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40 in G minor
First Movement Even though Mozart had personal difficulties during the time he wrote the symphony in G minor, the resulting work was not necessarily a product of his state of mind. Mozart has been known to write very upbeat works during very dark times. But, according to Nicholas Kenyou, author of Faber Pocket Guide to Mozart, the G minor symphony “is the conventional idea of the symphony turned into a drama of the largest scale” – which was a foreshadowing of things to come from Beethoven. Kenyou goes on to say, “from the opening bars there is a sense of turbulences; not a full melody, but a half melody.” Tonight we will explore the first movement and its musical format – the Sonata Allegro form. Sonata – Allegro Form According to Robert Greenberg, the Sonata-Allegro Form was strictly a creation of the Classical Era. The form evolved from the operatic idea of two or more dramatic characters that interact with each other and results in a transformation of one or all characters. There are four basic sections and sometimes five: 1. Introduction (optional) 2. Exposition 3. Development 4. Recapitulation 5. Coda Exposition (introduction of characters) – generally played twice.
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Theme (character) 1 – typically dramatic and forceful. Tonic key Modulating Bridge – contains melodic fragments and changing harmonic centers Theme (character) 2 – typically quiet and lyrical. Contrasts Theme 1. New key. Codetta (cadence material) – brings the character introductions to a conclusion. – in key of Theme 2
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W. A. Mozart – Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Development – action sequence displaying musical tension, contrast, interaction, and drama. Typically starts in key of Theme 2 but displays great harmonic and rhythmic instability. Fragments of one or all Themes from the Exposition may be heard in various forms. The development moves toward the home key near the end in preparation for the recapitulation. Recapitulation – the Themes return in their original order though altered harmonically.
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Theme 1 – Just as it appeared in the exposition. Tonic key Modulating Bridge – altered from the exposition so that the key does not change from the tonic key. Theme 2 – Typically the same as it appeared in the exposition but harmonically altered to the tonic key.
Coda – the coda comes after the final cadence of the recapitulation and used to firmly establish the tonic key and bring the movement to a clear and decisive conclution. It usually contains fragments from other parts of the movement and ends the movement with a perfect cadence (V – I) in the tonic key.
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