Friday, July 27, 2018

Mozart and Haydn sudden major-minor shifts, explained





Here’s another Atkinson video: “Unexpected, fleeting major-minor mode shifts in Haydn and Mozart”.


Atkinson discusses four compositions.

The K 333 B-flat Piano Major Sonata, with a subtle shift in the second subject, is familiar from my days of piano lessons.

The Haydn Symphony 100 in G, the Military, was interesting more in that the use of flutes as instrumentation for a first subject in colonial times was seen as marital.  He shows how our perceptions have changed with a quick excerpt from the scherzo of Shostakovich’s 10th.

The third example is the Symphony #96, the “Miracle” because of an accident at the first performance, which was really of #102.

These two examples remind the that the last night before I left home for the Army in February 1968 and had a friend over for chess (I think I won most of the games), I played #104 on the VM stereo – the last music I would hear before Basic Combat Training.

His last example comes from the Theme and Variations finale of the Piano Trio in G, K. 496, of Mozart. One of the variations is in the parallel minor. The cello part is remarkable for the time in that it is more than just a reinforcement for the piano bass.  That is, a trio was more than a “violin sonata”. It’s an interesting concept, of variable instrumentation for expressive purposes.  But the rest of his analysis is playful and Timo-like.

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