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Mozart's Art of Retransition

Identifieur interne : 001C86 ( Istex/Corpus ); précédent : 001C85; suivant : 001C87

Mozart's Art of Retransition

Auteurs : Roman Ivanovitch

Source :

RBID : ISTEX:2EBA7EFDA73DC02B026C5AFC35914D148CED031E

Abstract

In recent years scholarly attention has become attuned to the notion of the ‘beautiful’ in Mozart: studies by Scott Burnham, Mary Hunter and Maynard Solomon have drawn attention to passages of sumptuous beauty, a hallmark of the composer's style. The present study amplifies this concern by focusing on a characteristic Mozartian gesture, noteworthy for being at once prosaically functional and conspicuously, richly (over‐)composed: a type of retransition procedure involving a contrapuntally braided linear descent over a dominant pedal. One of a family of ‘standing on the dominant’ techniques, the gesture is most distinctively found in slow movements, whose pacing allows the descent's tiny harmonic and contrapuntal jolts to resonate and be fully absorbed. In the context of Mozart scholarship, these underexplored sections are particularly sensitive, for they lie at the seam between art and craft: some of the most dazzling, memorable passages in Mozart, they are nonetheless grounded in everyday compositional procedures, markers of quotidian expertise. Using examples from the Piano Concertos in D (K. 451) and C (K. 503), the Piano Trio in B♭ (K. 502) and other works, this study elucidates the basic technical features of these passages. The aim is to place any more effusive discussions of Mozart's artistry on the firmest possible footing.

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2249.2011.00305.x

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