The Sonata

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
marvluse
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The Sonata

Post by marvluse » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:09 pm

The sonata. One of western music's greatest ideas, eh? In its classic incarnation it is really just a suite, of three movements with tempos of fast – slow - fast. Giuliani to Ponce wrote them, and others, for the guitar. The so-called sonata form typically applies to the first movement only: a development section of two themes, an exposition where the composer tinkers with them, and a recapitulation section, where the opening themes are recalled. In some sense, Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas are true to the idea: a single movement, though his were for the most part simple binary forms. Brilliant and amazing, nonetheless.

Many years ago, when working towards a master's degree in music theory, I selected as my thesis topic an analysis of Ponce's Sonata III for guitar. The idea, expressed in my thesis title, was "Interval, Contour, and Shape as Structural Elements in Ponce's Sonata III for Guitar." One can find common elements in all 3 movements. But, like with many sonatas, the writing is not great all the way through. The first movement and the 2nd (a marvelous Chanson) are wonderful. The 3rd seems more an afterthought to me, not nearly to the quality of the first two.

Same for Giuliani. His Sonata, Op 15, seems to suffer the same disease: 2 great movements followed by a bit of fluff in the third. Or so it seems to me.

Of course, generalization is a dangerous undertaking. Beethoven's piano sonatas break every rule, for instance. Still, it is an interesting topic to ponder.

What sonatas resonate well with you?
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David Norton
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Re: The Sonata

Post by David Norton » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:44 pm

My own favorite guitar Sonata is by Anton Diabelli, Op. 29 #1 in C major. It's very cleverly done with a primary "thematic motive" of half-step motion, carried throughout the four movements. I also admire the F major sonata, Op. 29 #3, especially the famous 2nd movement. I'm not so keen with Op. 29 #2 in A major, maybe because I like the other two better.
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riffmeister
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Re: The Sonata

Post by riffmeister » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:32 pm

The Jose Sonata for guitar, as played by Julian Bream' on his album 'Sonata' still knocks my socks off every time I listen to it.

marvluse
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Re: The Sonata

Post by marvluse » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:57 pm

riffmeister wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:32 pm
The Jose Sonata for guitar, as played by Julian Bream' on his album 'Sonata' still knocks my socks off every time I listen to it.
That is surely a great one. Antonio José was surely a great composer. He died much too young, executed by a bunch of militarist oafs at age 34. It is hard to fathom such profound nonsense. :(

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Jos%C3%A9

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sxedio
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Re: The Sonata

Post by sxedio » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:23 pm

David Norton wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:44 pm
My own favorite guitar Sonata is by Anton Diabelli, Op. 29 #1 in C major. It's very cleverly done with a primary "thematic motive" of half-step motion, carried throughout the four movements.
A staple of my repertoire too, I’m very fond of it, especially the first movement. I rely on the Siegfried Behrend edition, I should probably compare with old scores and other editions. I wasn’t too impressed when I found out that Julian Bream mixed and matched bits of the other two Diabelli sonatas into a frankenstein sonata :twisted: .

To reply to the original post, forum member Jeremiah Lawson has written an interesting review of 19th century guitar sonatas.
You also get the Paganini guitar sonata pieces that have little to do with sonata form, still fun to play, mostly two movements with minuets and other dance forms.
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

RobMacKillop
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Re: The Sonata

Post by RobMacKillop » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:17 pm

Bream did wonders with his Diabelli. Vast improvement to my ears.

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Amy Gaudia
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Amy Gaudia » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:25 pm

Great topic!

Right now my favorite is Scarlotti K 1

I really like Alberto Mesirca's performance here
https://youtu.be/58yum0kv0LU

I would like to listen alot more, to get a better understanding of why I like it so much...
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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:59 pm

riffmeister wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:32 pm
The Jose Sonata for guitar, as played by Julian Bream' on his album 'Sonata' still knocks my socks off every time I listen to it.
Didn't know Bream has recorded it too, but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere online... It would be even harder to find a CD...
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David Norton
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Re: The Sonata

Post by David Norton » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:13 pm

Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:59 pm

Didn't know Bream has recorded it too, but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere online... It would be even harder to find a CD...
There are several copies on Amazon website available to acquire.
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Cipher
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Cipher » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:59 am

marvluse wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:09 pm

Many years ago, when working towards a master's degree in music theory, I selected as my thesis topic an analysis of Ponce's Sonata III for guitar. The idea, expressed in my thesis title, was "Interval, Contour, and Shape as Structural Elements in Ponce's Sonata III for Guitar." One can find common elements in all 3 movements. But, like with many sonatas, the writing is not great all the way through. The first movement and the 2nd (a marvelous Chanson) are wonderful. The 3rd seems more an afterthought to me, not nearly to the quality of the first two.

I totally disagree!!!

I think the last movement of Sonata III is EXCELLENT and very memorable, I love playing it. It's a skillfully written Rondo form with some very interesting sections of chorale-like chordal sections and more Spanish sounding scalar and tremolo ones.

Have you heard Jason Vieaux's outstanding recording of the Ponce Sonatas? It'll open your ears to the greatness of these works. Jason plays Sonata III to the hilt, milking every beautiful melody and chord especially in the lovely sad Chanson.

The Sonatina meridional by Ponce has an excellent first movement even if the structure is less ambitious than the Sonata III. The climax of the first movement of the Sonatina in the exposition in a way is more effective and dramatic than the Sonata III though the harmonic texture is simpler. Often times less is more especially on classical guitar where too many notes and thick textures can overpower a piece.

Wuuthrad
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:38 am

One of my favorites:

Jehkin Iivana by Olli Mustonen, which is based on the Finnish Mythological Epic Folkore of The Kalevala. Here he discusses composing it:



This recent recording, which I'm not as fond of as the CD version, which might be hard to find, is still worth watching:

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:45 am

Also I just have to throw some Einojuhani Rautavarra: Sonata for Flute and Guitar into the mix:

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

marvluse
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Re: The Sonata

Post by marvluse » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:28 am

Cipher wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:59 am
marvluse wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:09 pm

Many years ago, when working towards a master's degree in music theory, I selected as my thesis topic an analysis of Ponce's Sonata III for guitar. The idea, expressed in my thesis title, was "Interval, Contour, and Shape as Structural Elements in Ponce's Sonata III for Guitar." One can find common elements in all 3 movements. But, like with many sonatas, the writing is not great all the way through. The first movement and the 2nd (a marvelous Chanson) are wonderful. The 3rd seems more an afterthought to me, not nearly to the quality of the first two.

I totally disagree!!!

I think the last movement of Sonata III is EXCELLENT and very memorable, I love playing it. It's a skillfully written Rondo form with some very interesting sections of chorale-like chordal sections and more Spanish sounding scalar and tremolo ones.

Have you heard Jason Vieaux's outstanding recording of the Ponce Sonatas? It'll open your ears to the greatness of these works. Jason plays Sonata III to the hilt, milking every beautiful melody and chord especially in the lovely sad Chanson.

The Sonatina meridional by Ponce has an excellent first movement even if the structure is less ambitious than the Sonata III. The climax of the first movement of the Sonatina in the exposition in a way is more effective and dramatic than the Sonata III though the harmonic texture is simpler. Often times less is more especially on classical guitar where too many notes and thick textures can overpower a piece.
Well. that was my thinking then, some 40 years ago. I've not pondered it much since then. There is no doubt that it is a marvelous composition. Perhaps my distaste is with the form, the rondo, which can wander at times without making a clear point. :D The first two mvm'ts, however, I consider stellar. :)
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." --Stephen Hawking

marvluse
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Re: The Sonata

Post by marvluse » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:41 am

Wuuthrad wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:45 am
Also I just have to throw some Einojuhani Rautavarra: Sonata for Flute and Guitar into the mix:

Hah!! Very nice. I wrote a sonata for flute and guitar in the early 1970s, and performed it a time or two with my girlfriend of the time, a flautist. Alas, the MS is long lost. I sometimes wonder how much good music has been lost to the vestiges of time. I thought it pretty nifty at the time, and the audience applauded it. But, who knows?
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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: The Sonata

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:26 am

David Norton wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:13 pm
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:59 pm

Didn't know Bream has recorded it too, but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere online... It would be even harder to find a CD...
There are several copies on Amazon website available to acquire.
Thanks but the shipping would cost ten times more the value of the CD. I was hoping that it could be found on Spotify, Itunes, Googlemusic, etc.
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