Development of 4th movements

  • Created by: lilac123
  • Created on: 15-03-21 09:01


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

-In particular ending in a minor key, seen in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathétique, creates a completely different atmosphere to the traditional allegro major finale.

-The expansion of the orchestra gave composers, such as Berlioz, the opportunity to expand their themes and develop the mood of the fourth 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 typical features of the fourth movement included the tempo being allegro or presto, in a major key, in sonata form, rondo form or theme and variation.

-Stamitz’s Symphony No.2 (1750) is a good example where the fourth movement is a typical Classical movement as it is heard Prestissimo, begins in a major key and is predominantly homophonic. Although, the movement is in 3/8, which arguably is not typical as this would be the tempo of the third movement, as it creates a dance-like feel and usually the time signature would be 2/4 or 4/4 for the fourth movement.

-Despite, composers such as Stamitz using the four -movement structure of the symphony, C.PE Bach did not adhere to this new form, as in his Symphony in E minor (1759) he does not include a fourth movement and instead concludes the symphony with an allegro third movement in 3/4.

*However, Bach is still able to achieve a similar impactful ending to his symphony due to his use of the Empfindsamer Stil, provoking emotion through dramatic contrasts and unexpected chromatic turns. 

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Mature Classical period

- the four-movement pattern is established, therefore the fourth movement was used to a greater extent

-Mozart’s Symphony No.41 (1788), there is an allegro finale, which is typical, however Mozart includes a fugato texture in the coda, which was unusual as Classical music was predominantly homophonic.

-in Mozart’s Prague Symphony (1786), he doesn’t include a fourth movement, which shows that not all composers were moving at such a pace during this period.

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-Symphony No.104 (1795).

-At this point sonata form, had been established and was mainly used in the first movement, however in Haydn’s Symphony No.104, sonata form is used in the fourth movement.

-Typical Classical features of this movements include its’ tempo being fast, it is in 2/4 and begins in the original major key of the first movement.

-Although, Haydn was able to take advantage of this form and play with it humorously seen through the sudden bar of silence at bar 166.

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-Mendelssohn’s approach was slightly different.

-Although Mendelssohn was a conservative composer and adhered to many of the Classical features, in his Italian Symphony (1833), there are some significant changes to the fourth movement

-the fourth movement begins in the tonic minor, which creates a different, more solemn atmosphere for the opening of the finale.

-this fourth movement is titled as an extremely fast Saltarello, which is an Italian folk dance, used to reflect Mendelssohn trip to Italy.

-The structure of this movement is loosely in sonata form, but Mendelssohn includes a false recapitulation at bar 179.

-Mendelssohn was able to manipulate the fourth movement to suit his needs of portraying his trip to Italy.

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Late Romantic period

-In the fifth movement of Symphonie Fantastique, the orchestra are used to a great extent with extended techniques such as trilling in the woodwind, col legno, pizzicato and tremolando in the strings.

-not all composers went down the path of programme music, and instead remained with the typical four movement structure, such as Brahms in his Symphony No.4 (1885). Although Brahms’ harmony and motivic working is complex and sophisticated he was, a relatively conservative composer. He was very interested in the music of the past and in the finale of this symphony he manages to incorporate the Baroque idea of a passacaglia.

*typically allegro and in 2/4. However, it does begin in a minor key, it has multiple changes in time signatures throughout and rather than resolving to E major, the symphony concludes in E minor.

-Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony (1893) ends in B minor, despite modulations to major keys, which leaves the symphony in quiet despair.

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