Development of 2nd movement

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  • Created on: 14-03-21 16:31


-the second movement in symphonic music developed consistently through its’ changing structure, change in tempo and time signature and modulation to unrelated keys.

-The expansion of the orchestra gave composers, such as Beethoven, the opportunity to expand their themes and develop the mood of the second movement.

-This essay will trace the development of symphonic music from Stamitz’s Symphony no.2 (1750) to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathétique (1893).

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Early Classical period

-the second movement was a slow and lyrical movement, usually in simple structures such as theme and variation and binary form and also was played Andante, to provide contrast to the allegro first movement.

*in Stamitz’s Symphony No.2 (1750), it is in loose binary form, played andante and begins in the subdominant key, which was very typical of the early Classical period.

-Composers such as Haydn were moving further from the Classical tradition by altering the tempo marking

*for example, in Haydn’s Symphony No.31 (1765), the second movement is played Adagio, which helps to create a lilting rhythm and feel. Also, this second movement is in 6/8 rather 2/4 or 4/4, which makes it feel more dance-like than the typical slow and lyrical movement.

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Mature Classical period

-Not all composers moved forward at pace across the mature Classical period.

-Mozart’s Symphony No.41(1788) is a typical mature Classical Andante second movement in sonata form with complex embellishments and counter melodies.

Typically for Classical works the second movement has reduced instrumentation, leaving out the trumpets and timpani. It is also typical for this movement to be in the subdominant key of F major.

-However, Haydn further developed the second movement in symphonic music through elements of humour

Haydn’s Symphony No.104 (1795), although it is typically andante, in rounded binary form and predominantly homophonic, at bar 56 there is a sudden bar of silence, which creates a sudden stop and allows Haydn to introduce a new idea, providing clear contrast in themes.

-Also, in this movement Haydn uses a variety of textures such as homophony at the opening but then also imitation at bar 60 and a monophonic texture at bar 70 which helps to build up expectation.

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-Beethoven contributed much to the development of the second movement

-in his Eroica Symphony (1804), the second movement is very slow and gives connotations of a sombre funeral march, which is a very different tone to the Andante movements, more typical of Haydn and Mozart second movements.

*It is in expanded ternary form with considerable development along the way, with a brief B section in the major key.

-In his sixth Symphony(1808), the second movement, ‘Scene by the brook’, is in the subdominant key and is a slow movement, however it is more programmatic with the flute cadenza at the end to imitate bird calls.

-Beethoven also switches round the third and second movement in his Ninth Symphony (1824), where the second movement is heard as a scherzo, which was unusual.

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Early Romantic period

-the second movement became more solemn and lyrical, to help convey a story, linking to the rise in programmatic music due to the expansion of the expansion of the orchestra, therefore composers could be more innovative in their writing for the second movement.

-Although not all composers in the Romantic period went down the path of a programme, such as Brahms, where in his Fourth Symphony (1885), the second movement is the typical Andante slow movement.

-However, composers such as Mendelssohn incorporated elements of programme music, like in his second movement of his ‘Italian’ Symphony (1833).

*The overall structure of this movement can be understood as what is sometimes called ‘slow movement’ sonata form – there are two ideas outlined in an exposition that are then repeated with some modifications as a recapitulation with no formal development in between .

*The piece ends with a diminuendo accompanied by a dramatic reduction in orchestration until we are just left with pp basses and cellos in the last four bars. This reduction makes it seem as if the procession has disappeared.

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Late Romantic period

-there was a great rise in programmatic music, which proved there to be lots of changes to the second movement, in comparison to the Classical tradition.

-Composers increasingly focused on creating greater contrast within the symphonic form – which extended to contrast between melodic themes themselves.

-Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (1830) the second movement ‘un bal’, is in the form of a Waltz, which acts as part of the story. Berlioz uses the original Waltz theme with the idée fixe from the first movement.

-Further development of the second movement is seen in Smetana’s Ma Vlast (1875), where in Vltava, the second of six symphonic poems, the overall form is narrative, following the course of the river from its source to the sea, achieved through different textures and timbres.

-the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphonie Pathétique (1893) which is like a waltz, played allegro, but has an unusual time signature of 5/4 which creates a limping feel.

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