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Thread: sneaky restatements

  1. #1
    Midshipman, Forte
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    sneaky restatements

    I don't know why, but I'm intrigued by the trick of entering a restatement or recapitulation through a sneaky side path, and at a time when a first-time listener would least expect it.

    In the Mendelssohn violin concerto, the development section ends with an unaccompanied solo passage. The soloist ends this passage with a series of arpeggios which modulate in such a way that a soft and gentle, but nonetheless surprising, recapitulation is made possible. I betcha this is the first concerto ever written in which this happens.

    Another strategy is to end the second section with motive play, and then continue the motive play while the first subject is restated. The second movement of Tschaikovsky's 4th symphony is a good example.

    "Fur Elise" is a unique case. The opening subject starts which an alternating semitone. Beethoven takes advantage of this by ending the second section with a chromatic scale, which in turn leads right into the restatement.

    Cesar Frank seems to be especially good at this art. In the Symphony in d minor, the English horn player gets to make a surprise entrance not only in the second movement, but in the third movement as well.

    Prelude, Fuge and Variations in b minor, op. 18 for organ and the fourth movement of the A major violin sonata are two more examples.

    Can you think of some more examples?
    Or provide more analysis of the examples already given?

  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Boy, you sure ask some tough questions there, tomato. But excellent questions nonetheless. You seem to be quite the music theorist...

    This topic is going to require some deep thought as nothing springs immediately to mind. Fantastic when this sort of thing happens though; hearing the restatement when one is not expecting it. Great effect.

    I`ll keep this in mind and hopefully I`ll hear something soon that I can add to your thread here.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  3. #3
    Commander, Assistant Conductor zlya's Avatar
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    Bach's a great practitioner of this. I can't think of a single fugue that DOESN'T have at least one extremely sneaky entry of the subject. Usually he primes you first by going through a few false entries, to get you in a real "boy who cried wolf" mindset. Then, when the real thing appears, often hidden in a middle voice or tagged onto the end of a sequence, you don't expect it, and it takes a few minutes to even realize it's there.

    Or he uses the old bait and switch, starts with what sounds like the subject in one voice, then slides over to the countersubject with that voice while the true subject enters in another.

    What a man.

  4. #4
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Fretless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zlya View Post
    Bach's a great practitioner of this. I can't think of a single fugue that DOESN'T have at least one extremely sneaky entry of the subject. Usually he primes you first by going through a few false entries, to get you in a real "boy who cried wolf" mindset. Then, when the real thing appears, often hidden in a middle voice or tagged onto the end of a sequence, you don't expect it, and it takes a few minutes to even realize it's there.

    Or he uses the old bait and switch, starts with what sounds like the subject in one voice, then slides over to the countersubject with that voice while the true subject enters in another.

    What a man.
    And he probably was able to do stuff like that off the top of his head in improvisation. Sick skills.
    I don't know if this counts, but thinking on similar fugal lines--the finale to Bruckner's 5th symphony. The strings are playing the first theme from the movement in heavy counterpoint, and just after they start the melody, the brass come in huge with a grand statement of the chorale theme sailing over the top of it, which really knocks you sideways. Great moment.

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