Pre-organised session - Quel futur pour la Formenlehre? Challenging Recapitulatory Paradigms
Chair: Jonathan Guez
The last two decades have seen a surge of interest in studies of sonata form. Though diverse in their analytical approaches, epistemological underpinnings, and target repertories, these studies nevertheless share one feature in common: a relative lack of interest in recapitulation. This session aims to remediate this neglect through the type of sustained analytical and theoretical attention the recapitulation has often failed to receive.
Our papers address recapitulations in a range of repertoire—from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries; from virtually unknown composers to well-known ones; and from absolute to program music. And they are representative of the diversity of current approaches to the analysis of form: Schenkerian perspectives of tonal structure commingle with the thematically focused Sonata Theory; Schmalfeldt’s theory of processual becoming is placed in dialogue with Caplin’s architectural theory of formal functions; and theories that presuppose a “content” of musical form interact with formalist perspectives.
Burstein demonstrates the range of options available for deep-level dividers in early sonata forms and the impacts of these on a recapitulation’s tonal drama. Hyland brings a Caplinian perspective to the young Schubert’s predilection for off-tonic recapitulations. Guez uses Schubert’s piano music to show the range of compositional strategies available for making recapitulatory tonal alterations. Aziz provokes questions of genre by highlighting different recapitulatory strategies in abstract and programmatic movements by Debussy and Ravel. And Perry presents two recapitulations in Prokofiev’s early concertos as sites of critique—of his own “unimaginative” expositions as much as the very norms he inherited.