Rondo, with its elaborate middle section, is of the [Pg 122]highest interest. The 2nd Sonata, in A minor, is, next to the one in C minor, Mozart's finest effort in this department of musical literature. And there is a story connected with it. Capellmeister Cannabich's eldest daughter Rosa had captivated the young composer; he wrote to his father about her, and described her as "a pretty, charming girl," and added, "she has a staid manner and a great deal of sense for her age (the young lady was only thirteen); she speaks but little, and when she does speak, it is with grace and amiability." On the very next day after his arrival in Mannheim he began to write this sonata for her. The Allegro was finished in one day. Young Danner, the violinist, asked him about the Andante, and Mozart replied: "I mean to make it exactly like Mdlle. Rose herself." This was the picture to which he worked. One of Beethoven's finest sonatas, the C sharp minor, was inspired by a beautiful girl: a strong appeal to the emotions calls forth a composer's best powers. Mozart's first movement was written on 31st October, and the Rondo on 8th November. The Allegro maestoso presents many points of interest. The opening theme with its dotted motive is prominent throughout the movement; the transition passage to the key of the relative major is based on it, and so is the coda to the exposition section. Again, in the development and recapitulation sections it forms a striking feature, while in the final coda it is intensified by reiteration of [Pg 123]the dotted figure, and also by the rise from the dominant to the tonic. The slow movement, with its expressive themes, graceful ornamentation, and bold middle section, was not surpassed by Mozart even in his C minor Sonata. The Presto closes the work in worthy manner; it forms a contrast to the first movement, and yet is allied to it in sentiment. The passionate outburst at the close, with the repeated E's, seems almost a reminiscence of the Allegro theme. There are two features in the development section of that movement which point to Beethoven: the one is the augmentation in the seventh bar of the quaver figure in the two preceding bars; the other, the phrase containing the shake which is evolved from an earlier one by curtailment of its first note. The 3rd Sonata, though in many ways attractive, will not bear comparison with the other two. In 1779, at Vienna, Mozart composed, among other sonatas, the beautiful one in A major,—the first example, perhaps, of a sonata commencing with a theme and variations. This first movement is very charming, but the gem of the work is the delicate Menuetto; the Trio speaks in tender, regretful tones of some happy past. The Alla Turca is lively, but not far removed from the commonplace.

From among the symphonies of Mozart, the three (in G minor, E flat, and C) which he wrote in 1788 stand out with special prominence; and so, from the sonatas, do the three in A minor (1778), C minor (1784), and F (1788). In the [Pg 124]first, as regards the writing, virtuosity asserts itself, and in the third, contrapuntal skill; but in the second, the greatness of music makes us forget the means by which that greatness is achieved. The Sonatas in A minor and F are wonderful productions, yet they stand a little lower than the C minor. The nobility and earnestness of the last-named give it a place near to Beethoven's best sonatas. We might say equal, were it not that the writing for the instrument is comparatively thin; however noble the ideas, they are but inadequately expressed. This C minor Sonata is remarkable for its originality, simplicity, and unity; Mozart possessed qualities which mark creative art of the highest kind. In writing some of his pianoforte sonatas, he had the public, or pupils, more or less in his mind; and though he did not become a mere sonata-maker, like some of his contemporaries, his whole soul was not always in his work; of this the inequalities in his music give evidence. In some movements (especially the closing ones) of the sonatas, the subject-matter is often trivial, and the passage-writing commonplace. The silkworm produces its smooth, regular ball of silk without effort, and in like manner Mozart could turn out Allegros, Rondos, sets of variations à discretion. The Sonata in C minor, to our thinking, is the only one in which he was entirely absorbed in his art; the only one in which the ideal is never marred by the real. The last movement is no mere Rondo, but one which [Pg 125]stands in close relationship to the opening Allegro; they both have the same tragic spirit; both seem the outpouring of a soul battling with fate. The slow movement reveals Mozart's gift of melody and graceful ornamentation, yet beneath the latter runs a vein of earnestness; the theme of the middle section expresses subdued sadness. The affinity between this work and Beethoven's sonata (Op. 10, No. 1) in the same key is very striking.

Mozart composed his C minor Sonata towards the end of the year 1784. The C minor Fantasia, which precedes it in some editions, was not written until the middle of 1785. The two, however, were published together by Mozart himself. It is impossible to consider this a new experiment in sonata-form, as regards grouping of movements; the unity of character and feeling between Fantasia and Sonata no doubt led to their juxtaposition. The Fantasia is practically complete in itself; so too is the Sonata. The two are printed separately in Breitkopf & Härtel's edition of Mozart's works.

Haydn and Mozart represent an important stage in sonata history: they stand midway between Emanuel Bach and Beethoven. It is usual to look upon Bach as the founder, Haydn and Mozart as the builders-up, and Beethoven as the perfecter of the sonata edifice. Such a summing-up is useful in that it points to important landmarks in the evolution of the sonata; yet it is only a rough-and-ready one. Bach was something more than a founder, while[Pg 126] Beethoven, to say the least, shook the foundations of the edifice. Haydn and Mozart would seem to be fairly described, for traces of scaffolding are all too evident in their works, yet they found the building already raised. Some of it, however, appeared to them in rococo style, and so they gradually rebuilt. And they not only altered, but enlarged and strengthened. Of rebuilding and alteration, their slow movements and finales give evidence; and of enlargement, all the three sections of movements in so-called sonata-form. Their subject-matter, as it grew in importance, grew in compass. This in itself, of course, enlarged the exposition section; but the transition passage from first to second theme, and the rounding-off of the section, both grew in proportion. The joints, too, of the structure were strengthened: the half cadence no longer sufficed to divide first from second subject, or, after development, to return to the principal theme; then, again, the wider scope of the development itself demanded more striking harmonies, more forcible figuration, and more varied cadences.

The subject-matter, we have said, became more important; it differed also in character. The themes of Emanuel Bach, for the most part, seem to be evolved from harmonic progressions and groupings of notes; those of his successors, rather the source whence springs melody and figuration. The one uttered broken phrases; the others, complete musical sentences. Italian fashion prevailed [Pg 127]during the second half of the eighteenth century much as it did in the first. The simple charm and warmth of the music of the violin-composers had penetrated the contrapuntal crust which covered Emanuel Bach's heart; and the feeling that he could never hope to rival his father must have rendered him all the more willing to yield to it. But the influence of his father could not be wholly cast aside, and Emanuel was, as it were, drawn in opposite directions; it is really wonderful what he actually achieved. True lovers of John Sebastian Bach know well that his music, though of a contrapuntal character, is by no means dry; but the formal aspect of it must have made its mark on the son ere he could feel the power, and realise the splendour of his father's genius.

Haydn and Mozart, on the other hand, were born and bred in the very midst of Italian music. Of Haydn's early days we have already spoken, and those of Mozart were not unsimilar. Otto Jahn, in his life of that composer, says of the father Leopold, that "his ideas were firmly rooted in the traditions of Italian music"; so firmly, indeed, that he could not appreciate the mild innovations of a Gluck. This paternal influence was deepened, besides, by Mozart's early visits to Italy.

Then, again, so far as we can make out, the clavier compositions of John Sebastian Bach, and, especially the "Well-tempered Clavier," were unknown both to Haydn and Mozart in their days of childhood and early manhood. What a difference in [Pg 128]the case of Beethoven, who, it will be remembered, could play the greater number of the forty-eight Preludes and Fugues before he was twelve years of age! The beauty of Italian music not only impressed Haydn and Mozart, but kindled their creative faculties; while its simple, rhythmical character probably aided them materially in giving utterance to their thoughts and feelings. Nature had bestowed on them in rich measure the gift of melody, and they soon began to compose.

Emanuel Bach, we have said, was drawn in two opposite directions. Haydn and Mozart, though they were spared this dual influence, had, however, to face a difficulty. They found a form ready to hand, yet one which, as we have attempted to show, required modifications of various kinds. The former had to make the old fit in with the new; but the latter, the new with the old. Hence their inspiration was handicapped. They were to some extent constructing as well as creating; and then their sense of order, balance, and proportion was so strong, that they often turned out movements more remarkable for their clearness of form than for the strength of their contents.

Mozart profited by Haydn's early attempts, and his best sonatas are vastly superior to most of Haydn's. After Mozart's death, and even for some years before, Haydn seemed to have caught much of the spirit of the younger composer. He showed this especially in his London [Pg 129]symphonies, but also in one or two of his later sonatas. "This mutual reaction," says Jahn, "so generously acknowledged by both musicians, must be taken into account in forming a judgment on them."

Haydn, though fully conscious of his own powers, practically acknowledged the superiority of his brother-artist. On learning of Mozart's death, he exclaimed: "Posterity will not see such talent for a century to come!"—a prophecy which, at the time it was uttered, seemed likely of fulfilment.

[Pg 130]



I. Muzio Clementi

Muzio Clementi, born at Rome in 1752, was brought to England by Alderman Beckford, father of the author of Vathek, and at Fonthill Abbey he had leisure to study the works of Handel, John Sebastian Bach, Emanuel Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, and Paradies. Clementi, like Scarlatti, was a virtuoso; but although both indulged largely in technical display, they were true and intelligent artists. In Scarlatti, the balance between his musical ideas and the form in which they were presented was almost perfect; in Clementi, virtuosity often gained the ascendency over virtue. With the latter, however, as indeed with E. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and many other composers, the necessity of earning a living, and therefore of writing for "long" ears, mixed with the love of fame, produced works which, like the old Eden tree, contained both good and evil. To judge such great men really fairly, the chaff ought to be separated from the wheat; and the [Pg 131]chaff ought to be thoroughly removed, even at the risk of sometimes losing a portion of wheat.

To the true lover of music, choice selections are more precious than complete collections; the latter are, of course, necessary to those whose business it is to study the rise and development of the various composers. The pianoforte sonatas of Mozart, Haydn, Dussek, and Clementi might be reduced to very moderate compass. To suggest that any one of Beethoven's thirty-two should be removed out of its place would now sound flat blasphemy; but art progresses, and some even now are falling into oblivion. The catalogue of music performed at the Popular Concerts during the history of the past thirty-five years shows pretty clearly which sonatas of Beethoven are likely to live long, and which not. But to return to Clementi. He published his first three sonatas (Op. 2, Nos. 1-3) in 1770, the year in which Beethoven was born; and the influence which he exerted over that master was considerable. In Beethoven's library were to be found many sonatas of Clementi, and the master's predilection for them is well known. The world seldom renders full justice to men who prepared the way for greater than themselves; Pachelbel, Böhm, and Buxtehude, the immediate predecessors of Bach, and, again, Emanuel Bach, to whom Haydn was so indebted, and whose works were undoubtedly studied by Beethoven, are notable examples. This is, of course, perfectly natural: the best only survives; but musicians who [Pg 132]take serious interest in their art ought, from time to time, to look back and see how much was accomplished and suggested by men who, in comparison with their mighty contemporaries and successors, are legitimately ranked as second-rate. Among such, Clementi holds high place. Beethoven over-shadowed the Italian composer; but the harsh judgment expressed by Mozart[77] has contributed not a little, we imagine, to the indifference now shown to the Clementi sonatas.[78] The judgment was a severe one; but Otto Jahn relates how Clementi told his pupil Berger that, "at the period of which Mozart writes, he devoted his attention to brilliant execution, and in particular to double runs and extemporised passages." And, again, Berger himself was of opinion that the sonata selected for performance by Clementi at the memorable contest with Mozart in presence of the Emperor Joseph the Second (December 1781), was decidedly inferior to his earlier compositions of the same kind. The sonata in question was the one in B flat (B. & H., No. 61; Holle, No. 37), of which the opening theme commences in the same manner as the Allegro of the Overture to the Magic Flute. Mozart suffered much from the predominant Italian influence at court, and the[Pg 133] "like all the Italians" in the letter just mentioned shows, to say the least, a bitter spirit. But the letter was a private one, probably hastily written. The judgment expressed was formed from an inferior work; in any case, it must not be taken too seriously. Mozart, by the way, was not the only composer who failed to render justice to his contemporaries.

Clementi's sonatas may be roughly divided into three classes. Some he wrote merely for the display of technique, while some were composed for educational purposes. But there remain others in which his heart and soul were engaged, and in these he reaches a very high level. Our classification is a rough one, for often in those which we consider his best, there is plenty of showy technique. With the exception of Mozart's sonata in C minor, and Haydn's "Genziger" and "London" sonatas, both in E flat, also some of Rust's, of which we shall soon have something to say, there are, to our thinking, none which in spirit come nearer to Beethoven than some of Clementi's. Mr. E. Dannreuther, in his article on the composer in Sir George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, justly remarks "that a judicious selection from his entire works would prove a boon."

In order to trace the relationship between Clementi and Beethoven, it may be well to state that Clementi in 1783 had published up to Op. 11 (Sonata and Toccata; the Toccata, by the way, is not included in the Breitkopf & Härtel [Pg 134]edition; it appeared first, we believe, together with the sonata, in a London edition. Beethoven's first sonatas (Op. 2) appeared only in 1796).[79] By 1802, Clementi had published up to Op. 40; in which year Beethoven composed two of the three sonatas, Op. 31, Nos. 1-3. Between 1820-21 appeared Clementi's sonata, Op. 46 (dedicated to Kalkbrenner), and the last set of three sonatas in (including the "Didone Abbandonata") Op. 50. Beethoven's sonata in E (Op. 109) appeared in November 1821. Thus Clementi at first influenced Beethoven, but, later on, the reverse must have been the case.

Breitkopf & Härtel have published sixty-four sonatas of Clementi; and of these, sixty-three are to be found in the Holle edition.[80]

The three sonatas, Op. 2, Nos. 1, 2, 3 (25, 26, 27), have only two movements, and are principally remarkable for their showy technique.[81]

[Pg 135]

Clementi, of course, was well acquainted with Scarlatti's music, yet it would perhaps be difficult to point out any direct influence of the one over the other. In the next three sonatas, Op. 9, Nos. 4, 5, 6 (11, 28, 12), the first and third are most interesting. In the second, Clementi indulges in his favourite passages of thirds, sixths, and octaves; there is, indeed, a Presto movement, a moto perpetuo for the right hand, in octaves, which, if taken up to time, would tax even pianists of the present day. The 1st sonata may be noticed for its bold chords, and its sforzandos on unaccented beats, which sound Beethovenish. The 3rd sonata reminds us in many ways of the Bonn master. In the opening Allegro there is a sighing figure—

sighing figure

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which plays an important part throughout the movement, and therefore gives a marked character to it. In the development section the bold contrasts, the powerful chords, the sighing figure in augmentation, all point to Beethoven. And, curiously enough, the principal theme, which now appears in major (the sonata is in G minor), reminds one very strongly of the "Eroica"—

Clementi sonata principal theme

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It is worth noticing that the "sighing figure" may be traced in the other two movements of the [Pg 136]sonata. The next sonata, No. 10 (44), has three movements, all in the same key; the Trio of the Minuet is in the key of the subdominant. In the first movement may be noticed the extension of a phrase by repetition (pp) of its last two notes, a feature often to be met with in Beethoven (see, for instance, the first movement of the "Appassionata," development section).

The piano phrase in the Rondo of No. 11 (45), before the organ point and the pause bar, is striking. No. 14 (2) is interesting. The broken octaves at the end of the exposition section, and the return by ellipsis to the principal theme, call to mind passages in Beethoven's Op. 22 and Op. 109. Sonata No. 16 (4) has a delightful first movement; the evolution of the second subject from the first deserves attention. In No. 18 (51) there is one point to notice. The key of the first movement is in F, but the principal theme in the recapitulation section appears in E flat; the second theme, however, according to rule, in the tonic.

Sonata No. 19 (52), in F minor, demands more than a passing word. Our readers will, perhaps, be tired of our noticing foreshadowings of Beethoven, yet we must add others here. We can assure them, however, or rather those who are not familiar with Clementi's sonatas, that the passages to which we call attention only form a small proportion of those to which we might refer. The first movement (Allegro agitato) is concise; there [Pg 137]is no padding. Every bar of the exposition section may be termed thematic. The second subject, in the orthodox relative major, is evolved from the principal theme. And the latter descends, but the former ascends—a true Beethoven contrast. The coda to the first section, with its working of a thematic figure in augmentation, forms a striking feature. At the close of the development section a long dignified dominant passage seems a preparation for the return of the principal theme, but the composer has a surprise; after a pause bar, the second theme appears, and in A flat. A modulation soon leads back to F minor, and quite in Beethoven fashion—

Clementi Sonata 19

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and the exposition coda is repeated in extended form. In the next movement (Largo e sostenuto) sombre tones still prevail; the key is that of the dominant minor. There is evident kinship between the first and last movements; of this the opening bar of the former and the closing bars of the latter offer signal proof.

In No. 23 (43) at the end of the last movement, an organ point reminds us that the full intentions of the composer are not recorded. Thus, in Clementi's early sonatas at any rate, the inter[Pg 138]preter, as in E. Bach's works, was expected to make additions. In No. 26 (7) the opening of the theme of the Arietta recalls, and in no vague manner, the opening of the Finale of Beethoven's Septet. No. 34 (8) is an excellent sonata; there is considerable freedom in the recapitulation section. In No. 39 (35) Clementi returns to an old form of sonata: there are only two movements, a Larghetto and Tempo di Minuetto, and both in the same key. With sonata No. 41 (32), the first of two published as Op. 34, Clementi breaks new ground. The idea of incorporating the subject-matter of an introductory slow movement had already occurred to Haydn,[82] but Clementi goes to greater lengths. (It must not be forgotten that Beethoven's "Sonate Pathétique," Op. 13, appeared in 1799; possibly, before Clementi's.) From the opening characteristic subject of the Largo is evolved the principal subject of the Allegro con fuoco, and there is also relationship between it and the second subject. In the unusually long development section, a dramatic passage, evolved from the concluding bars of the Largo, leads to a slow section in which the opening notes of the Largo are given out in loud tones, and in the unexpected key of C major (the three repeated sforzando crotchets remind one of the "fate" notes in the C minor Symphony); and when the Tempo primo is resumed, the

[Pg 139]

Clementi sonata 41

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also reminds one of

Beethoven C minor symphony

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in the same movement of the above-mentioned Symphony. Then, again, in an important coda the theme is given out in modified, yet intensified form. In the Finale of the sonata the Largo still makes its influence felt. Exception may perhaps be taken to the length of the first movement, and to the prominence throughout the work, of the principal key; but the evident desire of the composer to express something which was inwardly moving him gives great interest to the music.

The sonata in B minor, Op. 40, is one of Clementi's most finished productions. The name of Beethoven must again be mentioned; for depth of meaning, boldness, style of development, and gradation of interest, the music comes within measurable distance of the greater master. Not only is there no padding, but here the technique serves a higher purpose than that of display; there are no formal successions of thirds, sixths, or octaves, no empty bravoura passages. The long development section of the first movement, with its bold contrasts, its varied presentation of thematic material, its peculiar mode of dealing with fragments of a theme, and its long dwelling on dominant [Pg 140]harmony previous to the return of the principal theme,—all these things remind one of Beethoven. This movement is followed by a Largo (mesto e patetico) leading to the final Allegro. These two are intimately connected; and, moreover, the latter includes reminiscences from the introductory Adagio. After a brief reference to the Largo, the movement concludes with a passionate Presto coda. In Mr. Banister's Life of Macfarren we learn that the latter considered the B minor of Clementi "one of the finest sonatas ever written"; and many musicians will, probably, agree with him.

Of the three last sonatas (Op. 50, Nos. 1, 2, and 3), it must be remembered that when they appeared Beethoven had published up to Op. 106, and possibly Op. 109. If, then, in some of the earlier Clementi sonatas we spoke of his influence on Beethoven, it is just the reverse here. Nevertheless, of these sonatas which must have been known to that master, one may have led him to think again of the idea of revealing the poetic basis of his sonatas.[83] Clementi gives the title, "Didone Abbandonata: Scena Tragica" to his work. The introductory Largo is sostenuto e patetico, while the Allegro which follows bears the superscription, deliberando e meditando; the Adagio is dolente; and the Allegro Finale, agitato e con disperazione. The music expresses throughout the sorrow and despair of the forsaken queen, while certain wild passages (as for example the coda of the [Pg 141]first Allegro) tell also of her anger. This Allegro is an admirably sustained movement, and, at moments, the composer rises to the height of his argument. It is interesting, too, from a technical point of view, for there is no empty display. Whatever degree of inspiration may be accorded to the music, it will surely be acknowledged that the composer was full of his theme; that all his powers of head and heart were engaged in the task of illustration. This "Dido" sonata, of course, suffers if compared with those of Clementi's great contemporary; and some of the writing is formal and old-fashioned, and, at times, too thin to attract the sympathy or to excite the interest of pianists of the present day, who enjoy the richer inheritance of Beethoven, the romantic tone-pictures of Schumann and Brahms, the fascinating miniatures of Chopin, and the clever glitter of Liszt. Still it does not deserve utter oblivion. Hear what Fr. Rochlitz says of it in the Allg. Mus. Zeit.: "It (the sonata) is indeed a tragic scene, one so clearly thought out and so definitely expressed, that it is by no means difficult—not only in each movement, but in its various divisions—to follow literally the course of changing feeling which is here developed."

Schindler, with regard to the work, also remarks as follows: "Who understands nowadays how to interpret this musical soul-picture (written unfortunately in old stereotyped sonata-form!)? At best, glancing hastily over it, a pianist carelessly [Pg 142]remarks that the poetical contents of this sonata are only expressed in the title." And again: "In the year 1827, at Baden, near Vienna, Clementi gave me details respecting the contents and interpretation of this tone-poem. A new edition of the work by J. André of Offenbach enabled me to insert a preface with the explanations of the veteran master."[84] And further, as a tone-picture expressing states of the soul, he knows "of no other work entitled sonata more worthy of a place beside those of Beethoven."

II. Johann Ludwig Dussek

This composer comes next to Clementi, in order of time, and, we may add, of merit. His natural gifts really exceeded those of Clementi; but the latter made a deep study of his art, and also of the pianoforte, to which, indeed, like Chopin, he devoted his whole attention. Dussek was fond of ease and pleasure, and never developed his powers to the full. It may be noted that both these celebrated pianists were connected with English music-publishing houses. Clementi prospered, though not in his first undertaking with Longman & Broderip; but Dussek was unsuccessful, and left England, so it is said, to avoid his creditors. There is, indeed, a letter written by Dussek from Hamburg, dated 12th June, 1801, to Clementi, and apart from the curious spectacle of these two pianists in commercial [Pg 143]correspondence with each other, the letter is of interest, in that it belongs to a period of Dussek's life concerning the details of which there is some uncertainty.[85] Dussek, it may be mentioned, does [Pg 144]not ever appear to have returned to London. In 1803 he became attached to Prince Louis Ferdinand, to whom he offered advice in pianoforte playing and composition. There is another letter extant of Dussek's written in the same year in which that Prince fell on the battlefield of Saalfeld (13th October, 1806), and this also we will give, as we believe, like the one above, it has never been published.[86] The catalogue of Dussek's [Pg 145]works, in Sir G. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, mentions three quartets for strings (Op. 60: in G, B flat, and E flat), most probably the works referred to in the second letter.

Dussek, born in the year 1761, studied first with his father J.J. Dussek, and in his twenty-second year received further instruction from Emanuel Bach; he soon enjoyed great fame as an executant. Tomaschek, himself a pianist of note, thus speaks of him in his autobiography:—

"There was, in fact, something magical about [Pg 146]the way in which Dussek, with all his charming grace of manner, through his wonderful touch, extorted from the instrument delicious and at the same time emphatic tones. His fingers were like a company of ten singers, endowed with equal executive powers, and able to produce with the utmost perfection whatever their director could require. I never saw the Prague public so enchanted as they were on this occasion by Dussek's splendid playing. His fine declamatory style, especially in cantabile phrases, stands as the ideal for every artistic performance—something which no other pianist has since reached."

The above quotation refers to a concert given at Prague in 1804.

There is, unfortunately, great confusion in the opus numbers of Dussek's works; and, moreover, it is difficult, if not impossible, to give the dates either of composition or publication. Breitkopf & Härtel have published more than fifty sonatas, but we shall only refer to some of the more important ones. Dussek, like all the prominent composers of his time, not even excepting Haydn and Mozart, wrote music on a practical, rather than on a poetical basis; one of the letters given above acknowledges this in very frank terms. But to Dussek's credit be it said, his least valuable works are masterpieces as compared with those which the sonata-makers, Steibelt, Cramer, and others, fabricated by the hundred. In Dussek we find great charm and refinement, while the writing [Pg 147]for the instrument is often highly attractive; but the art of developing themes was certainly not his strong point. That he was at times careless or indifferent may be seen from such a bar as the following (Op. 47, No. 1, Litolff ed.; Adagio, bar 9):—

Dussek op. 47

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The bar before the return of the principal theme in the Allegro of the sonata in E flat (Op. 75) furnishes another instance. Again, in the Allegro of the sonata in A flat, known as "Le Retour à Paris," there is a passage (commencing fifteen bars before the end of the exposition section) which, with slight alteration, might have been materially improved.

Of the early sonatas, Op. 10, No. 2, in G minor, is an interesting work. It consists of two well-contrasted movements: an Adagio in binary, and a Vivace in sonata form. Of the Presto of Op. 10, No. 3, Professor Prout, in his interesting article, Dussek's Pianoforte Sonatas,[87] says: "Both the first and second principal subjects remind us irresistibly of that composer (Mendelssohn), while the phrase at the conclusion of the first part, repeated at the end of the movement, is almost identical with a well-known passage in the first movement of the[Pg 148] 'Scotch Symphony.' Is the coincidence accidental, or did Mendelssohn know the sonata, and was he unconsciously influenced by it?"

In his three last sonatas (Op. 70, 75, and 77), Dussek rises to a very high level; he was undoubtedly influenced by the earnestness of Beethoven, the chivalric spirit of Weber, and the poetry of Schubert. A new era had set in. These three composers were neither the fools of princes nor the servants of the public: they were in the world, yet not of it. They looked upon their art as a sacred thing; and most probably the shallowness of much of the music produced in such abundance towards the close of the eighteenth century spurred them on to higher efforts. Dussek had lived an irregular, aimless sort of life; he had wandered from one country to another, and had acquired the ephemeral fame of the virtuoso. Perhaps he was a disappointed man; there is a tinge of sadness about these last sonatas which supports such a view. Perhaps a feeling that his life was ebbing away made him serious: his music now shows no trifling. Explain it as you may, Dussek's three last contributions to sonata literature rank amongst the best of his day; and the indifference now shown to them—so far, at least, as the concert platform is concerned—is proof of ignorance, or bad taste. We say ignorance, because the rising generation has few, if any, opportunities of hearing this composer's music. It is eighteen years since his Op. 70 was given at the Popular Concerts; [Pg 149]while twenty-three and twenty-nine years have passed since Op. 75 and Op. 77 have been played there.

The sonata in A flat, entitled "Le Retour à Paris," is known in England as "Plus Ultra," and in an old edition it is dedicated to "Non plus Ultra." The latter was meant for Woelfl, a famous pianist and contemporary. His music is now forgotten, and his name is principally remembered in connection with Beethoven; like the latter, his talent for improvisation was great. The late J.W. Davidson, in his long and interesting preface to Brewer & Co.'s edition of Dussek's A flat sonata, leads us to believe that Dussek's publisher, and not the composer himself, was responsible for the change of title to "Plus Ultra." The opus number, too, was changed from 70 to 71. The following story is also told by Davidson in a preface contributed by him to the Brewer edition of the Woelfl sonata:—"Who will play it?" asked the publisher (Well), looking through the music of the composer. "I vill it blay," replied Woelfl. "Yes, but you won't buy the copies. No one but yourself or Dussek can play the Allegro, and I doubt if either of you can play the variations." Woelfl, however, sitting down before an old harpsichord, convinced the publisher of his error. "What shall we call it?" asked Well. "Call it 'Ne plus Ultra,'" said Woelfl, rubbing his hands with joy, and adding, "Now shall we see if Herr von Esch vill more blay, or Herr Bomdembo make de variation."

[Pg 150]

Dussek's "Plus Ultra" (Op. 70) is justly admired; the music is fine, and in the matter of technique, setting aside a few sensational passages[88] in Woelfl's sonata, which his very long fingers enabled him to execute with comparative ease, far surpassed the earlier work. It must appear strange to many musicians who do not possess a copy of Woelfl's sonata, that, in any mention of the rivalry between the two composers, no reference is made to Woelfl's sonata beyond the title. An examination of the latter, however, would soon solve the mystery. The plain fact is this: both the music and even the technique are now absolutely uninteresting. The sonata, in the key of F major, commences with a brief introductory Adagio, followed by a long, tedious Allegro abounding in passages of thirds. A brief Andante comes between this Allegro and the Finale, consisting of flimsy variations on the popular melody "Life let us Cherish." In a book of small compass such as the present one, we only wish to dwell upon matters of interest. For some particular purpose Woelfl's sonatas might possibly prove of importance and even interest; but not here. The "Non plus Ultra," so far as we are concerned, may serve to remind us that Woelfl once lived; while the rest [Pg 151]of his music, like some incidents in his life, may be consigned to oblivion. We cannot say that we have read all his sonatas, but enough of them, we believe, to judge, generally, of their contents.

Professor Macfarren's opinion of Dussek, as composer for the pianoforte, in the Imperial Dictionary of Biography, is so excellent, that we cannot perhaps do better than quote his words:—

"The immense amount of Dussek's compositions for the pianoforte have by no means equal merit; many of them were written for the mere object of sale, still more for the purpose of tuition, and some with the design of executive display. Of those which were produced, however, in the true spirit of art, expressing the composer's feelings in his own unrestrained ideas, there exist quite enough to stamp him one of the first composers for his instrument; and while these are indispensable in the complete library of the pianist, they are above value to the student in the development of his mechanism and the formation of his style. A strong characteristic of the composer is his almost redundant profusion of ideas;[89] but his rich fecundity of invention is greatly counterbalanced by diffuseness of design, resulting from the want of that power of condensation by means of which greater interest is often given to less beautiful matter."

And then, again, in an analysis of a Dussek Quintet, he remarks that in that composer's works [Pg 152]we may trace "not only the origin of many of the most beautiful effects with which later writers have been accredited, but some of the identical ideas by which these very writers have made their way into popularity."

III. Friedrich Wilhelm Rust

During the years 1744-45 a young man named Johann Ludwig Anton Rust went to Leipzig to study jurisprudence and philosophy. But he was also musical, and played the violin at performances given under the direction of J.S. Bach. On returning to his home at Wörlitz, Rust tried to inspire those around him with enthusiasm for the music of Bach. With his younger brother, Friedrich Wilhelm, he was, at any rate, successful; for the latter, already at the age of thirteen, was able to play by heart the whole of the "Well-tempered Clavier." Later on, young Friedrich went to Halle to study law, and there not only made the acquaintance of Friedemann Bach, but, in return for attending to the correspondence of that gifted musician, he received from him instruction in composition, organ and clavier playing. Afterwards, at Potsdam, he continued his clavier studies under Emanuel Bach. Surely a finer training never fell to the lot of any pupil. Schumann recommends young musicians to make Bach their daily bread; and of that, Rust must have had full weight. But the list of his teachers is not yet exhausted; he went to Italy in 1765, and studied [Pg 153]the violin under Tartini. Rust composed operas, cantatas, concertos, and sonatas for violin,[90] and for pianoforte; the last-named, of which he wrote eight, now concern us.

The earliest, entitled "Sonata Erotica," was composed in 1775; this work, however, was not published until the year 1888 (edited by his grandson, Dr. Wilhelm Rust,[91] late cantor of St. Thomas'). It is the first of a series of works extraordinary in many ways—in form, subject-matter, developments, and technique. With regard to the last-named, there is something to say, and it had better be said at once. Dr. E. Prieger, in his interesting pamphlet, F.W. Rust: Ein Vorgänger Beethovens, remarks as follows:—"While the grandson, full of enthusiasm, threw his whole soul into the creations of his ancestor, he gave a reflection, in his edition, of the pictures which had been vividly formed in his mind." To accomplish this he has strengthened the writing, and, in some cases, modernised it. Dr. Prieger, who has seen some, if not all of the autographs, has assured us that "these additions only concern the exterior, and do not affect the fundamental, character of the work." This statement is, to a certain extent, satisfactory, and we receive it thankfully. But a great deal of the writing is far ahead of the age in which it was written; it [Pg 154]reminds one now of Weber, now of Schumann. Why, one may ask, did not the editor indicate the additions in smaller notes? Then it would have been possible to see exactly what the elder Rust had written, and what the younger Rust had added. At present one can only marvel at some of the writing, and long to know how much of it really belongs to the composer. It appears that Rust, as editor of his grandfather's work, had some intention of describing his editions, etc., but death, which frequently prevents the best intentioned plans, intervened.

The "Sonata Erotica" is noticeable, generally, for its charm, poetry, and spontaneity. The first movement, an Allegro moderato, is in sonata-form. The second, in the key of the relative minor, entitled Fantasie, has in it more of the spirit of Beethoven than of Emanuel Bach. The Finale is in rondo form; the middle section consists of a playful Duettino, containing free imitations.

The next sonata (1777), in D flat, opens with a graceful Allegretto, and closes with a Tempo di Minuetto, which, for the most part, points backward rather than forward. The slow movement, Adagio sostenuto, is, however, of a higher order than either of these. It has Beethovenish breadth and dignity, yet lacks the power of the Bonn master: those magic touches by which the latter makes us feel his genius, and secures gradation of interest up to the very close of a movement. This Adagio, however, were the date of its com[Pg 155]position unknown, might pass for a very clever imitation of Beethoven's style.

In 1784, Rust wrote two sonatas, one in F sharp minor, the other in B flat minor. The latter consists of three movements, and the music, especially in the Adagio in E flat minor, bears traces of the great Bach; still there are passages which sound more modern even in this very Adagio, which points so clearly to him as the source of inspiration. The modern element, however, admits of explanation, for Haydn and Mozart, at the time in which the sonata was written, had appeared in the musical firmament. But in the works we are about to mention, the composer suggests Beethoven, Weber, and even Schumann. In writing about Clementi, we were compelled frequently, and at the risk of wearying our readers, to call attention to foreshadowings of both the letter and spirit of Beethoven. The cases of Clementi and Rust, however, are not quite parallel. With the former it was mere foreshadowing; with exception of a few passages in which there was note resemblance between the two composers, the music still bore traces of Clementi's mode of thought and style of writing. But with Rust, there are moments in which it is really difficult to believe that the music belongs to a pre-Beethoven period.

The sonata[92] in D minor (1788) opens with a vigorous yet dignified Allegro; the graceful Adagio [Pg 156]is of eighteenth century type; it is in the key of the relative major, but closes on the dominant chord of D minor, leading without break to a final Allegro, full of interesting details. The movement concludes with an impressive poco adagio coda, in which Rust makes use of the principal theme of the opening movement. We will venture on one quotation, although a few bars, separated from the context, may convey only a feeble impression—

Rust, Sonata in D minor, poco adagio

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The sonata in D major, composed six years later, opens with an interesting Allegro. The second movement, in B minor, bears the superscription "Wehklage" (Lamentation). Rust's eldest son, a talented youth, who was studying [Pg 157]at Halle University, was drowned in the river Saale, 23rd March 1794. Matthisson, the "Adelaide" poet, sent to the disconsolate father a poem entitled "Todtenkranz für ein Kind," to which Rust sketched music, and on that sketch is based this pathetic movement, which sounds like some tone-poem of the nineteenth century. Here is the impressive coda:—

Rust, Sonata in D major, "Wehklage" movement

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[Pg 158]

There follows a dainty, old-fashioned Minuet, and a curious movement entitled "Schwermuth und Frohsinn" (Melancholy and Mirth);[93] though after the "Wehklage" these make little impression.

During four years (1792-96), Rust was occupied with a sonata in C minor and major. The work is a remarkable one. It opens with an energetic Recitativo in C minor, interrupted for a few bars by an Arioso Adagio in C major. Then comes a Lento in six-four time based on the celebrated Marlbrook song, a dignified movement containing, among other canonic imitations, one in the ninth. It leads by means of a stringendo bar to a brilliant Allegro con brio, a movement of which both the music and the technique remind one of Beethoven's bravoura style. A second section of the sonata commences with the recitative phrase of the opening of the work, only in A minor. This leads to a highly characteristic Andante, which Dr. Rust, the editor, in a preface to the published sonata, likens to the "mighty procession" in Lenau's Faust. The Finale consists of an animated Allegro, with a clever fugato by way of episode; there is still an Allegro maestoso, which, except for its length and the fact that it contains a middle section, Cantabile e religioso, we should call a long coda. The whole, evidently programme-[Pg 159]music, is a sonata worked out somewhat on Kuhnau lines.

Now, was Beethoven acquainted with Rust's music? Dr. Prieger, in the pamphlet mentioned above, remarks as follows:—"During the years 1807-27 Wilhelm Karl Rust (b. 1787, d. 1855), the youngest son of our master, was in Vienna, and had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Beethoven, who was pleased with his playing, and recommended him as teacher. Among Rust's lady pupils were Baroness Dorothea Ertmann and Maximiliane Brentano, both of whom belonged to Beethoven's most intimate circle of friends, and had been honoured by having works dedicated to them. The younger Rust was gifted with an extraordinary memory, and therefore it seems more than probable that he occasionally performed some of his father's works in that circle. On the other hand, we have Beethoven's energetic nature holding aloof from anything which might influence his own individuality."

There, in a few words, is the answer to our question. And it is about the only one we can ever hope to obtain. Rust was altogether a remarkable phenomenon, a musician born, as it were, out of due time. If Beethoven, as seems quite possible, was acquainted with his music, then Rust exerted an influence over the master quite equal to that of Clementi. It almost seems as if we ought to say, greater.

[Pg 160]



Bach's forty-eight Preludes and Fugues and Beethoven's thirty-two Sonatas tower above all other works written for the pianoforte; they were aptly described by the late Dr. Hans v. Bülow, the one as the Old, the other as the New Testament of musical literature. Each fresh study of them reveals new points of interest, new beauties; they are rich mines which it is impossible to exhaust. Bach seemed to have revealed all the possibilities of fugue-form; and the history of the last seventy years almost leads one to imagine that Beethoven was the last of the great sonata writers. To this matter, however, we will presently return. In speaking of the various composers from Kuhnau onwards, we have tried to show the special, also the earliest, influences acting on them; and we shall still pursue the same course with regard to Beethoven. When he went to Vienna in 1792 he found himself in the very centre of the musical world. Haydn, though past sixty years of age, was at the zenith of his fame; and Beethoven, for a time, studied under him. Mozart had died in [Pg 161]the previous year, so his name was still in everybody's mouth. The early works of Beethoven give strong evidence of the influence exerted over him by these two composers. Then Prince Lichnowsky, the friend and pupil of Mozart, and Baron van Swieten, the patron and friend of both Haydn and Mozart, were among the earliest to take notice of the rising genius and to invite him to their musical matinées and soirées; and one can easily guess what kind of music was performed on those occasions. But the little story of Beethoven remaining at van Swieten's house, after the guests had departed, in order to "send his host to bed with half a dozen of Bach's Fugues by way of Abendsegen" reminds us of another strong, and still earlier, influence. At Bonn, under the guidance of his master, Christian Gottlob Neefe, Beethoven was so well-grounded in the "Well-tempered Clavier," that already, at the age of twelve, he could play nearly the whole of it. But, if we are not mistaken, he also made early acquaintanceship with the sonatas of Emanuel Bach. For in 1773 Neefe published "Zwölf Klavier-Sonaten," which were dedicated to the composer just named. In the preface he says: "Since the period in which you, dearest Herr Capellmeister, presented to the public your masterly sonatas, worked out, too, with true taste, scarcely anything of a characteristic nature has appeared for this instrument.[94][Pg 162] Most composers have been occupied in writing Symphonies, Trios, Quartets, etc. And if now and then they have turned their attention to the clavier, the greater number of the pieces have been provided with an accompaniment, often of an extremely arbitrary kind, for the violin; so that they are as suitable for any other instrument as for the clavier." Then, later on, Neefe acknowledges how much instruction and how much pleasure he has received from the theoretical and practical works of E. Bach (we seem to be reading over again the terms in which Haydn expressed himself towards Bach). May we, then, not conclude that young Beethoven's attention was attracted to these "masterly sonatas," and also to those of his teacher Neefe? This is scarcely the moment to describe the Neefe sonatas.[95] In connection, however, with Beethoven, one or two points must be noticed. In the third of the three sonatas which Beethoven composed at the age of eleven, the last movement is entitled: Scherzando allegro ma non troppo, and twice in Neefe do we come across the heading, Allegro e scherzando (first set, No. 5, last movement; and second set, No. 1, also last movement). Then, again, No. 2 of the second set opens with a brief introductory Adagio, one, by the way, to some extent connected with the Allegro which follows.[Pg 163] In the 2nd of the above-mentioned Beethoven sonatas (the one in F minor) there is also a slow introduction; the young master, no mere imitator, anticipates his own "Sonate Pathétique," and repeats it in the body of the Allegro movement. Lastly, no one, we believe, can compare the Neefe variations with those of Beethoven in the 3rd sonata (in A) without coming to the conclusion that the pupil had diligently studied his teacher's compositions, which, we may add, were thoroughly sound, full of pleasing cantabile writing, and, at times, not lacking in boldness. Let us venture on one quotation of only four bars from Sonata 1, in G, of the second set of six: it is the opening of a short Adagio connecting the Allegro with an Allegro e scherzando—

Beethoven, Sonata 1 in G

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The enharmonic modulation from the second to the third bar reminds one of E. Bach, who was so fond of such changes; also of a similar one in the "Pathétique."

[Pg 164]

Beethoven wrote thirty-two sonatas, and in the following table the opus number of each work is given, also the date of its publication; some have a title, and the greater number a dedication:—

Sonata  PublishedDedicated to
Op. 2No. 1(F minor)1796.Haydn.
"No. 2(A)""
"No. 3(C.)""
Op. 7 (E flat)1797.Countess Babette Keglevics.
Op. 10No. 1(C minor)1798.Countess Browne.
"No. 2(F)""
"No. 3(D)""
Op. 13 (C minor, "Sonate Pathétique")1799. Prince Charles Lichnowsky
Op. 14No. 1(E)"Baroness Braun.
"No. 2(G)""
Op. 22 (B flat)1802.Count Browne.
Op. 26 (A flat)"Prince Charles Lichnowsky.
Op. 27No. 1(E flat)"Princess Liechtenstein.
"No. 2(C sharp minor)" Countess Giulietta Guicciardi.
Op. 28 (D)"Joseph de Sonnenfels.
Op. 31No. 1(G)1803. 
"No. 2(D minor)" 
"No. 3(E flat)1804. 
Op. 49No. 1(G minor)1805. 
"No. 2(G)" 
Op. 53 (C)"Count Waldstein.
Op. 54 (F)1806. 
Op. 57 (F minor)1807.Count Brunswick.
Op. 78 (F sharp)1810.Countess Theresa of Brunswick.
Op. 79 (G)"[Pg 165] 
Op. 81A (E flat; "Das Lebewohl, die Abwesenheit, das Wiedersehn")1811.Archduke Rudolph.
Op. 90 (E minor)1815.Count Moritz Lichnowsky.
Op. 101 (A)1817.Baroness Dorothea Ertmann.
Op. 106 (B flat)1819.Archduke Rudolph.
Op. 109 (E)1821.Maximiliane Brentano.
Op. 110 (A flat)1822. 
Op. 111 (C minor)1823.Archduke Rudolph.

The autograph of the last sonata does not bear any dedication, but, from a letter of Beethoven (1st June, 1823) to the Archduke, it is evident that it was intended for the latter.[96]

The fanciful name of "Moonlight" to Op. 27 (No. 2), the appropriate publisher's title of Op. 57, and the poetical superscriptions of Op. 81A, have, without doubt, helped those sonatas towards their popularity. It does not always happen that the most popular works of a man are his best; but these in question justly rank among Beethoven's finest productions. The last five sonatas are wonderful tone-poems; yet, with the exception, perhaps, of Op. 110, in A flat, as regards perfection of form and unity of conception, not one equals Op. 27 (No. 2), Op. 31 (No. 2), and Op. 57. Apart from any æsthetic considerations, the digital difficulties [Pg 166]of the last five sonatas prevent their becoming common property. The brilliant technique of Op. 53 has proved a special attraction to pianists, and it has therefore become widely known. With this one sonata Beethoven proved his superiority, even in the matter of virtuosity, over the best pianists of his day.

In order to be able to enter fully into the spirit of the music of great composers, it is necessary to know the history of their lives. Beethoven's is fairly well known. But it may be worth while to refer, briefly, to the principal men and women to whom the master dedicated his pianoforte sonatas.

Of the thirty-two, as will be seen from the above table, eight have no dedication.

In the year 1792 Beethoven left Bonn and went to Vienna. There he studied counterpoint under Haydn, yet the lessons proved unsatisfactory. But the fame and influence of the veteran master no doubt prompted the young artist to dedicate to him the three sonatas, Op. 2. The title-page of the oldest Vienna edition runs thus:—

Trois Sonates pour le Clavecin Piano-forte composées
et dediées
A Mr. Joseph Haydn Docteur en musique par
Louis van Beethoven.

There was perhaps more of sarcasm than respect in the "Docteur en musique"; Beethoven is related to have said that he had taken some lessons from Haydn, but had never learnt anything from him. Nevertheless he paid heed to [Pg 167]his teacher's music. There are in the sonatas one or two reminiscences of Haydn, which seem to us curious enough to merit quotation. One occurs in the sonata in C minor (Op. 10, No. 1). We give the passage (transposed) from Haydn, and the one from Beethoven:—[97]

"Letter V," Pohl, No. 58. Haydn.

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Op. 10, No. 1. Beethoven. 

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And another—

"In Native Worth" (Creation). Haydn.

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Op. 31, No. 1. Beethoven.

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[Pg 168]

While speaking of reminiscences, a curious one may be mentioned. The theme of the slow movement of Beethoven's sonata in A (Op. 2, No. 2) strongly resembles the theme of the slow movement of his own Trio in B flat (Op. 97):—

Beethoven, Op. 2, No. 2.

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 Beethoven, Trio, Op. 97. Andante.

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In Op. 111, again, the second subject of the Allegro recalls a phrase in the Presto of the Sonata in C sharp minor.

Haydn, as the most illustrious composer of that day, stands first; but the next name worthy of mention is Count Waldstein, a young nobleman who had been a guide, philosopher, and friend to Beethoven during the Bonn days. The well-known entry in the young musician's Album just before his departure for Vienna shows in what high esteem he was held by Waldstein. Count Ferdinand Waldstein died in 1823.

Prince Charles Lichnowsky was one of the composer's earliest patrons after the latter had settled in Vienna. The Prince, descended from [Pg 169]an old Polish family, was born in 1758, and, consequently, was, by twelve years, Beethoven's senior. He lived mostly in Vienna. In 1789 he invited Mozart to accompany him to Berlin; and the King's proposal to name the latter his capellmeister is supposed to have been suggested by the Prince. Lichnowsky was also a pupil of Mozart's. His wife, Princess of Thun, was famous for her beauty, her kindly disposition, and for her skill as a musician. Beethoven had not been twelve months in Vienna when he was offered rooms in the Prince's house. It was there that the pianoforte sonatas Op. 2 were first played by their author in presence of Haydn. Beethoven remained in this house until 1800. In 1799 the "Sonate Pathétique" was dedicated to the Prince, and in the following year the latter settled on him a yearly pension of 600 florins. In the year 1806 there was a rupture between the two friends. At the time of the battle of Jena, Beethoven was at the seat of Prince Lichnowsky at Troppau, in Silesia, where some French officers were quartered. The independent artist refused to play to them, and when the Prince pressed the request, Beethoven got angry, started the same evening for Vienna, and,—anger still burning in his breast,—on his arrival home, he shattered a bust of his patron. The composer's refusal to play to the French officers was grounded on his hatred to Napoleon, who had just won the battle of Jena. Beethoven, however, became reconciled with [Pg 170]the Prince before the death of the latter in 1814. It should be mentioned that Beethoven's first published work, the three pianoforte Trios, was dedicated to Prince Lichnowsky.

The Archduke Rudolph (1788-1831) was one of the master's warmest friends, and one of his most devoted admirers. His uncle was Max Franz, Elector of Cologne, to whose chapel both Beethoven and his father had belonged. The Archduke was the son of Leopold of Tuscany and Maria Louisa of Spain; his aunt was Marie Antoinette, and his grandmother the famous Maria Theresa. He is supposed to have made the acquaintance of Beethoven during the winter of 1803-4, and then to have become his pupil. The pianoforte part of the Triple Concerto (Op. 58), commenced in 1804, and published in 1807, is said to have been written for him.

Concerning the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, for whom Beethoven entertained a hopeless passion, and the Countess Theresa of Brunswick, to whom he is said to have been secretly engaged for some years, there is no necessity to enter into detail. Everyone has probably heard of the famous love-letters, and of the discussion as to which of these two they were addressed. Maximiliane Brentano was a niece of the famous Bettine Brentano.

The Baroness Ertmann was an excellent performer on the pianoforte, and is said to have been unrivalled as an interpreter of Beethoven's music. Mendelssohn met her at Rome in 1831, and in a [Pg 171]letter describes her playing of the C sharp minor and D minor Sonatas.

We must now turn to the sonatas, yet neither for the purpose of analysis nor of admiration. We shall briefly discuss how far Beethoven worked on the lines established by his predecessors, and how far he modified them. And, naturally, the question of music on a poetic basis will be touched upon.

The number of movements of which Beethoven's sonatas consist varies considerably: some have two, some three, others four. The three very early sonatas dedicated to Maximilian, Archbishop of Cologne, have only three movements (the second opens with a brief Larghetto, which, however, really forms part of the first movement). But the four Sonatas Op. 2 (Nos. 1, 2 and 3) and Op. 7 all have four movements—an Allegro, a slow movement, a Scherzo or Minuet and Trio, and a final Allegro or Rondo. There are examples in later sonatas of similar grouping; but it is an undeniable fact that in some of his greatest sonatas—Op. 31 (No. 2), Op. 27 (No. 2), Op. 53, Op. 57—he reverts to the three-movement sonata so faithfully adhered to by Emanuel Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Clementi. And there is evidence that the omission of the Minuet or Scherzo in Op. 10 (Nos. 1 and 2), in Op. 13, and in others named above, was the result of reflection and not caprice.

Among sketches for the Sonatas, Op. 10,[Pg 172] Beethoven writes: "Zu den neuen Sonaten ganz kürze Menuetten" (to the new sonatas quite short Minuets); and also, a little further on, "Die Menuetten zu den Sonaten ins künftige nicht länger als von 16 bis 24 Takte" (in future the Minuets to the sonatas not to exceed from 16 to 24 bars). Then, again, there are two sketches for a movement of the Minuet or Scherzo kind, which were almost certainly intended for the Sonata No. 1 in C minor. One of these was afterwards completed, and has been published in the Supplement to Breitkopf & Härtel's edition of Beethoven's works. Both these were finally rejected, yet Beethoven made still another attempt. There is a sketch for an "Intermezzo zur Sonate aus C moll," and at the end of the music the composer writes: "durchaus so ohne Trio, nur ein Stück" (exactly thus without Trio, only one piece). So the Minuets were to be short; then the limit of length is prescribed; and, lastly, an Intermezzo without Trio is planned. The composer proposed, but his δαιμων disposed; the Sonata in C minor finally appeared in print with only an Adagio between the two quick movements.

Schindler, in reference to the proposal made by Hoffmeister to Beethoven to edit a new edition of his pianoforte works, tells us that had that project been carried out, the master, in order to get a nearer approach to unity, would have reduced some of his earlier sonatas from four movements to three. And he adds: "He would most [Pg 173]certainly have cut out the Scherzo Allegro from the highly pathetic sonata for Pianoforte and Violin (Op. 30, No. 2; the first and third have only three movements), a movement in complete opposition to the character of the whole. He always objected to this movement, and, for the reason just assigned, advised that it should be omitted. Had the scheme been carried out, a small number of Scherzos, Allegros and Menuets would have been 'dismissed.' In our circle, however, objections were raised against this proposal; for among these Scherzos, etc., each of us had his favourite, and did not like the idea of its being removed from the place which it had long occupied. The master, however, pointed to the three-movement sonatas—Op. 10 in C minor, Op. 13, Op. 14, Op. 31 (Nos. 1 and 2), Op. 57, and others. The last sonatas—Op. 106 and Op. 110—which contain more than three movements must be judged in quite a different manner" (Life of Beethoven, 3rd ed. vol. ii. pp. 215-16).

Schindler's statements have sometimes been called in question; the above, however, bears on it the stamp of truth.

But how came it to pass that Beethoven's first four sonatas—Op. 2 (Nos. 1, 2, and 3) and Op. 7—have four movements? That is a question easier to ask than to answer. Schindler's remark that he followed custom is difficult to understand. In our introductory chapter we spoke of twenty sonatas containing four movements written [Pg 174]probably about the middle of the eighteenth century, also of one of Wagenseil's for clavier with violin accompaniment; yet among the known sonatas of that period, these form a minority. Woelfl's Sonata in B flat (Op. 15) has four movements: Allegro, Andante, Scherzo Allegro, and Finale (theme and variations), but that work appeared shortly after Beethoven's Op. 2.

Even Haydn, who is said to have introduced the Minuet into the Symphony, remained faithful to the three-movement form of sonata. Beethoven, however, wrote six sonatas consisting of two movements. This change in the direction of simplicity is striking, for in his quartets the composer became more and more complex. It seems as if he were merely intent on exhibiting strong contrast of mood: agitation and repose, or fierce passion followed by heavenly calm; we are referring especially to the Sonata in E minor (Op. 90) and to the one in C minor (Op. 111). The two sonatas of Op. 49—really sonatinas written for educational purposes—may be dismissed; also Op. 54, in the composition of which the head rather than the heart of the master was engaged. Even Op. 78, in F sharp, in spite of the Countess of Brunswick, to whom it was dedicated, does not seem the outcome of strong emotion; and therefore we do not take it now into consideration. The two sonatas (Op. 90 and 111) mentioned above are strong tone-poems, and the master having apparently said all that he had to say, stopped.[Pg 175] The story, already related, about having no time to complete Op. 111 must not be taken seriously. Nevertheless, we do not for one moment imagine that Beethoven was thus reducing the number of movements, in accordance with some preconceived scheme.

The D minor (Op. 31, No. 2) and the F minor (Op. 57) sonatas, not to speak of others, form the apotheosis of the sonata in three movements as established, though not invented, by Emanuel Bach. To say that Beethoven was the perfecter of the sonata is true, but it is scarcely the whole truth. The E minor appears a first great step in the process of dissolution; the C minor, a second. They were great steps, because they were those of a very great man. The experiments as to number of movements of which we spoke in our introductory chapter were interesting; and with regard to the number, and also the position of the Minuet before or after the slow movement, those experiments acquired additional interest, inasmuch as Beethoven seems for a time to have been affected by them. The two works named are, however, of the highest importance; in them, if we are not mistaken, are to be found the first signs of the disappearance, as it were, of the sonata of three movements, and, perhaps, of the sonata itself, into the "imperceptible." After Op. 90 Beethoven wrote sonatas in four movements, but that does not affect the argument, neither does the fact, that after Beethoven are to be found [Pg 176]several remarkable sonatas with the same number. The process of evolution of the sonata was gradual; so also will be that of its dissolution. The title of "sonata" given by Beethoven to his Op. 90 and Op. 111 does not affect the music one jot; under any other name it would sound as well. You might call the "Choral Symphony" a Divertimento, and the title would be considered inappropriate; or a Polonaise, and the name would be scouted as ridiculous; but the music would still remain great and glorious. Yet taking into consideration the meaning of the term "sonata" as understood by Emanuel Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven himself, it can scarcely be the right one for these tone-poems in two sections. The sonata-form of the first movement in each case may have suggested the title. The two early sonatas Op. 27 (Nos. 1 and 2) are both styled sonata, but with the addition quasi una fantasia. And in neither case was the first movement in sonata-form; the one in E flat does not even contain such a movement. There are other signs of the process of disintegration in the later sonatas. Op. 109, in E, is peculiar as regards the form of the movements of which it is composed; and the fugues of Op. 101, 106, and 109—a return, by the way, to the past—show at least an unsettled state of mind. The sonata in A flat (Op. 110) was probably the germ whence sprang the sonata in B minor of Liszt—a work of which we shall soon have to speak.

[Pg 177]

Beethoven departed from the custom of his predecessors Haydn and Mozart, and the general practice of sonata-writers before him, in the matter of tonality. In a movement in sonata-form the rule was for the second subject to be in the dominant key in the exposition section, and in the tonic in the recapitulation section, if the key of the piece was major; but if minor, in the relative major or dominant minor in the exposition, and in the tonic major or minor in the recapitulation. Thus, if the key were C major, the second subject would be first in G major, afterwards in C major; if the key were C minor, first in E flat major, or G minor, afterwards in C minor or major. In a minor movement the second subject is found more often in the relative major than in the dominant minor. The first and third movements of Beethoven's Sonata in D minor (Op. 31, No. 2) illustrate the latter; in each case the second subject is in A minor.

In major keys, besides that of the dominant, Beethoven chose the mediant (E) in his sonata in C (Op. 53); and in the recapitulation it occurs first in the sub-mediant (A), and only afterwards, in varied form, in the orthodox tonic. Then in the B flat sonata (Op. 106) the second subject occurs in the sub-mediant (G). In the last sonata in C minor, the second subject is neither in the relative major, nor in the dominant minor, but in the major key of the sub-mediant. Once again, in the sonata in D major (Op. 10, No. 3) a [Pg 178]second theme is introduced in the key of the relative minor before the dominant section is reached. With regard, indeed, to the number of themes and order of keys, some other movements of the Beethoven sonatas show departures from the orthodox rules.

In the important matter of the repeat of the first section of a movement in sonata-form, we find the master, for the most part, adhering to the custom delivered unto him by his predecessors. And yet there were two strong reasons why he might have been tempted to depart from it. The repetition was a survival from the old dance movements in binary form. E. Bach, Haydn, and Mozart not only repeated, but introduced various kinds of ornaments, and even harmonic changes; and they expected performers to do the same. Beethoven, however, allowed no such licence—one, indeed, which in the hands of ordinary pianists would be calculated to spoil rather than to improve the music. Part, then, of the raison d'être of the repeat ceased to exist. But a still stronger temptation to suppress it must have been the programme or picture which Beethoven had in his mind when he composed. The repeat, now become almost an empty form, must have proved at times a fetter to his imagination. In many ways he was bold; but in this matter strangely conservative. It was only in the sonata in F minor, Op. 57, that he first ventured to omit the repeat. It is not to be found in the opening movements of Op. 90 or Op. 110, [Pg 179]yet in his last sonata (Op. 111) the composer almost seems as if he wished to atone for his previous sins of omission. He had evidently not settled the question one way or the other; but the fact that in three of his most poetical works he departed from custom, deserves note. Before his time the repeat, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, seemed irrevocably fixed.

Beethoven added important introductions or codas, or even both, to some of the movements of his sonatas. Codas are to be found in the sonatas both of Haydn and Mozart, but not introductory movements; the idea of the latter, however, did not originate with Beethoven. The Grave which opens the "Pathétique" (Op. 13) does not merely throw the listener into the right mood for the Allegro, but the opening phrase—

Beethoven, "Pathetique," Grave

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is afterwards made use of in the development section—

Beethoven, "Pathetique," development section

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and, later on, it occurs in double augmentation.

The maestoso which ushers in the Allegro of the last sonata contains foreshadowings which are better felt than explained.

At times the codas of Haydn are interesting,—as, for example, the one at the end of the first [Pg 180]movement of his "Genziger" Sonata in E flat,—yet they do not present the thematic material in any new or striking light. With Beethoven it is different. In the Sonata in E flat (Op. 7) not only is there contrapuntal working, but the principal theme, just at the close, is, as it were, rounded off, completed. Similar treatment may be seen in the first movement of the Sonata in D (Op. 10, No. 3) (here the effect is intensified by contrary motion); also in the Allegro of Op. 13, and other sonatas; the opening movement of Op. 57 offers a striking illustration.

The coda to the first movement of the "Waldstein" Sonata (Op. 53) is on a most elaborate scale: it is almost as long as the development section. In the latter, only fragments of the principal theme had been worked, but in the coda it appears in complete form; fierce chords seem to retard its progress, and a sinking, syncopated figure is opposed to it, counteracting its rising, expanding nature. But it works its way onward and upward, until, as if exhausted by the effort, two descending scales lead to a quiet delivery of the second theme, which had not been heard during the development section. Then principal theme is given for the last time; it has overcome all obstacles, and proclaims its victory in loud and powerful chords. The Presto which closes the "Appassionata" (Op. 57) is one of Beethoven's grandest codas, and all the more wonderful in that it follows a movement of intense storm and stress.[Pg 181] It is a coda, not merely to the last movement, but to the whole work: it recalls the first, as well as the third movement. The coda of the first movement of the C minor Symphony displays similar intensity; there, however, we have an expression of strong will; here, one of savage despair. The coda of the first movement of the "Adieux" Sonata (Op. 81A) is another memorable ending. The farewell notes sound sad in the opening Adagio, while in the Allegro which follows they are again plaintive, or else agitated. But in the coda, though still sad, they express a certain tenderness, and the lingering of friends loth to part. Whatever the special meaning of the music, the point which we here wish to emphasise is, that the coda presents thematic material, already amply developed, in quite a new light.

In the matter of structure, Beethoven may be said, in the main, to have followed Haydn and Mozart, but the effect of his music is, nevertheless, very different. By overlapping of phrases; by very moderate use of full closes; by making passages of transition thoroughly thematic; by affinity and yet strong contrast between his principal and second themes; by a more organic system of development; by these and other means Beethoven surpassed his predecessors in power of continuity, intensity, and unity. Then, again, his conception of tonality was broader, and his harmonies were more varied; the fuller, richer tone of the pianoforte of his day influenced the character of his [Pg 182]melodies; while the consequent progress of technique, as exhibited in the works of some of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, enabled him to present his thoughts with greater variety and more striking effect than was possible to either Haydn or Mozart.

Once more, Beethoven seemed to be elaborating some central thought; Haydn and Mozart (with few exceptions), to be deftly weaving together thoughts so as to obtain pleasing contrasts. In a similar manner, the first and last movements of a sonata with Beethoven are of kindred mood, though perhaps of different degree. Haydn and Mozart seem again to be aiming at contrast; after a dignified opening Allegro and a soft, graceful slow movement, they frequently wind up with a Finale of which the chief characteristics are humour, playfulness, and merriment, so that the listener may part company from them in a pleasant frame of mind.

We have been comparing the composer, and to his advantage, with Haydn and Mozart. But the latter, however, sometimes come within near reach of the former; and had the means at their disposal been similar, they might possibly have equalled him. And, on the other hand, Beethoven's inspiration was sometimes at a comparatively low ebb. Speaking generally, however, the comparison, we believe, stands good.

John Sebastian Bach devoted the greater part of his life to the art of developing themes. His [Pg 183]skill was wonderful, and so, too,—considering the restrictions of the fugue-form,—was the imagination which he displayed. In Beethoven the old master seems to live again, only under new and more favourable conditions. Bach was brought up in the way of the fugue, Beethoven of the sonata; and, it may be added, from these, respectively, neither ever departed. From early youth onward, our composer was a deep student of Bach, and assimilated some of his predecessor's methods. One special feature of Beethoven's mode of development was to take a few notes, or sometimes merely a figure, from his theme, and to expand them into a phrase; as, for instance, in the opening movement of the sonata in C minor (Op. 10, No. 1), in which

Beethoven, op. 10, no.1, opening movement

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forms the material for the closing phrase of the exposition section. And the opening figure of the Finale of the same sonata is employed in a similar manner at the commencement of the second section of the movement. The Rondo of Op. 10, No. 3, furnishes good illustrations. Now let us turn to Bach. In the 13th Fugue of the "Well-tempered Clavier," the closing notes of the subject

J.S. Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, 13th Fugue

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are expanded, commencing at bar twenty-four, [Pg 184]into a melodious phrase. Also in the Prelude which follows (No. 14)

J.S. Bach, Prelude, No. 14becomes J.S. Bach, Prelude, No. 14

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And some magnificent examples might be culled from the noble Preludes in E flat and B flat minor (Book 1, Nos. 8 and 22). Again, another special feature of Beethoven is the extension of a phrase by repetition of the last clause,—a method too familiar to need quotation. But let us give one illustration from Bach (Book 1, Fugue 6)—

J.S. Bach, Book 1, Fugue 6

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The 8th Prelude of Book I has been already mentioned to illustrate one point, but there are other Beethovenisms in it.

These comparisons must not be misunderstood; study of Bach strengthened Beethoven's genius. We are not speaking of bald imitation, not even of conscious imitation. He not only received the message of the old master, as a child, but while he was a child; and that no doubt helped him more than all the works of his predecessors from Emanuel Bach upwards. It appealed to him strongly, because it was based on nature. Bach's Fugues are living organisms; they are expansions of some central thought. Development reveals the latent power, the latent meaning of the themes; were it merely artificial, no matter how [Pg 185]skilful, it would be letter, not spirit. A clever contrapuntist once conceived the bold idea of competing with Bach; he wrote a series of Preludes and Fugues in all the keys, and displayed wonderful skill in all the arts of counterpoint, canon, and fugue, while in the matter of elaborate combinations he actually surpassed Bach (we refer here only to the "Well-tempered Clavier"). But the result was failure; the laborious work was wasted. Klengel had mistaken the means for the end; he had worked as a mathematician, not as a musician. Beethoven felt the true secret of Bach's greatness, and his own genius taught him how to profit by it. Next to the necessity of having something of importance to say, something which development will enhance, the great lesson which Beethoven learnt from Bach was unity in variety, the "highest law in all artistic creation," as Dr. H. Riemann well remarks in his Catechism of Musical Æsthetics.

Very many, probably the greater number, of Beethoven's sonatas rest upon some poetic basis. Bombet, in his Life of Haydn, tells us how that composer sometimes "imagined a little romance, which might furnish him with musical sentiments and colours"; and the titles which he gave to many of his symphonies certainly support that statement. At other times the romance was already to hand, as in the case of the 32nd sonata, which was inspired by Haydn's dear friend, Frau von Genziger. Of the [Pg 186]poetic basis underlying some of Beethoven's sonatas we have fair knowledge. Schindler, in the second edition of his Biography of Beethoven, gives a few extracts from the Conversation Books (Conversations Hefte), in which, on account of the master's deafness, questions or answers were written down by those holding conversation with him. Beethoven read, and, of course, replied viva voce. We have not, it is true, his words, yet it is possible, at times, to gather their purport from the context. For instance, there is a conversation (or rather one half of it) recorded, which took place in 1823 between the composer and Schindler. The latter says: "Do you remember how I ventured a few years ago to play over to you the Sonata Op. 14?—now everything is clear." The next entry runs thus:—"I still feel the pain in my hand." A footnote explains that after Schindler had played the opening section of the first movement, Beethoven struck him somewhat roughly on the hand, pushed him from the stool, and, placing himself on it, played and explained the sonata. Then Schindler says: "Two principles also in the middle section of 'Pathétique,'" as if the teacher had called upon him to give illustrations from other sonatas of what he had explained concerning Op. 14. But there is another record of a conversation which took place between Beethoven and Schindler in the very month (March, 1827) in which the composer died. "As you feel well to-day," says the disciple, "we [Pg 187]can continue our talk concerning the poetic basis ("wieder etwas poetisiren") of the Trio in B flat." And after some remarks about Aristotle's views of tragedy, and about the Medea of Euripides, we come across the following:—"But why everywhere a superscription? In many movements of the sonatas and symphonies, where feeling and one's own imagination might dictate, such a heading would do harm. Music ought not, and cannot, on all occasions give a definite direction to feeling." Beethoven must have been alluding to some scheme of his for indicating the nature of the contents of his works, and its boldness seems to have astonished Schindler. It is possible that Beethoven, conscious that his end was not far distant, carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment, and desirous of giving all possible help to the right understanding of his music, went far beyond the modest lines by which he was guided when writing his "Pastoral" Symphony.[98] But let us return to the conversation.

"Good!" says Schindler, "then you will next [Pg 188]set about writing an angry sonata?" Beethoven would seem to have declared even that possible, for Schindler continues: "Oh! I have no doubt you will accomplish that, and I rejoice in anticipation." And, then, as if remembering that his master was an invalid, and that it would not be right to excite him by prolonging the argument, he added, probably in a half-jocular manner: "Your housekeeper must do her part, and first put you into a towering passion." The above extracts show pretty clearly that the poetic basis of his music was a subject which Beethoven took pleasure in discussing with his friends. Beethoven's back was, however, at once up if he found others pushing the matter too far. Of this we will give an instance. In the year 1782 Dr. Christian Müller of Bremen organised concerts among the members of his family, and, already at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Beethoven's name figured on the programmes. A friend of the family, Dr. Carl Iken, who took part in the musical proceedings, was an ardent admirer of Beethoven's music, and he ventured to draw up explanations and picture-programmes of the master's works; and these were [Pg 189]read out before the performances of the works in question. It seems, indeed, that he was the first who felt impelled to give utterance to the poetical feelings aroused by Beethoven's music. Dr. Iken's intentions were of the best, and he may often have succeeded in throwing his audience into the right mood. A poetical programme, if not too fantastic, would often prove of better effect than the most skilful of analyses. These "Iken" programmes so delighted Dr. Müller that he sent several of them to the master at Vienna. Beethoven read, but his anger was stirred. He sent for Schindler, and dictated a letter to Dr. Müller. It was a friendly but energetic protest against such treatment of his or anyone else's music. He drew attention to the erroneous opinions to which it would give birth. If explanations were needed, he declared, let them be limited to the general characteristics of the compositions,[99] which it would not be difficult for cultured musicians to furnish. Thus relates Schindler, and there seems no reason to doubt his word. It is to be hoped that Dr. Müller's letter will one day be discovered. It was not the plan to which Beethoven objected, but the manner in which it was carried out.

[Pg 190]

Before quitting this subject, let us refer to one or two sonatas concerning which there are well authenticated utterances of the master. Schindler once asked him for the key to the Sonatas in D minor (Op. 31, No. 2) and F minor ("Appassionata"), and Beethoven replied: "Read Shakespeare's Tempest." The reply was laconic. Beethoven, no doubt, could have furnished further details, but he abstained from so doing, and in this he was perfectly justified. Then Schindler, growing bold, ventured a further question: "What did the master intend to express by the Largo of the Sonata in D (Op. 10, No. 3)?" And the latter replied that everyone felt that this Largo described the condition of the soul of a melancholy man, with various nuances of light and shade. Beethoven's quiet, dignified utterances deserve special attention in these days of programme-music. It is perhaps well that he did not carry out his idea of furnishing the clue to the poetic idea underlying his sonatas. It would, of course, have been highly interesting to know the sources of his inspirations, but it is terrible to think of the consequences which would have ensued. Composers would have imitated him, and those lacking genius would have made themselves and their art ridiculous. Berlioz went to extremes, but his genius saved him; and Schumann, a true poet, though inclined to superscriptions, kept within very reasonable lines.

It was undoubtedly this poetic basis that so affected the form of Beethoven's sonatas. The little [Pg 191]romances by which Haydn spurred his imagination were as children's tales compared with the deep thoughts, the tragic events, and the masterpieces of Plato, Shakespeare, and Goethe, which in Beethoven sharpened feeling and intensified thought. The great sonatas of Beethoven are not mere cunningly-devised pieces, not mere mood-painting; they are real, living dramas.

In aiming at a higher organisation, he actually became a disorganiser. "All things are growing or decaying," says Herbert Spencer. And in Beethoven, so far as sonata and sonata-form are concerned, we seem, as it were, to perceive the beginning of a period of decay.

[Pg 192]



I. Weber

The two greatest contemporaries of Beethoven were, undoubtedly, Carl Maria von Weber and Franz Schubert, and both wrote pianoforte sonatas. Many other composers of that period—some of them possessed of considerable talent—devoted themselves to that branch of musical literature: Steibelt (1764-1823), Woelfl (1772-1812), J.B. Cramer (1771-1858), J.N. Hummel (1778-1837), F.W.M. Kalkbrenner (1788-1849), and others. Of these, the first three may be named sonata-makers. The number which they produced is positively alarming; but it is some consolation to think that a knowledge of their works is not of essential importance. Steibelt's sonata in E flat (dedicated to Mme. Buonaparte) was given once at the Popular Concerts in 1860, and Woelfl's "Ne plus Ultra" sonata, several times between 1859 and 1873; not one, however, of the 105 said to have been written by J.B.[Pg 193] Cramer has ever been heard there.[100] Most of these works justly merit the oblivion into which they have fallen; some are quite second, or even third rate; others were written merely as show pieces,[101] and are now, of course, utterly out of date; and many were written for educational purposes, or to suit popular taste (sonatas containing variations on national and favourite airs, light rondos, etc.).[102]

Cramer's studies have achieved world-wide reputation, and, as music, they are often interesting. Also in his sonatas are to be found many serious, [Pg 194]well-written movements; musical taste has, however, so changed since the rise of the romantic school, that it is doubtful whether they would be now acceptable even as teaching pieces.

Hummel's few sonatas have suffered at the hand of time; but, though the music be mechanical, and therefore cold, there is much to interest pianists in the two sonatas in F sharp minor (Op. 81) and D major (Op. 106). These were written after the composer's appointment at Weimar in 1820. His two early sonatas (Op. 13, in E flat, and Op. 20, dedicated to Haydn) are not easy, yet not so difficult as the two just mentioned.

Steibelt and Woelfl both measured themselves with Beethoven in the art of improvisation. The former was so ignominiously defeated that he never ventured to meet his rival again. Woelfl, however, fared better. With his long fingers he could accomplish wonders on the instrument; but only so far as technique was concerned did he surpass Beethoven.

Carl Maria v. Weber (1786-1826) in early youth studied the pianoforte under two able court organists, J.P. Heuschkel[103] and J.N. Kalcher,[104] both of whom he always held in grateful remembrance. Under the direction of the latter he wrote some pianoforte sonatas, which, according to the statement of his son and biographer, M.M. v. Weber, were accidentally destroyed. Later on [Pg 195]he studied under Vogler and other masters. He became a famous pianist, and at Berlin, in 1812, composed his 1st Sonata in C (Op. 24). No. 2, in A flat (Op. 39), was commenced at Prague in 1814, and completed at Berlin in 1816. No. 3, in D minor (Op. 49), was also written at Berlin, and in the same year. No. 4, in E minor (Op. 70), occupied the composer between the years 1819 and 1822; it was written at Hosterwitz, near Dresden, during the time he was at work on his opera Euryanthe.

Weber and Schubert are both classed as contemporaries of Beethoven, yet the latter was also their predecessor. Of Schubert we shall speak presently. As regards Weber, it should be remembered that before he had written his sonata in C (Op. 24) Beethoven had already published "Les Adieux" (Op. 81A). The individuality of the composer of Die Freischütz was, however, so strong, that we meet with no direct traces of the influence of Beethoven in his pianoforte music.

The Weber sonatas have been described by Dr. P. Spitta as "fantasias in sonata-form," and this admirably expresses the character of these works. Weber followed the custom of his day in writing sonatas, but it seems as though he would have accomplished still greater things had he given full rein to his imagination, and allowed subject-matter to determine form. Like his great contemporary, of whom we have next to speak, Weber, in spite [Pg 196]of Vogler's teaching, was not a strong contrapuntist; he relied chiefly upon melody, harmonic effects, and strong contrasts. His romantic themes, his picturesque colouring, enchant the ear, and the poetry and passion of his pianoforte music, both intensified by grand technique, stir one's soul to its very depths; yet the works are of the fantasia, rather than of the sonata order. We have the letter rather than the true spirit of a sonata. Place side by side Weber's Sonata in A flat (the greatest of the four) and Beethoven's D minor or "Appassionata," and the difference will be at once felt. In the latter there is a latent power which is wanting in the former. It seems as if one could never sound the depths of Beethoven's music: fresh study reveals new beauties, new details; the relation of the parts to the whole (not only of the sections of a movement, but of the movements inter se), and, therefore, the unity of the whole becomes more evident. We must not be understood to mean that Weber worked without plan, or even careful thought; but merely, that the organic structure of his sonatas is far less closely knit than in those of the Bonn master; there is contrast rather than concatenation of ideas, outward show rather than inner substance. The slow movements (with exception of those of the 1st and 2nd Sonatas, which have somewhat of a dramatic character) and Finales are satisfactory, per se, as music: the former have charm, refinement; the latter, elegance, piquancy, brilliancy.[Pg 197] Now, in these sonatas, the opening movements seem like the commencement of some tragedy: in No. 2 there is nobility mixed with pathos; in No. 3, fierce passion; and in No. 4, still passion, albeit of a tenderer, more melancholy kind. But in the Finales it is as though we had passed from the tragedy of the stage to the melodrama, or frivolity of the drawing-room; they offer, it is true, strong contrast, yet not of the right sort, not that to which Beethoven has accustomed us.

Throughout the four sonatas we detect the hand of a great pianist. In the first, the element of virtuosity predominates; the first and, especially, the last movement (the so-called Perpetuum mobile) are show pieces, though of a high order. In the other sonatas the same element exists, and yet it seldom obtrudes itself; the composer is merely using, to the full, the rich means at his command to express his luxuriant and poetical thoughts. In his writing for the instrument Weber recalls Dussek,—the Dussek of the "Retour à Paris" and "Invocation" sonatas. The earlier master was also a great pianist, and filled with the spirit of romance; still he lacked the force and fire of Weber. Then, again, Dussek, in early manhood, passed through the classical crucible, whereas Weber was born and bred very much à la Bohémienne; he developed from within rather than from without. It is easier to criticise than to create. If we cannot place the sonatas of Weber on the same high level as those of Beethoven, we may [Pg 198]at least say that they take very high rank; also, that in the hands of a great pianist they are certain to produce a powerful impression.

II. Schubert

The other great contemporary of Beethoven was Franz Schubert, born in 1797, the year in which the former published his Sonata in E flat (Op. 7). Then, again, Schubert's earliest pianoforte sonata was composed in February 1815, while Beethoven's Sonata in A (Op. 101) was produced at a concert only one year later (16th February 1816). It is well to remember these dates, by which we perceive that Beethoven had written twenty-seven of his thirty-two sonatas before Schubert commenced composing works of this kind. But though here and there the influence of the Bonn master may be felt in Schubert, the individuality of the latter was so strong, that we regard him as an independent contemporary. The influence of Haydn and Mozart, plus his own mighty genius, seem almost sufficient to account for Schubert's music. The new edition of the composer's works published by Messrs. Breitkopf & Härtel contains fifteen sonatas for pianoforte solo. The first four—

No. 1, in E (1815),
No. 2, in C (1815),
No. 3, in A flat (1817), and
No. 4, in E minor (1817),

had hitherto only been known by name.

[Pg 199]

In following the career of a great composer, his first efforts, however humble, however incomplete, are of interest; but from a purely musical point of view the Minuets of Nos. 2 and 3 are the most attractive portions of these sonatas; we catch in them glimpses of that freshness and romantic beauty which characterise Schubert's later productions.

In moments of strong inspiration, Schubert worked wonders, yet the lack of regular and severe study often makes itself felt. Though colouring may enhance counterpoint, it will not serve as a substitute for it. Then there is, at times, monotony of rhythm; and this, to a great extent, was the result of little practice in the art "of combining melodies."

While on the subject of Schubert's failings, we may as well complete the catalogue. In the later sonatas we meet with diffuseness; and sometimes a stroke of genius is followed by music which, at any rate for Schubert, is commonplace. It seems presumption to weigh the composer in critical balances, and to find him wanting; but he stands here side by side with Beethoven, and the contrast between the two men forces itself on our notice. Both were richly endowed by nature. By training, and the power of self-criticism which the latter brings with it, Beethoven was able to make the most of his gifts; Schubert, on the other hand, by the very lavish display which he sometimes made, actually weakened them. There is no page of musical history more touching than [Pg 200]the one which records how the composer, after having written wonderful songs, grand symphonies, and other works too numerous to mention, made arrangements to study with S. Sechter, one of the most eminent theorists of the day. The composer paid the latter a visit on the 4th November 1828; but within a fortnight, Schubert was no longer in the land of the living. When too late, he seems to have made the discovery which, perhaps, his very wealth of inspiration had hidden from him up to that moment, namely, that discipline strengthens genius. One may point out faults in Schubert's art-works, yet his melodies and harmonies are so bewitching, his music altogether so full of spontaneity and inspiration, that for the time being one is spellbound. Schumann was fairly right when he described Schubert's lengths as "heavenly."

Three more sonatas were produced in the year 1817, the first in the unusual key of B major; and here we find a marked advance in conception and execution. It opens with an Allegro, the total effect of which, however, is not satisfactory; the principal theme has dramatic power, and what follows has lyrical charm, but the development section is disappointing. The Adagio seems like an arrangement of a lovely symphonic movement; the orchestra, and not the pianoforte, must have been in the composer's mind when he penned it. The lively Scherzo, with its quiet Trio, is a little gem. The clear-cut, concise form of such movements saved Schubert from all danger of diffuse[Pg 201]ness; and in them, as Mozart remarked to the Emperor Joseph, who complained of the number of notes in his opera, Die Entführung, there are "just as many as are necessary." The sonata in A minor (Op. 164), which consists of three movements, is short and delightful from beginning to end. In the opening Allegro the second subject occurs, by way of exception, in the major key of the submediant. There is much to admire in the 3rd, in E flat, especially the Minuet and Trio; yet the music is not pure Schubert. About six years elapsed between this and the next sonata, in A minor (1823). Schubert had already written his B minor Symphony, and though the first two movements of the sonata will not compare with those of the former in loftiness of conception, there is a certain kinship between the two works. In both there are fitful gusts of passion, a feeling of awe, and a tone of sadness which tells of disappointed hopes, of lost illusions. The Finale, though fine, stands on a lower level. During the years 1825-26, Schubert wrote, besides one in A major (Op. 120), three magnificent sonatas: one in A minor, dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph (Op. 42), another in D (Op. 53), and a third in G (Op. 78). In these three works we have the composer's ripest efforts. The first movement of the 1st, in A minor, is well-nigh perfect. That opening phrase—

Schubert, op. 42, opening phrase

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haunts one like a sad dream; and the development [Pg 202]section, long, though not monotonous, is full of it. Without sacrificing his individuality, Schubert has here caught something of Beethoven's peculiar method of treating a theme,—that is, of evolving new phrases from its various sections. The coda, again, has penetrating power, and the fierce concluding phrase sounds like the passionate resistance of a proud artist to the stern degrees of fate. The tender melody and delicate variations of the Andante, the bold Scherzo, with its soft Trio, and the energetic Finale are all exceedingly interesting; yet they do not affect us like the first movement, in which lies not only the majesty, but the mystery of genius. The sonata in D has a vigorous opening Allegro,—a long, lovely, slow movement,—a crisp Scherzo, but a peculiar Finale, one which Schumann qualifies as comical (possirlich). The sonata in G contains some of the composer's most charming, characteristic music. The opening moderato e cantabile is a tone-poem of touching pathos. The sad principal theme is supported by such soft, tender harmonies, that its very sadness charms. In the development section it assumes a different character. Melancholy gives place to passion, at times fierce; then calm returns. The coda is one of the most fascinating ever penned by Schubert. The slow movement and Menuetto form worthy companions; but with the Finale the composer breaks the spell. Schumann says: "Keep away from it; it has no imagination, no enigma to solve."

[Pg 203]

The last three sonatas (in C minor, A, and B flat) were composed in September 1828, not three months before the death of the composer. In the opening theme of No. 2, determination and confidence are expressed, while in the Scherzo and Rondo there is even sunshine, though now and again black clouds flit across the scene. But in the Adagio, and in all the movements of the other two sonatas, the mood is either one of sadness, more or less intense, dark despair, or fierce frenzy. Music can express both joy and sorrow, though the latter seems more congenial to it. Mournful strains are an echo, as it were, of the "still, sad music of humanity." Grief, too, sharpens the imagination; and music produced under its influence stirs a sensitive soul more powerfully than the brightest, merriest sounds. But these three sonatas, though they contain wonderful thoughts and some of Schubert's grandest, and most delicate harmonic colouring, fall short of perfection. They are too long, not because they cover so many pages, but because there is a lack of balance; at times, indeed, the composer seems to lose all sense of proportion. Then, again, the weakness of Schubert in the art of development is specially felt; the noble themes, on the whole, lose rather than gain by the loose, monotonous, and, in some places, even trivial treatment to which they are subjected. And what is more fatal than a lack of gradation of interest? In a truly great work of art, be it poem, tragedy, sonata, or symphony, the [Pg 204]author carries his readers or audience along with him from one point to another,—he gives no time for rest or reflection; and when he has worked them up to the highest pitch, he stops, and there is an awakening, as it were, from some wonderful dream. If afterwards the work be analysed, the pains with which it was built up can be traced; the powerful effect which it produced will be found due, not alone to the creative power, the imagination of the author, but also to his dialectic skill and to his critical faculty. It is all very well to talk of great works as the fruits of hot inspiration and not cold intellect. A masterpiece is the outcome of both; the one provides the material, the other shapes it. Schubert was an inspired composer, but most of his works, especially those of large compass, show that he was mastered by moods, not that he was master of them. It may be said that many who can appreciate beautiful music have not the bump of intellect strongly developed, and would not therefore be affected by any such shortcomings; that they would simply enjoy the music. That is very likely, but here we are analysing and comparing; and neither the beauty nor even grandeur of the music, nor the effect which it might produce on certain minds, concerns us. There are many persons who have had no technical training, but who possess a true sense of order, proportion, and gradation; and such instinctively feel that Schubert's sonatas, in spite of their many striking qualities, are not so great as those of Beethoven. We have [Pg 205]referred more than once to the Popular Concert catalogue, which is a very fair thermometer of public taste. One can see how seldom the Schubert sonatas are performed in comparison with those of his great contemporary. But to refer specially to the three last sonatas now under notice. The one in B flat (No. 3) was played by Mr. Leonard Borwick, it is true, on the 3rd February 1894, but the previous date of performance was 16th January 1882. No. 2, in A, was last given in 1882, and No. 1 has not been heard since 1879.

The Allegro of the C minor sonata opens with a bold theme, and an energetic transition passage leads to the dominant of the relative major key. Of the soft second theme Schubert seems so fond, that he is loth to quit it; he repeats it in varied form, and still after that, it is heard in minor. This unnecessarily lengthens the exposition section, which, in addition, has the repeat mark. The development section is rather vague, but the coda is impressive: the long descending phrase and the sad repeated minor chords at the close suggest exhaustion after fierce conflict. The theme of the Adagio, in A flat, partly inspired by Beethoven, is noble, and full of tender, regretful feeling; the opening and close of the movement are the finest portions. The Minuet and Trio are effective, but the final Allegro is hopelessly long, and by no means equal to the rest of the work.

The first movement of the sonata in A has a characteristic principal theme, and one in the [Pg 206]dominant key of bewitching beauty. The coda gives a last reminiscence of the opening theme; but its almost defiant character has vanished away; for it is now played pianissimo. Schubert, in the importance of his codas, recalls Beethoven; each, however, made it serve a different purpose. The latter, at any rate in his Allegro movements, gathers together his strength, as if for one last, supreme effort. Schubert, on the other hand, seems rather as if his strength were spent, and as if he could only give a faint echo of his leading theme. The coda of the first movement of the sonata in A minor (Op. 42) offers, however, one striking exception. The Andantino and Scherzo of the A sonata are well-nigh perfect, but the Rondo, in spite of much that is charming, is of inferior quality and of irritating length. The 3rd sonata, in B flat, the last of the series, the sonate-testament, as Von Lenz said of Beethoven's Op. 111, has wonderful moments, yet it contains also lengths which even Schumann would scarcely have ventured to style "heavenly." We refer particularly to the first and last movements; the Andante and Scherzo are beyond criticism.

These sonatas were written as Schubert was about to enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death. His spirit was still strong, but his flesh must have been weak. To turn away from them on account of any imperfections, would be to lose some of Schubert's loftiest thoughts, some of his choicest tone-painting.

[Pg 207]



After Beethoven, the first composer of note was Robert Schumann, one of the founders of the so-called romantic school. In one of his letters he refers to Beethoven's choral symphony "as the turning-point from the classical to the romantic period." By reading, Schumann had cultivated his imagination, but his musical training was irregular; and, indeed, when he first commenced composing, practically nil. If his soul was stirred by some poem, or tale, or by remembrance of some dear friend, he sought to express his thoughts and feelings, and on the spur of the moment. In a letter he writes: "I have been all the week at the piano, composing, writing, laughing, and crying, all at once. You will find this state of things nicely described in my Op. 20, the 'Grosse Humoreske,' which is already at the printer's. You see how quickly I always work now. I get an idea, write it down, and have it printed; that's what I like. Twelve sheets composed in a week!" And thus short-tone poems, or a long piece, such [Pg 208]as the "Humoreske," of irregular form, were the result. Now that was not the way in which he composed his two sonatas. He was two years, off and on, at work on the first, in F sharp minor (Op. 11), and eight on the other, in G minor (Op. 22). One may therefore conclude that the fetters of form were a source of trouble to him. And he can scarcely have felt very enthusiastic over his task; in 1839, after both sonatas were completed, he declared that "although from time to time fine specimens of the sonata species made their appearance, and, probably, would continue to do so, it seemed as if that form of composition had run its appointed course."

Of the two sonatas, the one in F sharp minor is the more interesting. The Aria is a movement of exquisite simplicity and tenderness, and the Scherzo, with its Intermezzo alla burla, has life and character. But the Allegro, which follows the poetical introduction, and the Finale are patchy, and at times laboured. It must not, however, be supposed that they are uninteresting. The music has poetry and passion, and the strong passages atone for the weak ones. There were composers at that time who could produce sonatas more correct in form, and more logical in treatment, yet not one who could have written music so filled with the spirit of romance.

The Sonata in G minor resembles its predecessor both in its strong and its weak points. Considered, however, as a whole, it is less warm, less intense.[Pg 209] It is unnecessary to describe the two works in detail, for they must be familiar to all musicians, and especially pianists. A sympathetic rendering of them will always give pleasure; but in a history of evolution they are of comparatively small moment. It is interesting to compare them with the Fantasia in C (Op. 17), a work in which Schumann displayed the full power of his genius.

Chopin was another composer whose spirit moved uneasily within the limits of the sonata. The first which he wrote (we do not reckon the posthumous one in C minor)—the one in B flat minor—is an impressive work. There is a certain rugged power in the opening movement, and the Scherzo is passionate, and its Trio tender. The picturesque March owes much of its effect to its colouring and contrasts; while the extraordinary Finale sounds weird and uncanny. In the hands of a great interpreter the music makes a powerful appeal; yet as a sonata it is not really great. It lacks organic development, unity. The Sonata in B minor, though attractive to pianists, is an inferior work. The first movement, with exception of its melodious second theme, is dry, and the Finale belongs to the bravoura order of piece. The Scherzo is light and graceful. The slow movement is the most poetical of the four, though spun out at too great length. The real Chopin is to be found in his nocturnes, mazurkas, and ballads, not in his sonatas.

Among modern sonatas, the three by Brahms[Pg 210] (C, Op. 1; F sharp minor, Op. 2; and F minor, Op. 5) claim special notice. With the exception of the Liszt Sonata in B minor, which, whatever its musical value, at least opens up "new paths" in the matter of form, the Brahms sonatas are the only ones since Schumann which distinctly demand detailed notice. The composer followed ordinary Beethoven lines; with exception of the Intermezzo of the 3rd Sonata, the number and order of movement resemble those of many a Beethoven sonata; while there is enlargement, not change in the matter of form. Brahms studied the special means by which his great predecessor, in some instances, sought to accentuate the unity between various sections of a sonata; he steeped his soul in the romantic music of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Schumann, and, in addition, trained his intellect to grasp the mysteries of counterpoint, and to perceive the freer modern uses to which it was put by the classical masters. Brahms' early acquaintance with Liszt opened up to him, too, the resources of modern technique. And thus, possessing individuality of his own, in addition to these inheritances and acquirements, Brahms wrote sonatas, which, though in the main on old lines, are no mere imitations, pale reflexes of his predecessors.

The 1st Sonata, in C (Op. 1), has for its opening theme one which has been said to resemble the opening theme of Beethoven's Op. 106. It will be well to look on this picture (Beethoven)—

[Pg 211]

Beethoven, op. 106

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and on this (Brahms)—

Brahms, op. 1

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There is resemblance in the matter of rhythm, but the up-beat in Beethoven constitutes a marked difference; and, besides, the succession of notes differs in each case. Brahms's theme, already at the eighth bar, recommences in a key a tone lower; a similar proceeding, by the way, is to be found in Beethoven's Sonata in G (Op. 31, No 1). After a few points of imitation, and digression through various keys, we meet with a new theme in A minor, the soft, tender character of which contrasts well with the bold opening one. But unity amid diversity is Brahms' aim; and here the contrast does not prevent a certain kinship between them—one, however, which can be felt rather than explained.[105] Of another pianissimo phrase, still in A minor, much use is afterwards made. The prominence given in the exposition section to the subject-matter styled "secondary," and still more so in the development section, is peculiar; this feature had certainly not been copied from Beethoven, who, as a rule, made his first [Pg 212]theme of first importance. Brahms concludes his exposition section in the opening key of the movement,—a return to early methods; Beethoven adopted a similar course in the first movement of his Op. 53. Brahms' development section is comparatively short. Of counterpoint we get a good illustration in the combinations of both first and second themes; of colour, in the presentation of the mournful minor theme in the major key; and of originality, in the bars leading to the recapitulation. In this last instance, the idea of gradually drawing closer together the members of a phrase was borrowed from Beethoven, but not the manner in which it is carried out. In the earlier master it often stands out as a special feature; here we have, besides, counter rhythm, and ambiguous modulation. When the principal theme returns, it is clothed first with subdominant, then with tonic minor harmony. The movement concludes with a vigorous coda evolved from the opening theme. Five bars from the end, the first two bars of that theme are given out in their original form; and then, as if repetition were not sufficient, a thematic cadence is added, in which the notes are given in loud tones, in augmented form, and, in addition, with slackened tempo (largamente). The slow movement (Andante) was, we believe, one of Brahms' earliest efforts at composition; it is said to have been written by him at the age of fourteen. It consists of a theme with variations; and the former is based on an old[Pg 213] German Minnelied. The words of the folk song are written beneath the notes, as if to put the listener into the right mood.[106] We need not dwell on the variations, in which Beethoven and Schubert are the prevailing influences, though not to any alarming extent. The music is by no means difficult; for Brahms, indeed, remarkably easy. The movement opens in C minor, but closes in C major. A Scherzo follows (E minor, six-eight time; Allegro molto e con fuoco); it has a trio in C major. The Scherzo, with its varied rhythm, is full of life; the Trio, interesting in harmony, and also in the matter of rhythm. The Finale (another Allegro con fuoco; the young composer has mounted his fiery Pegasus) opens in C, in nine-eight time, thus—

Brahms, op. 1, Finale

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a metamorphosis, in fact, of the opening theme of the sonata. And later on we have a similar re-presentation of subject-matter from the first movement. This Finale is musically and technically attractive, yet scarcely on the same high level as the first movement. But the age of the composer must be taken into consideration; for quite a young man, it is a wonderful production.

The 2nd Sonata (Op. 2) is in F sharp minor. The Allegro non troppo ma energico is a move[Pg 214]ment which in its subject-material breathes the spirit of Chopin: the weird, stormy opening in the principal key may claim kinship with the opening of the Polish composer's "Polonaise" in the same key; while a certain strain in the melodious second subject brings to one's mind a Chopin Nocturne, also in F sharp minor; in neither case, however, is there anything amounting to plagiarism. The exposition section is not repeated. The development is clever, though, perhaps, somewhat formal. Again here, the secondary theme occupies, apparently, chief attention; but it is supported by a bass evolved from a principal motive. And in transition passages of the exposition, and also in the recapitulation section and coda—

Brahms, op. 2

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in one or other shape, makes itself heard; so that, though outwardly subordinate, its function is important: it binds together various portions of the movement, and thus promotes union. The Andante which follows, consists, as in the 1st Sonata, of a theme with variations. There is nothing novel either in the theme or its mode of treatment. Certain chords, cadences, figures, suggest Schubert—an idol whom Brahms has never ceased to worship; and, in one place, the three staves, and a few passages, show the influence of Liszt, the pianist par excellence of the days in which this sonata was written; but the [Pg 215]movement has, in addition to romantic charm, individuality. It commences in B minor; then after a short expressive passage in major, an arpeggio chord leads directly to the Scherzo; the following shows the outward connection between the two movements—

Brahms, op. 2, commencement of Andante theme Brahms, op. 2, Scherzo 

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This bright, clever Scherzo, with its soft Schubertian trio, need not detain us. The final Allegro is preceded by a short introduction, in which the chief theme and other material of the Finale are set forth. The connection between this and the earlier movements of the sonata is not evident, like the one, for instance, already noticed, between the Andante and the Scherzo; with research, and possibly some imagination, relationship might, however, be traced. We are far from asserting that movements of a sonata ought to be visibly connected; after all, the true bond of union must be a spiritual one. But if an attempt be made in that direction, surely the opening and closing movements are those which, by preference, should be selected. In his Op. 28 Beethoven seems to have evolved the themes of all four movements from the first; in Op. 106 and Op. 109, connection is clear between the first and last movements. Such an experiment was safe in the hands of Beethoven, and Brahms has never [Pg 216]allowed it to become a mannerism; but second-rate composers, and superficial listeners run the danger of mistaking the shadow for the substance. To this matter we shall, however, soon return. Many references have been made to the composers who have influenced Brahms, yet we cannot resist naming one more. The opening section of this Allegro Finale reminds one more than once of the corresponding section in Clementi's fine Sonata in B minor. The music of this concluding movement is clever.

The 3rd sonata (Op. 5) is in F minor. The Allegro opens with a wild, sinister theme, and one which even casts a shadow over the calm, hope-inspiring strains afterwards heard in the orthodox key of the relative major. The tender melodies and soft chromatic colouring which fill the remainder of the exposition section show strong feeling for contrast. Again, storm and stress alternate with comparative calm in the development section. The Andante expressivo bears the following superscription:—

Der Abend dämmert, das Mondlicht scheint
Da sind zwei Herzen in Liebe vereint
Und halten sich selig umfangen.


And it offers a delightful tone-picture. The moon "o'er heaven's clear azure spreading her sacred light," the calm of evening, and happy, though ever-sighing, lovers: 'tis a scene to tempt poet, painter, and musician. The last, however, seems [Pg 217]to have greatest advantage; music by imitation and association can describe scenes of nature; and it can paint, for are not its harmonies colours? But the musician can do what is possible to neither poet nor painter,—he can make a direct appeal to the emotions in their own language. The soft, dreamy coda—which, with its Andante molto, its Adagio, and widened-out closing cadence, seems to indicate the unwillingness of the lovers to part—has Schubert colouring and charm. The reminiscence, at the commencement of this movement, of the middle movement of the "Pathétique" cannot fail to attract attention. Then, again, the opening of the Scherzo[107]

Brahms, op. 5, Scherzo

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sounds familiar. It must surely have been this movement in which someone pointed out to the composer a reminiscence of Mendelssohn. "Anyone can find that out," was the rough-and-ready reply of Brahms. But if Mendelssohn be the prevailing influence in the Scherzo, Schubert has his turn in the Trio. The fourth movement is an Intermezzo, entitled "Rückblick" (Retrospect). The opening phrase, and indeed the whole of the short movement, carries us back to the picture of the lovers. Some change has taken place: have the lovers grown cold? or has death divided them? The [Pg 218]themes are now sad, and clothed in minor harmonies. The Finale, perhaps, shows skill rather than inspiration; with regard to some of the subject-matter, it is, like the previous movement, also retrospective.

Liszt's sonata in B minor, dedicated to Robert Schumann, was evidently written under the special influence of Beethoven's later sonatas,—perhaps more particularly the one in A flat, Op. 110. There is by no means unanimity of opinion among musicians with regard to Liszt's merit as a composer; some consider that his genius has not yet been properly recognised; others, that he will not for a moment bear comparison with any one of the great masters who preceded him, and who wrote for the pianoforte. Among his works which have specially given rise to discussion stands this B minor Sonata, which has proved a stumbling-block, both on account of its form and its contents. It would simplify matters if the one could be discussed without the other; this, however, is not possible.

We have hitherto considered the sonata of three movements as typical, and from that type Liszt's work differs; yet not "so widely, as on a first hearing or reading may appear." Thus wrote Mr. C.A. Barry in a remarkably interesting analysis of the sonata which he prepared some years back for Mr. Oscar Beringer. He remarks further: "All the leading characteristics of a sonata in three movements are here fully maintained within the scope of a single movement, or, to speak more precisely, [Pg 219]an uninterrupted succession of several changes of tempo, thus constituting a more complete organism than can be attained by three distinct and independent movements."

The idea of passing from one movement to another without break dates from Emanuel Bach, nay, earlier, from Kuhnau; and Beethoven occasionally adopted it, and with striking effect. The wretched habit at concerts of applauding between the movements of a sonata establishes a break where—at any rate in certain sonatas of Beethoven—the composer certainly imagined an uninterrupted succession. The second movement of the "Appassionata" breaks off with an arpeggio chord of diminished seventh, and the Finale starts on the same chord. Yet surely after the final tonic chord of the opening Allegro there should be no break, but only a brief pause. A fermata in the middle of a movement does not constitute a break, neither need it at the end. In Beethoven's sonatas we find many movements, outwardly independent, yet inwardly connected; those of the D minor and F minor may be named by way of illustration. The composer, however, in one or two of his works, revived, to some extent, the plan adopted in the suites of early times, of evolving various movements from one theme. Such outward connection may help to strengthen a bond of union already existing, but it will not establish it. The question, then, of Liszt's "more complete organism" depends, after all, on the contents of the music.[Pg 220] So, too, when, in addition to uninterrupted succession, Liszt makes the one theme of the slow introduction the source whence he derives the principal part of his tone-picture, everything depends on the quality and latent power of this fertilising germ. Discussion of form per se is an impossibility. This Liszt sonata stands, however, as a bold attempt to modify a form which, as we have seen, Schumann thought exhausted (was it for that reason that Liszt dedicated the work to him?), and one in which so many soulless compositions were written during the second quarter of the present century. "La sonate," says Charles Soullier in his Nouveau Dictionnaire de Musique Illustré "est morte avec le dix-huitième siècle qui en a tant produit." Is Liszt's sonata a Phoenix rising from its ashes? Shall we be able to say "La sonate est morte! Vive la sonate!" Time will tell. Hitherto Liszt's work has not borne fruit.

[Pg 221]



In previous chapters we have been occupied with Italy and Germany. Without reference to those countries a history of the pianoforte sonata would be impossible. Italy was the land of its birth; Germany, that of its growth, and, apparently, highest development. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries England furnished notable composers for the harpsichord. William Byrd and Dr. John Bull are not only among the earliest, but at the time in which they flourished, they were the greatest who wrote for a keyboard instrument. At the beginning of the seventeenth century English music was indeed in a prosperous state; it was admired at home, and its merits were acknowledged abroad. H. Peacham, in his Compleat Gentleman, published in the reign of James I., says of Byrd: "For motets and musicke of piety, devotion, as well as for the honour of our nation, as the merit of the man, I preferre above all others our Phoenix, Mr William Byrd, whom in that kind I know not whether any [Pg 222]may equall. I am sure none excell, even by the judgement of France and Italy, who are very sparing in their commendation of strangers, in regard of that conceipt they hold of themselves. His 'Cantiones Sacrae,' as also his 'Gradualia,' are mere angelicall and divine; and being of himselfe naturally disposed to gravity and piety his veine is not so much for light madrigals or canzonets; yet his 'Virginella,' and some others in his first set, cannot be mended by the first Italian of them all." Then at the end of the seventeenth century came Purcell, a genius who seemed likely to raise English music still higher in the estimation of foreign musicians. But, alas! he departed ere his powers were matured; by his death English art sustained a grievous loss, and from that time declined. The history of instrumental music during the eighteenth century is dull, and, so far as the pianoforte sonata is concerned, of little or no importance. Nevertheless, a brief survey of that century will be attempted, after which reference will be made to a few sonata composers of the century now drawing to a close. Just as we referred to the sonatas for strings and harpsichord before commencing the history of the clavier-sonata proper, so here a few remarks will be made concerning the sonata before Dr. T.A. Arne—the first composer, so far as we can trace, who wrote a work of that kind for the harpsichord alone.

In 1683 appeared Purcell's Twelve Sonatas for two violins and a bass, the very same year in [Pg 223]which Corelli published his "Twelve Sonatas" (Op. 1). In his preface, Purcell frankly admits that "he has faithfully endeavoured a just imitation of the most famed Italian masters." Sir J. Hawkins supposes that "the sonatas of Bassani,[108] and perhaps of some other of the Italians, were the models after which he formed them." In our introductory chapter we mentioned the sonatas ("a due, trè, quattro, e cinque stromenti") by Vitali (1677); and of these, Mr. J.A. Fuller-Maitland, in his preface to the Purcell Society edition of the "Twelve Sonatas" of 1683, remarks that "it is difficult to resist the conclusion that these were the Englishman's models." Vitali undoubtedly exerted strong influence; yet Purcell himself describes his "Book of Sonatas" as "a just imitation of the most fam'd Italian Masters." These sonatas of 1683, also the ten which appeared after his death (among [Pg 224]which is to be found No. 9, called the "Golden Sonata") in 1697, are of great importance and interest in the history of English music, but there is no new departure in them; this, at any rate in the earlier ones of 1683, is fully acknowledged by the composer.

In 1695, John Ravenscroft, a descendant, possibly, of Thomas Ravenscroft, published at Rome, sonatas for "violini, e violine, o arciliuto, col basso per l'organo" Opera prima, but they were mere imitations of Corelli.[109] In 1728 a certain John Humphries published by subscription "Twelve Sonatas for two violins and a bass"; and Hawkins, in his History, excites curiosity by declaring that they are "of a very original cast"; he adds, however, "in respect that they are in a style somewhat above that of the common popular airs and country dance tunes, the delight of the vulgar, and greatly beneath what might be expected from the studies of a person not at all acquainted with the graces and elegancies of the Italians in their compositions for instruments. To this it must be attributed that the sonatas of Humphries were the common practice of such small proficients in harmony as in his time were used to recreate themselves with music at alehouse clubs and places of vulgar resort in the villages adjacent to London; [Pg 225]of these there were formerly many, in which sixpence, at most, was the price of admission." We have quoted this passage at length, because it indirectly confirms our statement concerning English music of this period. If Hawkins had had anything better to talk about, he would not have wasted space on the music of alehouses and "places of vulgar resort." It may, however, be asked whether Hawkins' report of Humphries' music is trustworthy. Now, although the sonatas offer nothing of special interest, we may certainly venture to say that one does not hear such well-written melodious strains in or near alehouses of the present day. The sonatas consist, for the most part, of four short movements. First, a slow introduction, then an Allegro somewhat in the Corelli style. An Adagio, often very short, separates this from the final movement, an Allegro in binary form, a Minuet, or a Gigue. This "Humphries" musical landmark is the only one we have to offer our readers between Purcell and Dr. Arne. But before proceeding to notice the sonatas of the latter, let us say something, if not of English music, yet of music in England during the first half of the eighteenth century.

Of the influence of Corelli we have already made mention. That influence was materially strengthened by the two celebrated violinist-composers, Veracini and Geminiani, who came to London in 1714; the former only paid a short visit; the latter made England his home.[Pg 226] Then a greater composer than the two just mentioned had already arrived in London; this was Handel, whose Rinaldo had been produced with wonderful success on the 24th February 1710. The genius of Handel triumphed over all rivals, whether English or foreign, for well-nigh half a century; and this fact alone explains the decline of English art. But there was another strong influence which specially affected harpsichord music: the Lessons of Domenico Scarlatti had made their way throughout Europe. Thomas Roseingrave, who went to Italy in 1710, became acquainted with the composer, and on his return pleaded the cause of the Italian with an enthusiasm similar to that displayed a century later by Samuel Wesley for Scarlatti's great contemporary, J.S. Bach. Roseingrave edited "Forty-two Suites of Lessons for the Harpsichord" by Scarlatti. Still another Italian influence may be mentioned. "On the day," says Burney in his History of Music, "when Handel's Coronation Anthem was rehearsed at Westminster Abbey (1727) San Martini's[110] twelve sonatas were advertised." But Handel and Scarlatti make up the history of harpsichord music in England during the first half of the eighteenth century. Burney expressly states that "the Lessons of the one and the Suites of the other were the only good music for keyed instruments."

Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-78) is prin[Pg 227]cipally known as a writer of operas and incidental music to plays, but he also wrote organ concertos, and sonatas for the harpsichord. The latter, entitled "VIII. Sonatas or Lessons for the Harpsichord," probably appeared somewhere about 1750. With this double title it is, of course, impossible to regard them as serious sonatas. No. 8, for instance, consists merely of a Minuet with variations! No. 1 opens with an Andante in binary form, while two bars of Adagio lead to another Allegro of similar structure. No. 2 is of a similar kind. The binary form is of the later type, i.e. there is a return to the principal theme in the second section. No. 3 opens with a Prelude, and a note states that "in this and other Preludes, which are meant as extempore touches before the Lesson begins, neither the composer nor performer are oblig'd to a Strictness of Tune." The pleasing Allegro which follows shows the influence of Scarlatti-Handel. The sonata concludes with an attractive Minuet and variations. No. 5, with its graceful Gavotta, and No. 7 might be performed occasionally. Arne's sonatas, if not great, contain some neat, melodious writing.

The second half of the century still offers poor results so far as national music is concerned. We have spoken of Handel and Scarlatti; but, after them, music in England again fell under foreign rule. In the very year of Handel's death, John Christian Bach arrived in London, which he made his home until his death in 1782. During that period the [Pg 228]sonatas of Mozart and Haydn became known; and the two visits of the latter to England in 1791-92 and 1794-95 gave greater lustre to his name, and rendered his style still more popular. And all this foreign influence (strong inasmuch as Haydn and Mozart belonged to a school with which J.C. Bach was in sympathy) is reflected in the English music of the period. John Burton published, in 1766, "Ten Sonatas for the Harpsichord," which are of interest. Some of the writing recalls Scarlatti, but there are also many touches of harmony and melody which tell of later times. The introduction of the Alberti bass is one clear sign of a post-Scarlatti period. Burton paid a visit to Germany in 1752, and was, we presume, acquainted with Emanuel Bach's compositions. We may also name six sonatas by I. Worgan, M.B., published in 1769. At the head of No. 5, the composer remarks: "Lest the consecutive fifths at the beginning of the theme of this movement should escape the critic, the author here apprizes him of them." They are as follows:—

Worgan, Sonata No. 5

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The critic of those days must have been very dull if he required such assistance, and his ear very sensitive if offended by such consecutives as these. Lastly, we may give the name of a lady,[Pg 229] Miss Barthélémon,[111] whose interesting Sonata in G (Op. 3) was dedicated to Haydn.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, John Field, whose nocturnes are still played and admired, wrote three sonatas (Op. 1), and dedicated them to Muzio Clementi, his teacher. No. 1 is in E flat; No. 2, in A; and No. 3, in C minor. They all consist of only two movements (No. 1, Allegro and Rondo; No. 2, Allegro and Allegro Vivace; No. 3, Allegro and Allegretto). In the first two sonatas the two movements are in the same key; in the last, the first movement is in C minor, the second, in C major. The Rondo of No. 1 contains foreshadowings of Chopin. Field's music, generally, is old-fashioned, and not worth revival; none, indeed, of his sonatas have ever been played at the Monday Popular Concerts.

Samuel Wesley[112] wrote three sonatas (Op. 3), likewise eight, dedicated to the Hon. Daynes Barrington, yet we fear that not one of them would prove acceptable at the present day. One looks in vain for the name of Wesley in the[Pg 230] Popular Concert Catalogue. Cipriani Potter (1792-1871) deserves a word of mention. Beethoven, writing to Ries, in London, in 1818, says: "Potter has visited me several times; he seems to be a good man, and has talent for composition." His Sonata in C (Op. 1, dedicated to Mrs. Brymer Belcher) consists of three movements: an Allegro non troppo with a Haydnish theme—

Potter, op. 1

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an attractive Adagio, and a dainty and pleasing Rondo pastorale. The influence of Beethoven and Clementi is great; the individuality of Potter, small. But the sonata is thoroughly well written, and—at any rate as an educational piece—the Rondo deserves reprinting.

Sir G.A. Macfarren composed three sonatas for the pianoforte. No. 3, in G minor, dedicated to Miss Agnes Zimmermann, is a work which presents several features of interest. In the first long movement (an Allegro moderato) there is no repeat. The exposition section really contains three subjects: an opening one in the principal key, a second in D flat, and a third in the orthodox key of the relative major. The development section, in which there is some solid counterpoint, is decidedly clever; much use is made in it of the second subject mentioned above. The Andante is a movement of simple structure. A brisk Scherzo, in the making of which Weber and[Pg 231] Schumann seem to have lent a helping hand, leads to a long Finale,—the last, but by no means the most successful of the four movements. We have just spoken of influences; Weber may be said to have presided at the birth of the opening Allegro, and Mendelssohn at that of the Finale. The appearance in the Finale of the D flat theme from the Allegro deserves note. This sonata may not be an inspired work, yet it has many excellent qualities.

Of Sir Sterndale Bennett's two sonatas, the 1st, in F minor (Op. 13, dedicated to Mendelssohn), commences with a long movement (Moderato expressivo), in which there are traces of the master to whom it is dedicated; it is followed by a clever Scherzo and Trio, a melodious Serenata, and a weak Presto agitato. The first, second, and last movements are in F minor, the third in F major. Schumann, in a brief notice of the work, describes it as excellent. The sonata (Op. 46) entitled "The Maid of Orleans" commences with an Andante pastorale in A flat, above which are written the following lines from Act iv. Scene 1 of Schiller's play, Die Jungfrau von Orleans:—

"Schuldlos trieb ich meine Lämmer
Auf des stillen Berges Höh."
"In innocence I led my sheep
Adown the mountain's silent steep."

The movement is graceful and pleasing. Then follows an Allegro marziale:—

[Pg 232]

"Den Feldruf hör ich mächtig zu mir dringen
Das Schlactross steigt, und die Trompeten klingen."
Prologue: Scene 4.
"The clanging trumpets sound, the chargers rear,
And the loud war cry thunders in mine ear."

Then an "In Prison" section with suitable superscription—

"Höre mich, Gott, in meiner höchsten Noth," etc.
Act v. Scene 2.
"Hear me, O God, in mine extremity."

Lastly, a Finale—

"Kurz ist das Schmerz, und ewig ist die Freude."
Act v. Scene 14.
"Brief is the sorrow, endless is the joy."

The title and the various superscriptions naturally cause the sonata to be ranked as programme-music, but of a very simple kind. It is easy to suggest pastoral scenes: a few pedal notes, a certain simplicity of melody, and a few realistic touches expressive of the waving of branches of trees, or the meandering of a brook, and the thing is accomplished.

Dr. C.H. Parry is an English composer whose name has of late been much before the public. He has written works both secular and sacred for our important provincial festivals; also chamber music, songs, etc.; and all his music shows mastery of form, skill in the art of development, and eclectic taste. For the present, we are, [Pg 233]however, concerned merely with his sonatas. Like Brahms, he at first composed pianoforte sonatas: No. 1, in F; No. 2, in A minor and major. Brahms made a third attempt, but the two just mentioned are all that are known to us of Dr. Parry's. No. 1 opens with a non troppo Allegro, a smooth movement of somewhat pastoral character; the music, also the writing for the instrument, remind one occasionally of Stephen Heller. A bright, though formal Scherzo, with a well-contrasted Trio in the key of the submediant, is followed by a melodious Andante and a graceful, showy Allegretto.

No. 2 has an introductory movement marked maestoso; it is divided into three sections. The first opens with a phrase of dramatic character; the second, in the remote key of G sharp minor, contains two short, expressive, Schumannish themes treated in imitation; the third has passages leading back to the opening key and phrase. The Allegro grazioso which follows is a compact little movement; in form it is orthodox, yet there is no repeat to the exposition section. The influence of Heller is still felt, but also that of Schumann. Grace rather than power distinguishes the Adagio con sentimento, in the key of C sharp minor. The Scherzo is clever and effective, and the Allegretto cantabile, though the last, is scarcely the best of the four movements.

A manuscript Sonata in D flat (Op. 20) by Dr. C.V. Stanford, another prominent composer of [Pg 234]our day, was produced at the Popular Concerts (4th February 1884). It consists of an Adagio leading to an Allegro moderato. Then follows an Intermezzo in the key of the relative minor. An Adagio (F major) leads to the Allegro Finale in D flat major. It is thus noticed in the Musical Times of March 1884:—"Some listeners have professed to perceive in the work a deliberate intention to violate the established laws of form, but we confess that to us no such design is apparent. In matters of detail, Mr. Stanford shows himself an independent thinker, but in all essentials his newest work is as classical in outline as could possibly be desired. The opening Adagio is exceedingly impressive, and the succeeding Allegro moderato is worked out with splendid mastery of the subject-matter, the general effect being that of a lofty design carried into execution by a thoroughly experienced hand. The succeeding Allegro grazioso, a modified kind of Scherzo, is vigorous, and the final Allegro commodo, with its excellent first subject, seems scarcely less important than the first movement."

[Pg 235]



Some mention, however brief, must be made of various sonatas written by other contemporaries of the four composers discussed in the last chapter. After Beethoven, the only work which, from an evolution point of view, really claims notice is one by Liszt. All other sonatas are written on classical lines with more or less of modern colouring. Even M. Vincent d'Indy, one of the advanced French school of composers, has written a "Petite Sonate dans la forme classique."

Moscheles, in Germany, and Kalkbrenner, in France: these were once names of note. Their music is often clever and brilliant, but, to modern tastes, dry and old-fashioned; much of it, too, is superficial.

Among still more modern works may be named those of Stephen Heller, Raff, Rubinstein, Bargiel, and Grieg. The sonatas of Heller are failures, so far as the name sonata means anything. He was not a composer de longue haleine, and his opening and closing movements are dull and tedious; some [Pg 236]of the middle movements—as, for example, the two middle ones of the Sonata in C major—are, however, charming. Bargiel's Sonata in C major (Op. 34) is written somewhat in "Heller" style, but it is stronger, and, consequently, more interesting than any of that composer's.

Raff and Rubinstein both wrote pianoforte sonatas, but these do not form prominent features in their art-work.

Grieg's one Sonata in E minor (Op. 7) is a charming, clever composition; yet as it was with Chopin, so is it with this composer: his smallest works are his greatest.

Of duet sonatas there is little more to do than to mention the principal ones. In the evolution of the sonata they are of little or no moment. Some, however, are highly attractive. It would be interesting to know who wrote the first sonata for four hands, but the point is not an easy one to settle. Jahn, speaking of Mozart's duets, remarks that "pianoforte music for two performers was then far from having attained the popularity which it now possesses, especially among amateurs." We imagine that the

à Quatre mains sur un Clavecin
J.C. Bach
à Amsterdam
chez J. Schnitt Marchand de Musique
dans le Warmoes-straat

[Pg 237]

was one of, if not the earliest. The part for the second clavier is printed under that of the first. The sonata consists of only two movements: an Allegro and a Rondo. The general style and treatment of the two instruments reminds one of Mozart, but the music is crude in comparison. Here is the commencement of the theme of the first movement—

J.C. Bach, duet sonata

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The duet sonatas of Mozart are full of charm and skill, and will ever be pleasing to young and old. Dussek has written some delightful works, and Hummel's Op. 92, in A flat, is certainly one of the best pieces of music he ever wrote. Schubert's two sonatas (B flat, Op. 30; C, Op. 140) are very different in character: the one is smooth and agreeable; the other contains some of the noblest music ever penned by the composer.

Sonatinas are almost always written for educational purposes. No description, no analysis of such works, is necessary; only a list of the best. The "Twelve Sonatinas for the Harpsichord or Pianoforte, for the use of Scholars" (Op. 12), by James Hook (1746-1827), father of the well-known humorist, Theodore Hook, deserve honourable mention. Each number contains only two [Pg 238]short movements; they are well written, and, though old, not dry. Joseph Bottomley, another English composer (1786-?), also wrote twelve sonatinas for the pianoforte.

Those of Clementi and Dussek seem destined to perennial life. The former composed twelve (Op. 36, 37, and 38), the latter six (Op. 20); and then, of course, of higher musical interest are the sonatinas of Beethoven (two) and Hermann Goetz (two). From an educational point of view, however, these are perhaps not of equal value with many others of inferior quality; but they are full of character and charm. Kuhlau (1786-1832), on whose name Beethoven wrote the well-known Canon, "Kuhl nicht lau," composed sonatas which, owing to their fresh, melodious character and skilful writing, justly take high rank. Op. 20, 55, 59, 60, and 88 have all been edited by Dr. H. Riemann. Among still more modern composers may be mentioned: Reinecke, whose three sonatinas (Op. 47), six sonatinas with "the right-hand part within the compass of five fingers" (Op. 127A), and (Op. 136) the "Six Miniature Sonatas" (another term for sonatinas) have given satisfaction to teachers, and enjoyment to many young pupils; also Cornelius Gurlitt, who has proved a prolific worker in this department of musical literature. His six sonatinas (Op. 121) and the duet sonatas (Op. 124,—really sonatinas) are exceedingly useful, and justly popular. Besides these, he has issued two series [Pg 239]of progressive sonatinas: some by Diabelli, Pleyel, Steibelt, etc.; some from his own pen. Koehler's three sonatinas (without octaves), A. Loeschhorn's instructive sonatinas, E. Pauer's National Sonatinas (Ireland, Wales, Italy, etc.), and Xaver Scharwenka's two sonatinas are likewise of value.

Among various strange works written under the title of sonata we may count certain programme pieces. Thus, John Christian Bach, or "Mr. Bach," as he is named on the title-page, published a sonata "qui represente La Bataille de Rosbach," and an N.B. adds: "Dans cette Sonate La Musique vous montre le Comencement d'une Bataille le feu des Cannons et Mousqueterie L'Ataque de la Cavalerie et les L'Amendations des Blessées." This work consists of one movement (Allegro) in sonata-form. Except for the title, and the words "Canonade" and "Feu des Mousqueteries," it would be difficult to guess the subject. The music, which may be described as a study in the Alberti bass, is decidedly more correct in form than the French of the title-page. Then, again, Dussek composed a "Characteristic Sonata" describing "The Naval Battle and Total Defeat of the Grand Dutch Fleet by Admiral Duncan on the 11th of October 1797." But he was engaged in a much more suitable task when he wrote music expressing the feelings of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette.

There are three sonatas composed by A.[Pg 240] Quintin Buée.[113] No. 3 is "for two performers on one instrument." In the last movement, the first performer is "Le Français," and he rattles along with the popular tune "Ça ira," while the second, "The Englishman," steadily plays his national air, "Rule Britannia"; towards the close, fors fuat, "God save the King" and "Ça ira" are combined.

[Pg 241]



Alberti, 109, 112.

Alberti Bass, 26, 30, 33 (note), 109, 110, 239.

Albrici V. 39,
influence on Kuhnau, 42.

Ambros A.W. Pasquini, 73.

Arbeau T. Orchésographie, 15 and 16.

Arne T.A. 222, 225;
Sonatas: 226, 227.

Bach C.P.E. 9, 12, 29 and (note), 31, 32, 87, 219, 228;
Sonatas: "Frederick," 25, 85-91,
Würtemberg, 85, 92, 93, 115,
"Reprisen," 85, 94-100,
Töplitz, 93 and 94,
"Leichte," 100, 161 (note),
three-movement, 175,
Leipzig Collections, 85, 101-7;
Beethoven, 86, 105, 106,
Dr. Bülow, 96-8,
Fasch, 40,
Haydn, 93, 114, 115, 125,
Kuhnau, 22, 24,
Marpurg's Clavierstücke, 91 and 92,
Neefe, 161-3.

Bach J.C. 28 (note), 35, 227, 239;
Sonatas: 107, 108, 236.

Bach J.C.F. 29, 35, 106.

Bach J.E. 26, 29.

Bach, J.S. 9, 14 (note), 229 (note);
Organ Concerto, 76,
sonata attributed to, 89 (note),
Forty-eight Preludes and Fugues, 160 and 161,
and fugue-form, 91;
Beethoven, 182-5,
Kuhnau, 20, 21, 48, 87,
Rust, 152.

Bach W.F. 29;
Sonatas: 26, 108.

Banchieri, 10;
L'Organo suonarino (with sonata) 3-5.

Banister H.C. Life of Macfarren, 140.

Bargiel, 235;
Sonata: 236.

Barry C.A. 218.

Barthélémon Miss, 229 and (note).

Bassani G. 7, 223 and (note).

Becker D. 10;
Sonatas: 43.

Becker C.F. Hausmusik in Deutschlande, 49-50.

Beethoven L. v. 29, 31 and (note), 32, 33, 35, 45, 125, 194, 219;
Reminiscences, 133-140, 167, 168,
patrons and friends, 168-171,
programme-music, 21,
opus numbers, 112, 113,
connection and number of movements, 106 and 107, 171,
poetic basis, 178, 185-191,
exposition section, 36,
approach to recapitulation, 37,
key of second subject, 177,
the "repeat," 178, 179,
Codas and Introductions, 179-181,[Pg 242]
central thought, 182,
disorganisation, 191;
Sonatas: (Op. 111), 57, 116, 174-6;
table, 164-5;
two-, 174-6,
three-, 172-3,
four-movement, 173-4,
sonatinas, 238;
Symphony in C, 102, 103,
"Eroica," 135,
sketches, 171-2,
theme of Op. 106, 210, 211;
Bach C.P.E. 86, 87,
Bach J.S. 160, 182-5,
Brahms, 210, 211,
Haydn, 166, 167,
Kuhlau, 238,
Kuhnau, 57,
Neefe, 161-3,
Potter, 230,
Scarlatti, 17,
Schindler, 186-8, 190,
Weber, 192, 195-198.

Benda G. 28, 83 and (note);
Clavierstücke, 84;
Sonatas: 27.

Bennett S. Sonatas: 231-32.

Beringer O. 218.

Birchall R. 18, 145 (note).

Bitter C.H. 85, 92, 94 (note);
E. Bach, 97 and 98.

Böhm G. Chorale, 54, 131.

Bononcini B. 6.

Bononcini G.M. 6.

Borwick L. 205.

Bottomley J. sonatinas, 238.

Brahms J. 120;
Sonatas: 209-18.
Chopin, 214,
Clementi, 216,
Liszt, 210, 214,
Mendelssohn, 217,
Schubert, 214.

Bossard, 42 (note).

Buée A.Q. Sonatas: 239, 240 and (note).

Bull Dr. 221.

Bülow Dr. H. v. and E. Bach's sonatas, 96-8, 160.

Burney Dr. 4,
Musical Extracts, 6.

Burton J. Sonatas: 228.

Buxtehude, 131;
Suites, 51 and 52.

Byrd W. 221, 222.

Carlyle, his "Frederick the Great," 83 (note).

Chopin F. 229;
Sonatas: 209.

Clementi, M. 33, 45, 119 (note), 130;
Sonatas: 131, 132-42,
sonatinas, 238;
Beethoven, 131, 133, 134,
Field, 229,
Macfarren, 140,
Mozart, 132, 133,
Potter, 230,
Scarlatti, 135.

Corelli A. 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 42, 45, 46, 74, 77
(note), 79, 87, 224.

Cramer J.B. 108, 146, 192, 193 and (note).

Dannreuther E. 133.

Davidson J.W. 149.

Dussek J.L. 33, 197, 237, 239;
Letters to publishers, 142-5;
Sonatas: 146-7, 148,
Le Retour à Paris, 149,
Plus Ultra, 150,
sonatinas, 238.
Macfarren, 151-2,
Mendelssohn, 147,
Tomaschek, 145-6,
Woelfl, 149.

Faisst J. 50,
Analysis of a Mattheson Sonata, 22-3.

Farina C. 6.

Fasch J.F. 40.

Fasch C.F.C. and E. Bach, 40, 41.

Ferdinand, Prince Louis, death of 144, 145 (note).

Fétis F.J. 27, 38, 240 (note),
extract from Biographie Universelle des Musiciens, 72-3.

Field J. Sonatas: 229.

[Pg 243]

Forkel, Letter from E. Bach to, 93-4, 96, 97.

Frederick the Great, 22, 40, 41, 82, 83 (note), 85, 88.

Frescobaldi, 71 (note).

Froberger J.J. 20, 42, 46, 51, 52.

Fuller-Maitland J.A. 51 (note), 223.

Gabrieli A. 10.

Gabrieli G. 2, 10.

Gaffi B. pupil of Pasquini, 71.

Galuppi, 27, 29, 30 and (note) 31.

Gasparini, pupil of Pasquini, 77 (note).

Geminiani, 11, 225.

Gluck, 28 (note).

Goethe, 191.

Goetz H. 238.

Graun C.H. 83.

Graun J.G. 82.

Graupner Chr. 39 ff.

Grétry, 27.

Grieco G. 80.

Grieg E. 235-6.

Grove Sir G. 20, 27 (note), 73, 111, 133, 145.

Gurlitt C. 238.

Handel G.F. 13, 14, 19, 26, 40, 57;
Kuhnau 48-9.

Hasler H.L. 10.

Hasse J.A. 28, 29, 84 (note);
Sonatas: 27, 32.

Hawkins Sir J. 223 ff.

Haydn J. 1, 37, 45, 87, 99, 164, 182, 228;
New era, 30,
anecdote, 117,
programme-music, 185,
European magazine, 114, 115,
father of symphony, 111,
"In Native Worth," 167,
number and connection of movements, 33 and (note), 106,
introductory slow movement, 138,
three-movement form, 174,
approach to dominant section, 34,
second subject, 35,
codas, 179, 189;
Sonatas: 113, 115-20;
Bach C.P.E. 93,
Beethoven, 166, 167,
Metastasio, 111,
Porpora, 112.

Heller S. 233, 235-6.

Hering A. 38.

Hook J. sonatinas, 237.

Hook T. 237.

Hummel J.N. 192, 194 (Op. 92), 237.

Humphries J. 224.

Iken Dr. C. Beethoven, 188-9.

Indy, Vincent d', 235.

Jahn Otto, 120, 129, 132, 236.

Kalkbrenner F.W.M. 134, 192, 235.

Keiser, 48.

Kittel C. 38 and (notes).

Krieger J.P. 14 and (note).

Krügner S. 38 and (note).

Kühnel, 39.

Kuhnau A. 38 and (note).

Kuhnau J. 10, 22, 38, 219;
Writings and pupils, 39-41,
German and Italian influences, 42,
Bible Stories, 65-70,
Seven Partitas, 41,
Preface to Bible Sonatas, 52-4;
Sonatas: (B flat), 43-4,
Frische Clavier Früchte, 44-50,
"Bible," 19-21, 45, 46 (note), 48-9, 51, 54-65.

Legrenzi G. 10;
Sonatas: 6.

Le Trésor des Pianistes, 45 (note), 80, 94 (note).

Liszt F. 235;
Beethoven, 176
Sonata: 210 and 218-20.

Locatelli 11, 12;
Sonatas: 9.

Loeschhorn A. sonatinas, 239.

Lotti, teacher of Galuppi, 29, 77 (note).

[Pg 244]

Macfarren Sir G.A. 140;
Sonatas: 230 and 231;
Dussek, 151 and 152.

Marpurg, 2, 3.

Martini San, 112, 226.

Mattheson, 7, 20, 23, 38 (note), 39 (note), 40 and (note), 42;
Pasquini 74;
Sonata: 22-3.

Matthisson, the poet, 157.

Mendel, 27, 72.

Mendelssohn F. 151 (note), 231;
Dussek, 147.

Morley, 7.

Moscheles I. 235.

Mozart L. 34;
Sonatas: 27.

Mozart W.A. 33, 34, 35, 37, 45, 87, 99, 169;
Italian influence, 126-127,
Op. 1, 33 (note),
Requiem, 57,
duets, 236 and 237;
Sonatas: 120-5;
Beethoven, 160-1,
Clementi, 132,
Haydn, 127-9,
Kuhnau, 49.

Müthel J.G. 27, 28 (note), 33, 90 (note).

Neefe C.G. Sonatas: 161-3.

Nichelmann C. 27, 28, 106.

Palestrina, 71, 73.

Paradies P.D. 27, 28, 108-110.

Parry Dr. C.H. 13, 20, 108;
Sonatas: 232 and 233.

Pasquini B. (see frontispiece by S. Hutton), 14 (note), 74;
His monument, 71-2;
Operas and oratorio, 72,
Toccatas and Suites, 72, 74-5,
music in Berlin Library, 73,
in British Museum, 75;
Sonatas: 76-80;
Fétis, 72-3,
Handel, 77 (note),
Kuhnau, 81.

Pasquini E. 71 (note).

Pauer E. 43, 80, 189 (note);
sonatinas, 239.

Pescetti G.B. Sonatas: 25-6.

Pleyel, 239.

Poglietti, 74 and (note).

Potter C. Sonata: 130.

Prieger Dr. E. 153, 159, 193 (note).

Prout Prof. E. 147.

Purcell H. 2;
Sonatas: 222-4.

Raff J. 235, 236.

Ravenscroft J. 224.

Ravenscroft R. 224.

Reinecke C. 238.

Riemann Dr. H. 27 (note), 185, 238.

Rimbault Dr. 43.

Rochlitz F. 141.

Rockstro, 77 (note).

Rubinstein A. 235, 236.

Rudolph, Archduke, 165, 170, 201.

Rust Dr. W. 153 and (note).

Rust F.W. 152 ff.

Rust J.L.A. 152.

Sandoni P.G. Sonatas: 23-4.

Scarlatti A. 77 (note), 80.

Scarlatti D. 36, 73-4, 77 (note), 80, 89, 226;
Sonatas: 15, 16-19;
Bach C.P.E. 92 and 93,
Paradies, 109.

Schaffrath C. 27 and (note), 31.

Scharwenka X. 239.

Scheibe J.A. Critischer Musikus, 48.

Schindler A. 140 (note), 141, 142, 172, 173, 189;
Conversations with Beethoven, 186-8, 190.

Schop J. 10, 11.

Schubert F. 120, 195;
Sonatas: 198-206, 237.

Schumann R. 152, 200, 202, 206;
Fantasia, 209;
Sonatas: 208-9;
Beethoven, 207.

Sherard J. 223 (note).

Shakespeare, 190, 191.

[Pg 245]

Schoelcher V. Life of Handel, 19 (note), 77 (note).

Spenser H. 191.

Spitta Dr. P. 20, 21, 54, 57, 195.

Squire W.B. 51 (note).

Stanford Dr. C.V. Sonata: 233-4.

Steffani A. 77 (note);
Sonatas: 14.

Steibelt D. 192, 193 (note);
sonatinas, 239;
Beethoven, 194.

Tartini G. 9, 11 (note);
Sonatas: 12.

Telemann G.P. 48;
Sonatas: 24-5,
sonatinas, 89 (note).

Tomaschek, account of Dussek's playing, 145-6.

Turini F. 5-6;
Sonatas, 4.

Umstatt J. 27 and (note), 32.

Veracini, 11 and (note), 12, 225.

Vitali G.B. 7, 223.

Vogler, Abbé, 195, 196.

Wagenseil G. 31 and (note), 174;
Sonatas: 27.

Weber C.M. v. 192;
Sonatas: 194-8.

Weber M.M. v. 194.

Weitzmann C.F. Geschichte des Clavierspiels, 74,
Pasquini, 75.

Wesley S. 226;
Sonatas: 229-30.

Woelfl J. 174, 192;
Ne Plus Ultra Sonata: 149-50, 193 (note);
Beethoven, 194.

Worgan I. Sonatas: 228.

Zach, 31, 32.

Zimmermann Miss A. 230.



[1] Musikalisches Lexicon oder musikalische Bibliothek.

[2] Among the four-movement sonatas of Op. 1, No. 6 (in B minor) has the peculiar order: Grave, Largo, Adagio, Allegro.

[3] The Preludio Adagio only consists of four chords, or two bars; the Adagio, again, only consists of four bars. The sonata, therefore, may be considered as of three movements.

[4] 1680-1762.

[5] 1693-1764.

[6] 1685-1750 (Veracini is regarded as of the Corelli school, yet it should not be forgotten that his uncle, Antonio Veracini, is said to have published "Sonate a tre, due violini e violone, o arciliuto col basso continuo per l'organo" at Florence, already in 1662).

[7] 1692-1770.

[8] It is important to distinguish between sonata and sonata-form. The first movement of a modern sonata is usually in sonata-form; but there are sonatas (Beethoven, Op. 26, etc.) which contain no such movement. Sonata-form, as will be shown later on, has been evolved from old binary form. By sonata is understood merely a group of movements; hence objection may certainly be taken to the term as applied to the one-movement pieces of Dom. Scarlatti, which are not even in sonata-form.

[9] It must be remembered that Corelli spent some time in Germany between 1680 and 1683, the latter being the year of publication of his first sonatas at Rome.

[10] In J.S. Bach's 2nd Sonata for Flauto traverso and Cembalo (third movement) there is a return to the opening theme in the second section; also in the Presto of the sonata for two violins and figured bass we have an example very similar to the "Hoboy" sonata of Handel.

[11] Krieger, by the way, studied under Bernardo Pasquini at Rome.

[12] Cf. Corelli: Corrente in 10th Sonata of Op. 2; also Allemande and Giga of the next sonata.

[13] Cf. Scarlatti: No. 10 of the sixty sonatas published by Breitkopf & Härtel.

[14] When there is clearly a second subject, that of course offers the point of return. (See Nos. 24 and 39.)

[15] See V. Schoelcher's Life of Handel, p. 23.

[16] See, however, chapter on the predecessors of Beethoven.

[17] See ch. iii. on Pasquini.

[18] "Seit einigen Jahren hat man angefangen, Sonaten für's Clavier (da sie sonst nur für Violinen u. dgl. gehören) mit gutem Beifall zu setzen; bisher haben sie noch die rechte Gestalt nicht, und wollen mehr gerührt werden, als rühren, das ist, sie zielen mehr auf die Bewegung der Finger als der Herzen."

[19] The public did not support the undertaking, and the other five never appeared.

[20] The copy in the British Museum has no violin part, which was probably unimportant.

[21] Emanuel Bach's predecessor as clavecinist at the Prussian Court.

[22] This name is not in Mendel, Riemann, Grove, nor Brown. Fétis, however, mentions him as Joseph Umstadt, maître de chapelle of Count Brühl, at Dresden, about the middle of the eighteenth century, and as composer of Parthien, and of six sonatas for the clavecin.

[23] See, however, the early Würtemberg sonatas.

[24] Examples to be found in Rolle, Müthel, and Joh. Chr. Bach, etc.

[25] Gluck's six sonatas for two violins and a thorough bass, published by J. Simpson, London (probably about the time when Gluck was in London, since he is named on title-page "Composer to the Opera"), have three movements: slow, fast, fast,—the last generally a Minuet.

[26] E. Bach did some strange things. One of his sonatas (Coll. of 1783, No. 1) has the first movement in G major, the second in G minor, and the third in E major.

[27] Galuppi, No. 4, first set: Adagio, Spiritoso, Giga Allegro.

[28] Sometimes the last movement was a Tempo di Menuetto, a Polonaise, or even a Fugue.

[29] Wagenseil's Op. 1, Sonatas with violin accompaniment. No. 4, in C, has Allegro, Minuetto, Andante, and Allegro assai.

[30] As this experiment of Seyfert and Goldberg, in connection with Beethoven, is of special interest, we may add that Goldberg has all the movements in the same key, but Seyfert has both the Trio of the Minuet, and the Andante in the under-dominant. This occurs in two of his sonatas; in both, the opening key is major.

[31] There is, however, one curious exception. The first of the two "Sonates pour le clavecin, qui peuvent se jouer avec l'Accompagnement de Violon, dédiées à Madame Victoire de France, par J.G. Wolfgang Mozart de Salzbourg, agé de sept ans," published at Paris as Op. 1, has four movements: an Allegro in C (with, by the way, an Alberti bass from beginning to end, except at the minor chord with organ point near the close of each section, the place for the extemporised cadenza), an Andante in F (Alberti bass from beginning to end), a first and second Menuet, and an Allegro molto, of course, in C. The brief dedication to Op. 1 is signed:—"Votre très humble, très obéissant et très petit Serviteur, J.G. Wolfgang Mozart."

[32] There is one exception: a sonata in G major, one of his earliest. See chapter on Haydn and Mozart.

[33] Scheibe; a return for the moment to a practice which was once of usual occurrence.

[34] Mention has been made in this chapter of a first section in a minor piece of Scarlatti's ending in the major key of the dominant.

[35] In the Sonatas of 1781, for instance, the first movement of No. 2, in F, has a definite second subject, but that is scarcely the case with the first movement of No. 3, in F minor.

[36] This is the date given by Mattheson. In some dictionaries we find 1667; this, however, seems to be an error, for that would only make Kuhnau fifteen years of age when he became candidate for the post of organist of St. Thomas'. Fétis, who gives the later date (1667), states that in 1684 Kuhnau became organist of St. Thomas', but adds: "Quoiqu'il ne fût agé que de dix-sept ans."

[37] This Kittel must surely have been father or uncle of Johann Christian Kittel, Bach's last pupil.

[38] Mattheson, in his Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte, published at Hamburg in 1740, complains that the names of Salomon Krügner, Christian Kittel, A. Kuhnau, and Hering are not to be found in the musical dictionaries. The first and third have not, even now, a place.

[39] In a letter written by Graupner to Mattheson, the former, after mentioning that he studied the clavier and also composition under Kuhnau, says:—"Weil ich mich auch bei Kuhnau, als Notist, von selbsten ambot, u. eine gute Zeit für ihn schrieb, gab nur solches gewünschte Gelegenheit, viel gutes zu sehen, u. wo etwa ein Zweifel enstund, um mündlichen Bericht zu bitten, wie dieses oder jenes zu verstehen?" ("As I offered myself as copyist to Kuhnau, and wrote some long time for him, such a wished-for opportunity enabled me to study much good (music), and, whenever a doubt arose to learn by word of mouth how this or that was to be understood.")

[40] In the Dictionnaire de Musique by Bossard (2nd ed. 1705) no mention is made under the article "Sonata" of one for the clavier, and yet the above had been published ten years previously.

[41] See also next chapter.

[42] Nearly the whole of this composer's works are said to have been destroyed at the bombardment of Dresden in 1760.

[43] The sonata is given in Le Trésor des Pianistes with the ornaments, yet even there more than a dozen have been omitted.

[44] The clavier by its very nature tended towards polyphony; the violin towards monody. And, besides, Kuhnau prided himself on the fugal character of his sonatas.

[45] Even in the later "Bible" Sonatas, figures from these sonatas recur.

[46] Cf. The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, edited by J.A. Fuller-Maitland and W. Barclay Squire (Breitkopf & Härtel).

[47] Johann Jakob Froberger died in 1667.

[48] Meyer thinks he was probably the son of Ercole Pasquini, born about 1580, and predecessor of Frescobaldi at St. Peter's.

[49] Weitzmann and other writers, in referring to the work published at Amsterdam, spell the name Paglietti; it should, however, be Polietti or Poglietti.

[50] This piece was printed from a manuscript in the British Museum, which bears no such title. Judging, however, from the title of the libro prezioso mentioned on p. 71 [Transcriber's Note: p. 73], that name may originally have been given to it.

[51] The suite is printed in the Pasquini-Grieco Album by Messrs. Novello.

[52] Pasquini was no doubt one of the many composers who influenced Handel. When the latter visited Italy before he came to London in 1710, he made the acquaintance of the two Scarlattis (Alessandro and Domenico), Corelli, and other famous musicians at Rome; of Lotti and Steffani at Venice; and surely at Naples he must have known Pasquini, whose name, however, is not to be found either in Schoelcher or Rockstro. Only Gasparini, who was a pupil of Pasquini's, is mentioned by the former.

[53] "Si puo fare a Due Cembali."

[54] See the Novello Album.

[55] See the Novello Album.

[56] The post was offered to Bach in 1738, while Frederick was as yet Crown Prince, but he only entered on his duties in 1740.

[57] The four sons of Hans Georg Benda (Franz, Johann, Georg, and Joseph) were excellent musicians, and all members of the band of Frederick the Great. Georg, the third son, composer of Ariadne and Medea, two duodramas which attracted the attention of Mozart, was, however, the most remarkable.

[58] Cf. Carlyle's Frederick the Great, vol. iv. p. 134:—"Graun, one of the best judges living, is likewise off to Italy, gathering singers."

[59] The symphonies appear to be three-movement overtures transcribed for clavier. As a rule, the pieces marked as symphonies in this collection have no double bars, and, consequently, no repeat in the first movement. A "symphony" of Emanuel Bach is, however, marked as a "sonata" in the Six Lessons for the Harpsichord, published in London during the eighteenth century.

[60] The king was extremely fond of Hasse's music, but this composer, though German by birth, was thoroughly Italian by training.

[61] Yet, curiously, there is no chord in the later sonatas so large as the two on page 29 (6th Sonata)—

C.P.E. Bach, 6th Sonata, chord


C.P.E. Bach, 6th Sonata, chord

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which, of course, are played in arpeggio.

[62] Excepting in the fifth, which, by the way, was, for a long time, considered to be the composition of J.S. Bach, and was published as such by J.C. Westphal & Co. This return to the opening theme is to be found already in the sonatinas for violin and cembalo by G.P. Telemann published at Amsterdam in 1718. See Allegro of No. 1, in A; the main theme is given as usual in the key of the dominant at the beginning of the second section. Then after a modulation to the key of the relative minor, a return is made to the opening key and the opening theme.

[63] Similar passages are to be found in the opening Vivace of J.G. Müthel's 2nd Sonata in G. He was a pupil of J.S. Bach, and either a pupil or close follower of E. Bach. His six published sonatas are of great musical interest; in his wide sweeping arpeggios and other florid passages he shows an advance on E. Bach. His 2nd Arioso with twelve variations is worth the notice of pianists in search of something unfamiliar. There are features in the music—and of these the character of the theme is not least—which remind one strongly of Beethoven's 32 C minor variations.

[64] A recitative is also to be found in a Müller sonata.

[65] "In tempo in cui ebbi l'onore di darle Lezzione di Musica in Berlino."

[66] "The two sonatas, which met with your special approval, are the only ones of this kind which I have ever composed. They are connected with the one in B minor, which I sent to you, with the one in B flat, which you now have also, and with two out of the Hafner-Würtemberg Collection; and all six were composed on a Claviacord with the short octave, at the Töplitz baths, when I was suffering from a severe attack of gout."

A series of six sonatas by E. Bach is in the Trésor des Pianistes, and is said to have been published at Nuremberg in 1744; the work is also dedicated to the Duke of Würtemberg, and the Opus number (2) is also given to it. There is mention of these sonatas in Bitter's biography of J.S. Bach's sons, but not of the others.

[67] Sechs ausgewählte Sonaten für Klavier allem von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach bearbeitet und mit einem Vorwort herausgegeben von Hans von Bülow (Peters, Leipzig).

[68] In like manner he feels in the Andante, reflection, and in the final Andantino, melancholy consolation.

[69] Leipziger Mus. Almanack, 1783.

[70] The number of sonatas in each collection grew gradually smaller: first six, then three, lastly two. The dates of composition in the last column of above table may be studied with advantage: a later date of publication does not necessarily imply a more advanced work. Thus, of the three fine sonatas in the 3rd Collection (all of which are included in the Bülow selection), one was written eighteen, another fifteen, and the third (though first in order of reckoning), seven years before the date of publication (1781).

[71] See particularly the Sonata in G (collection of 1783).

[72] All of these consist of two movements; in the first, both movements are marked Andante.

[73] For the benefit of readers who may not possess Pohl's J. Haydn, we insert in brackets, after the Pohl numbers, those of the Holle edition.

[74] Cf. C.F. Pohl's J. Haydn, vol. ii. p. 311. They are in the keys of D, E flat, and A, and are interesting. The Tempo di Menuetto of the second presents a strict canon in the octave. In the last, too, there is a curious canon.

[75] The treble of the tenth bar of the second section has been frequently printed a third too high.

[76] This Sonata in E flat (Op. 78) was dedicated to Mrs. Bartolozzi, wife of the famous engraver, and to her Haydn also dedicated one in C major, marked as Op. 79,—a bright, clever and showy work, in which the influence of Clementi is sensibly felt. The development section of the opening Allegro, together with the return to the principal theme, is interesting. The Adagio, in the key of the subdominant, is one of Haydn's best, while the final movement (Allegro molto) is full of life and humour.

[77] "Clementi is a charlatan, like all the Italians" (Letter to his sister, June 7, 1783).

[78] It is thirty-five years since the fine one in B minor was performed at the Popular Concerts; and eighteen, since a Clementi sonata has appeared on a Popular Concert programme.

[79] The three Sonatas in E flat, F minor, and D, dedicated to Maximilian Frederick, Elector of Cologne, and published at Speyer in 1783, are not here taken into account.

[80] In mentioning any of them we shall first give the Breitkopf & Härtel numbers and then the Holle numbers in brackets, so that either edition may be referred to.

[81] At the time of their production Dussek was not born, Hummel was still a child, and Beethoven an infant "mewling and puking in the nurse's arms," if, indeed, the Beethovens were able to afford the luxury of a nurse. Even Emanuel Bach had not published any of his Leipzig Collections, neither had Haydn written his best sonatas. As Clementi was not only the survivor of Beethoven, but also his predecessor, a reminder as to the state of the sonata world, when Clementi first entered it, is not wholly unnecessary.

[82] London Symphony in E flat, No. 8 (No. 1 in Breitkopf & Härtel Catalogue).

[83] See p. 187 concerning Beethoven's conversation with Schindler.

[84] Schindler, Biography of Beethoven, 3rd ed. vol. ii. pp. 223-4.


Hamburgh, June 12, 1801.

Mr. Clementi,
        Mon Cher Clementi,—

J'ai reçu avec un extrême plaisir votre lettre, aussi que L'Autoscript dans celle de ma femme, je suis extremement touché du désir que vous témoignez de me revoir à Londres, mais etant une fois dans le Continent je ne puis résister au désir de faire une visite à mon Père, d'autant plus qui je Lui ai déja écrit que je viendrai pour Sure le voir cette eteé, je sçais par Ses lettres qu'il attend ce moment comme la plus grande, et peut-être, la dernière jouissance de sa Vie; tromper dans une pareille attente un Viellard de 70 ans, ce serait anticiper sur sa mort, d'ailleurs en arrivant en Angleterre tout de suite je ne ferais également que manger mon argent, ou bien celui de ma femme jusqu'à l'hiver prochain, aussi ma resolution est prise de faire le Voyage de la Boheme; voire en passant Dresde, Prague et Vienne, ou je sçais que je puis gagner de quoi me defrayer de tout mon voyage, et au dela: et de revenir a Londres vers le Novembre, vous pouvez compter ladessus, mais surtout sur le plaisir que j'aurai de revoir et d'embrasser un ami tel que vous—Mardi prochain part d'ici pour Londres un commis de Mr. Parish un des premiers Banquiers d'ici qui vous remetra en mains propres, par un de vos associés, mes trois nouvelles Sonates,—je suis occupé a metre au net. Les trois Concertinos qui vous recevrez aussi dans une quinzaine au plus tard, dont j'espere qui vous serez assez content, etant le meilleur ouvrage que j'ai jamais fait in the Selling Way, adieu mon cher Clementi, Les oreilles doivent souvent vous tinter, car je parle constamment de vous a tout le monde, car tout le monde aime qu'on leur parle de leurs connaissances, or vous êtes de la connaissance de tout le monde, adieu.

Votre ami,


Messrs Longman, Clementi, & Co.,
           Gentelmen And Friends,—

I beg you would do your possible to send to me the two grand instruments immediately, for the two Gentelmen whom I have persuaded to purchase them after they have heard my own, are very impatient about it, and I am afraid if I do not receive a decided Answer from you about it or the connoisement, wich I may Show them, they will be induced to Buy some of their German Instruments as they are pretty well influenced by the Capel Master of this Town who is a tolerable great As in Music and an illnatured Antianglomane, besides I expect it as the means to make my Journey to Bohemia, therefore I hope you will be so good, and make the greatest Speed you can—you will see by the above that I intend to be in London about November Next, when I will be very happy to settle with you what may Balance in our account and to continue faithfull to our agreement.

Believe me,

Gentelmen and Friends,

Yours faithfully,


You have no Idea how many proposals I have received from London about my Compositions, some of them will make you Laugh.


At the General Quarters of the Prussian Army in Saxony, the 4th 8ber 1806.

Dear Sir,—

I have lately composed three Quartettos for two Violins, Tenor and Violoncello, and confess to you that I think this work above all that I have composed, they are neither in the Stile of Mozart, or Haydn, nor that of Pleyel, they are in the Stile of Dussek and I will hope make some noise in the Musical World—the Price for the Propriety of them in Britain is 60 guineas, wich I think highly moderate considering the scarcity of good new Quartettos—I have particularly chosen you Sir for the publication of this work, because I allways found you very reasonable in the few Business I have had the pleasure to make with you, and as my Contract with Clementi & Co. finishes the 4th November this year, I should be very glad to continue with you the publication of all my Works in futur—These Quartettos are for you a publication so advantagous that I have not the least doubt but you will make the Bargain of them, since there is such a long time that nothing has been published of my composition—I wish them to appear about the middle of January, and to be dedicated to His Royal Highness the Prince Louis of Prussia with whom I am at this moment at the Army against the French—If you wish to write to me, give the letter to the Gentelmen who shall deliver to you the quartettos—I beg You to give my best greetings to Mr. Crassier, Sheener, Tonkinson and all Those that remember me, and believe me,

Your very obedient Servant,

and sincere friend,


Privy Secretary to His Royal Hs.
the Prince Louis of Prussia.

The above letter is addressed to Mr. Birchal, Music Seller, New Bond Street, London.

[87] Musical Times, September and October 1877.

[88] Here is one, in the 8th Variation—

Woelfl, 8th Variation

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[89] Mendelssohn, too, complained that Dussek was a prodigal.

[90] The one in D minor has often been performed at the Popular Concerts.

[91] 1822-1892.

[92] The original title is: "Sonata per il Cembalo ò Fortepiano di F.W. Rust, 1788."

[93] It is curious to note that in the supplement of the Breitkopf & Härtel edition of Beethoven's works there are two little pieces entitled "Lustig und Traurig."

[94] E. Bach published six easy clavier sonatas in 1765, but Neefe probably refers to earlier and more important works.

[95] Besides those mentioned, he published in 1774 six new sonatas, also variations on the theme "Kunz fand einst einen armen Mann."

[96] "As your Royal Highness seemed to be pleased with the sonata in C minor, I thought it would not appear too bold to surprise you with the dedication of it."

[97] The opening theme of that same symphony—

Haydn, opening theme

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 Haydn, opening theme

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recalls, curiously, the last movement of Beethoven's 8th Symphony; and still more so in the form in which he first sketched it—

Beethoven, 8th Symphony, last movement

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[98] Schindler, by the way, relates in his Biography of Beethoven (3rd ed. 2nd Part, p. 212) that, already in 1816, when there was a proposal made by Hoffmeister to Beethoven to issue a new edition of his pianoforte music, the master conceived the intention of indicating the poetic idea ("Poetische Idee") underlying his various works. And the biographer adds: "This term (i.e. poetic idea) belongs to Beethoven's epoch, and was used by him as frequently as was, for example, the expression 'poetic contents' by others—in opposition to works which only offer an harmonic and rhythmic play of tones. Writers on æsthetics of our day declaim against the latter term; with good reason, if it refer to programme-music; without reason, if they extend their negation to all Beethoven's music, and deny its poetic contents. Whence that tendency, which so frequently manifests itself, and that strong desire to give pictorial explanations, especially of the Beethoven symphonies and sonatas, if they contained nothing but a well-ordered harmonic and rhythmic play of tones, and if they—or, at least, some of them—were not based on some special idea? What other composer creates this almost irresistible desire?"

[99] Mr. E. Pauer, in his preface to Ernst von Elterlein's Beethoven's Pianoforte Sonatas explained for the lovers of the musical art,—a valuable and interesting book,—remarks: "Herr von Elterlein's design is not so much to describe the beauties of Beethoven's sonatas, as to direct the performer's attention to these beauties, and to point out the leading and characteristic features of each separate piece" (the italics are ours).

[100] The Finale of a Sonata in A flat by Cramer, one of three dedicated to Haydn, is said to have suggested to Beethoven the Finale of his Sonata in A flat (Op. 26). Dr. Erich Prieger, who has recently published a facsimile of the autograph of Beethoven's sonata, in his preface quotes some passages from the Cramer Finale, which certainly seem to show that the Bonn master was to some extent influenced by his predecessor. Here is the second of the three passages quoted:—

Cramer, Sonata in A flat, Finale

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[101] Woelfl's "Ne plus Ultra" Sonata would have long been forgotten but for Dussek's "Plus Ultra." See chapter on "Predecessors of Beethoven."

[102] In Steibelt's two sonatas (Op. 62), for instance, the airs "If a body meet a body," "Jesse Macpharlane," and "La Chrantreuse" [Transcriber's Note: So in original, probably should be "Chartreuse"] are introduced. In his Op. 40 we also find "The Caledonian Beauty," "The Maid of Selma," "'Twas within a mile of Edinbro' town," and "Life let us cherish." Woelfl's sonatas (Op. 35, 38) also contain Scotch airs, and his "Ne plus Ultra" has variations on "Life let us cherish."

[103] 1773-1853, court organist at Heldburghausen.

[104] 1766-1826, court organist at Freising.

[105] Notice, in each case, the falling interval in the second and fourth bar.

[106] Verstohlen geht der Mond auf, blau, blau Blümelein, etc.

[107] The long arpeggio leading up to the first note is omitted.

[108] In the British Museum copy the "XII. Sonate da Chiesa, Opera Quinta" of Bassani are bound up with "Sonate a Tre" by Giacomo Sherard. In plain English, the latter composer was a certain James Sherard, an apothecary by profession. The Bassani sonatas here mentioned were published at Amsterdam. Hawkins tells us that "an ordinary judge, not knowing that they were the work of another, might mistake them for compositions of Corelli." The first violin book has the following entry:—"Mr. Sherard was an apothecary in Crutched Friars about the year 1735, performed well on the violin, was very intimate with Handel and other Masters." This copy, which possibly belonged to Sherard, contains also the following, written apparently by the person into whose hands the book passed:—"Wm. Salter, surgeon and apothecary, Whitechapel High Street." The various sonatas, too, are marked in pencil—some as good; others, very good. The date, 1789, is also given—the year, probably, in which the volumes became the property of W. Salter.

[109] These sonatas were afterwards published at Amsterdam as Corelli's, being marked as his Opera Settima. On the title-page was written "Si crede che Siano State Composte di Arcangelo Corelli avanti le sue altre Opere."

[110] See chapter on Haydn.

[111] She was surely the daughter of François Hippolite Barthélémon (son of a Frenchman and of an Irish lady), who was on intimate terms with Haydn, to whom the sonata above mentioned is dedicated.

[112] Samuel Wesley (1766-1837), nephew of the Rev. John Wesley, was a gifted musician, and is specially remembered for his enthusiastic admiration of John Sebastian Bach. The letters which he wrote to Benjamin Jacob on the subject of his favourite author were published by his daughter in 1875. He also, in conjunction with C.F. Horn, published an edition of Bach's "Wohltemperirtes Clavier."

[113] He is described on the title-page as "formerly Composer to several Cathedral Churches in France." Buée's name is neither in Fétis nor the Pougin Supplément.

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