At the end of the eighteenth century, Paris assumed a fundamental role, parallel but inevitably intersecting with that of Vienna, in the development of instrumental music resulting in the birth of the French piano school. Hence, I decided to explore the consequences of possible alternative geographies, seeking to pinpoint a transnational cultural transfer between “non-Austrian” repertoires and the Viennese one.
In my presentation, I undertake an investigation on the nine solo piano sonatas of François-Adrien Boïeldieu (1775-1834) who was one of the most important representatives of the Parisian musical milieu of that time. More precisely, I explore François-Adrien Boïeldieu’s particular treatment of sonata form in the first movements of his sonatas. My analytical research is based on the principles and typological categories presented in William Caplin’s theory of formal functions for Viennese classical music. In this way, I identify constant features of Boïeldieu’s approach to sonata form which correspond to what classic paradigm defines as exceptional, presenting the possibility that the origins of some of these irregularities can be found in the French repertoire.
Furthermore, the musicological literature on French instrumental music mainly provides a framework for a historiography of musical life in France and a stylistic orientation of the piano repertoire but fails to account for the specific features of sonata form in Boïeldieu and his contemporaries. My investigation could indeed enable a more holistic knowledge not only of this central repertoire albeit rather unknown, but also of the Viennese classicism tout court.