Sonata-rondo finales are often described as more straightforward and less dramatic than sonata-form first movements. Minor-mode sonata rondos, however, display entirely different characteristics than their major-mode counterparts, including unusual harmonic plans, attenuated closure, and high levels of dramatic tension, with profound structural and affective implications. Recent research by Matthew Riley demonstrates that eighteenth-century minor-mode symphonies exhibit a variety of structural and expressive deformations compared to contemporary major-mode pieces. No existing research treats the unique aspects of minor-mode sonata rondos. In this paper, I assert that the minor-mode sonata rondo emerges in the late eighteenth century as a distinct expressive subgenre, with its own compositional norms and affective characteristics, and that it continues to flourish even when rondo form as a whole declines in importance in the nineteenth century. After surveying the minor-mode finales of Haydn and Mozart, I analyse several Beethoven finales (Opp. 13, 30/2, 37, and 132). I then turn to nineteenth-century repertoire, demonstrating the subgenre’s evolution in finales by Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms.
12.H.2Séance - Formenlehre, Old and New
Joan Huguet is Assistant Professor of Music at Knox College, where she teaches courses in music theory and analysis. She earned her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Eastman School of Music. Her research on the formal and Schenkerian analysis of rondo forms has appeared in the journals Theory and Practice and Music Theory and Analysis.
Knox College United States of Americajoanchuguet@gmail.com