Thefirst work that that I am going to discuss is on Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in Emajor, op. 109. Beethoven has contributed tremendously in the genre of pianosonatas, and this particular sonata is composed during the late period of hislife. This particular sonata reinvents the sonata form, especially through theintroduction of a theme in the third movement which was followed by a set ofvariations. The sonatas prior to Beethoven’sera would usually follow a fast-slow-fast tempo in the three differentmovements; which Beethoven totally broke the convention by using differingtempi markings at the very first movement of the Op. 109 Sonata. The sectionswith different tempo possess distinct and contrasting character and mood, whichcreates a sense of uncertainty on where the direction of the music is going.
However, all the contrasting musical ideas were nicely developed through thetransitions and were tied together nicely at the end of the first movement. Beethoven’s late period sonatasalso does not strictly follow the sonata form: exposition, development,transition and recapitulation. This would differ greatly from Mozart’s sonatas.Beethoven was known for the use and compositional development of motivic ideasand another style that Beethoven incorporated into his late period sonatas isthe usage of Baroque polyphonic writing. Beethoven’s late period sonatasespecially the last three piano sonatas showed the wide range of musical stylesthat Beethoven has experimented throughout his career as a composer but alsogives a sense of unity. In my opinion, Beethoven’s pianosonatas greatly portray the development of his compositional style.
The pianosonatas that Beethoven written was crucial in music history as the whole thegenre of piano sonatas was elevated in importance and could be held as equalwith other genres such as symphonies. Mozart and Haydn wrote many piano sonatasas well, but both composers wrote symphonies which they are also famously knownfor. It was Beethoven that developed the genre of piano sonata into such greatimportance in music history. The next work I am going todiscuss would be on Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. This genre of composition is asuite, which consists of three movements.
Each movement has their own titles andare derived from poems; which paints a specific story or character. Ravel’scompositions are often described as an impressionist style; as his piecesportray different colours like in a painting. The genre of the suite can betraced back to Bach and Handel’s era. The suites composed in the 17thcentury and 18th century are often linked to a collection ofmovements that are dance-like. It would have movements that are fixed such asthe sarabande, gigue, allemande and the courante.
There are also additionaloptional dances that are incorporated such as bourree, minuet and etc. Moreoften, the movements are related to each other. The genre of suite during the17th century is very different than Ravel’s idea of a suite. Anothercomposer that reinvents the idea of a piano suite would be Debussy. One ofDebussy’s famous work is his Suite Bergamasque.