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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5 17 commentaires
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sonata Forms by Charles Rosen 7 mai 2014
Par Peter F. Lesses - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I think this is a valuable book to own but did not think that the author was completely up to the subject. It's very well written and original unlike his dry book The Classical Style written first. At times it gets belabored with petty details, and others have found it hard to read. Count me in also. There were two points that I disagreed with how the da capo form evolved from the Minuet and the influence of the earlier 18th century string concerto on later solo pieces with orchestra. Otherwise, I appreciated the numerous examples from the literature and wish that I could hear these rarely played string quartets of Haydn, which were quoted in partial scores. Impressive is Rosen's knowledge about minor keyboard composers who contributed to the development of the sonata form. He also mentions the two different arcane German schools that were a part of this. I thought his comments went way out on limb claiming that the form is just a texture. So what, but this is just a dispute. There was one minor error that I can hardly criticize the author for claiming that Mozart introduced the idea of a contrapuntal coda. Actually, one finds this first in the coda to the 4th movement of the early Symphony #13 in D called the "Jupiter" by Haydn. The same familiar four note plainsong theme that occurs in the coda Finale to Symphony #41 by Mozart is also in the Haydn. Although this fact alluded the author, he was resourceful enough to find the same theme used by J. N. Hummel in the Finale to an obscure piano sonata. Kudos for this discovery. The defect in his book on the Classical Style is that is was limited to just the three great composers of that time instead of including the Rococo and correctly discussing the emergence of sonata form along with Stile Gallant. I find some sort of a mish mash between the research in both of these books and feel that they could have been amalgamated. I suspect that W. W. Norton publishers approached the author and wanted a book(s) on the Classical Period to fill in the missing gap of their series Books that Live in Music. Since Uncle Alfred Einstein had since passed away, there was no one else who could do it. As I understand, Rosen was not a musicologist and his knowledge of the subject begins with 1750. He gives undeserved credit to William S. Newman, who wrote The Sonata in the Classical Era, which does nothing more than grope at the subject in dreary language. A very complex subject like this would better have been written by one whose heart and soul was in the music of the enlightenment rather than in Schubert.
53 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Typically valuable Rosen, despite structural problems 6 mars 2005
Par klavierspiel - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Rosen's book, now in a revised edition, is a follow-up to his classic "Classical Style," and it helps to be acquainted with the earlier work, or at least to be somewhat accustomed to the author's elaborate and occasionally repetitive prose and his habit of illustrating the discussion with copious, lengthy musical examples. The early chapters explain the author's choice of the plural for the title and distinguish his view of the sonata structure as opposed to the single form dictated by nineteenth-century authorities such as Czerny. Particularly interesting, if not altogether coherent, is the attempt to relate the rise of use of sonata principles by composers to the rise in prestige of instrumental music. A couple of chapters on sonata-form predecessors (aria, concerto, other works by early Italians such as Scarlatti and Sammartini) are succeeded by generally lucid discussions on motivic development and the component parts of fully developed sonata form: exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda. The last part of the book examines how sonata structure has continued to influence and at times frustrate post-Classical composers.

If one looks for it, there are brilliant analyses to be found throughout this book, often in unexpected places: a full-scale and fascinating dissection of the first movement of Mozart's great "Prague" Symphony in D major is hidden away in the middle of the "Motif and Function" chapter. Therein lies the major problem of this book for me, in that Rosen, ironically enough in a work about form, seems to have trouble ordering and presenting his ideas in a logical fashion. The chapter on concertos seems intended to illustrate pre-sonata principles, but contradicts its purpose with illustrations mainly from Mozart and his contemporaries. Elsewhere, Rosen first cites minuet form as a sonata-form predecessor but then clouds the issue by discussing classical minuets in a later chapter--the casual reader may miss the distinction, which he never states explicitly. In fact, some important overall points--that the turn toward the subdominant in many recapitulations is intended to balance the basic tonic-dominant polarity of the exposition, for example--are never stated by Rosen but left to be gleaned by the reader. He also fails to spend enough time, in my opinion, discussing the ways in which minor-key sonata movements differ from the prevalent major-key models. Still, with careful reading, following some of the examples with recordings, and perhaps a bit of reordering, a comprehensive picture does emerge of one of the most important currents in Western tonal music. I still have to recommend this book as the best available on this knotty subject.
12 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 a good, authoritative book 3 avril 2005
Par Goggle-Eyed Slewfoot - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is chuck-full of information. He gives musical examples which I was unable to follow, but that was probably because I was not reading carefully enough.

Rosen does not always define terms as he should. I would like to know what a "counterstatement" is, because he uses the term several times. On page 388, he speaks of Berlioz' idee fixe, but does not tell us what it is. On page 393, he categorizes intra-movement thematic relations as "explicit" and "implicit," but will not define the two. I would like to know what the two terms mean. On page 403, he tells us that the Stravinsky piano sonata is in the "concerto grosso form." What does that mean?

While we are on the subject of terminology, this is the arena where Rosen throws a couple of boomerangs. He scorns the terms "first" and "second theme," preferring the terms "first" and "second group," but then he forgets and uses those terms himself.

He also denies that Haydn's sonata movements are "monothematic,"

and charges users of this term of misanalysis. But then he forgets and uses this term himself.

In the last chapter, he answers a question which I have been wondering: why does discussion of the sonata form usually ignore every composer since Beethoven. Rosen tells us that there has been little contribution to the form since Beethoven. He uses a composition by Schumann as a bad example and gives only a couple of good examples. He accredits Brahms with a few redeeming features, and give several other composers a cursory mention.

I hope to compose good sonata movements despite the handicap of living after Beethoven.
33 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Informative but Flawed 7 avril 2007
Par Leon Robinson - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
First: this book presupposes a reader who can read music well and knows some harmonic theory--if you know what chord V of V is in any key, you're fine; if that looked like Greek or mathematics to you, look elsewhere for a book on sonata form.

That said, if, as I did, you tried to read Rosen's The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and found yourself confused by his discussion of sonata form there, this could be the place to start. Rosen's analysis of the sonata forms (notice the plural) here gives the reader a much more complete and convincing argument for his analysis of sonatas as dramatic conflicts of tonalities (and yes, that's an oversimplification of his analysis, but it'll have to do) rather than the standard explanation of a sonata as the exposition/development/recapitulation of two themes in different keys so many of us received.

Now for the bad news: if Rosen's knowledge of particulars is vast and unimpeachable, his argumentation and methods are iffy, especially at crucial points. Case in point: Rosen dismisses general practice as an explanatory model for why sonata forms developed as they did as relying on "a false psychology of the composition and reception of music." (p. 4) In its place, he wants to put the social history of musical performance and reception at the time of the rise of the sonata forms, which he first employs to devastating polemical effect against an unnamed proponent of the general practice model. Problem is, Rosen's own use of social history depends on unjustified (and sometimes unmentioned) assumptions about putative listeners and performers, so much so that it comes to resemble (if not actually reproduce!) the general practice method he wants to displace. The game is pretty much up when judgments of one composer as a master of a particular technique or aspect of a sonata form start appearing; these only make sense in the context of a general practice model to explain sonata form, and so he's back to doing what he set out to oppose.

So if the book has these methodological problems, why buy it? Why give it three stars? Because Rosen's has such vast and deep knowledge of many particular works, and the price of being able to absorb some of it is having to endure his iffy theorizing. This may be a problem of scholarship in general: the price of ever more exact knowledge is a corresponding difficulty in making meaningful generalizations. This book is a gateway to the enormous wealth of knowledge and experience Rosen has as a musician and for me that more than justifies buying, reading, and studying it.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Essential Music Theory: Graduate Level Nuts and Bolts 19 juin 2006
Par Brian D. Tuttle - Publié sur
Format: Broché
First - a word of caution - the reader must have a working knowledge of music theory (particularly form & harmonic analysis) to understand this book. Even with that, this book is a commitment. Its not something one would read only a part of - it is to be taken as a whole. It will require the reader to analyze the music with the author to come to terms with the material.

That being said, this book is well worth reading, given you have the time to read passages again and analyze the musical examples. It provides an excellent analysis of what sonata form is in the Classic Period, with all the details the average musician is not aware of. Rosen uncovers patterns not often discussed when talking about sonata form. This is an excellent history of its development, and in depth analysis of its parts.

I've heard the complaint about Rosen - he is sometimes too harsh in his judgment of others. (Perhaps he is intolerant of stupidity?) However, with respect to clarity, he outclasses most music scholars (at least in writing.) Unlike some scholars, he defines start and end points with measure numbers so the reader can clearly see what is being discussed. He provides definitions for the terms he uses so that there will be little question of what it is he is talking about. Overall, he avoids showy, elitist vocabulary in his text. I find his writing a breath of fresh air.

Understanding the material in this book will arm the reader with a deep understanding of the sonata form, down to is nuts and bolts. Well worth reading, but "Sonata Forms" is a huge commitment of time and energy to understand!
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