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Sonata for violin and piano in F major, R. 6


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Hello, fellow composers!

This is my first topic and first submission for a review of one of my compositions and I'm very excited to share this with you.

I work with pen and paper, using a piano for the most part, and only in the later stages of each section of sketchwork do I continue refining the sketches through the Dorico interface. I usually expect to record this with professional musicians in some way or another, so I never spend any time fiddling with the digital performance of the work, to be honest. Because of this, the performance is decidedly robotic, but it still manages to give you an idea of the work as a whole, and I'm sure that your ear and imagination are good enough to be able to realise what it could sound like if it were performed by real, living musicians. (The audio attached is produced by Dorico running NotePerformer 3.)

This work was recorded in January 2020 for Signum Classics with Kerenza Peacock (violin) and Huw Watkins (piano) at the Britten Studio in Snape Maltings. Sadly, I can't yet share the audios from that session, since the album will be released in March 2021 for the label's catalogue.

Sonata for violin and piano in F major, R. 6
   I.     Adagio — Allegro assai
   II.    Andante sostenuto
   III.   Allegro con fuoco
   IV.   Adagio ed intimo

In my next posts I hope to share work with you that is still in progress so that any input from you will definitely have more weight than at this later stage in the work's life.

Oh, I almost forgot! If you're interested in having a score to follow, or if I'm lucky enough that you'd like to perform this work in a recital or concert, please send me a message and I will happily oblige.

Wishing you all the best,
Rodrigo Ruiz

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Hi Rodrigo!  Your Allegro assai movement is quite dynamic and dramatic because of it!  I like how the softer parts of the movement give your music a sense of breath and the louder chordal hits accentuate it.  It's funny - google translate tells me that "Allegro assai" means "very happy" - is that really the literal translation?  The 3rd movement is quite exciting as well!  Obviously, my favorite parts of your sonata are the faster movements.

Overall there is no shortage of virtuosic displays from both the piano and and violin (although I wouldn't class this sonata as among the most difficult in the repertoire which isn't necessarily a bad thing).  I almost can't find anything wrong with this but if I had to be picky I'd say I wish there was more darkness to the slow movements.  Thank you for a great listening experience!

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Hi @PaperComposer! Thank you very much for listening and reviewing this sonata.

About the Italian tempo marking (Allegro assai) I will clarify. You are right in saying that allegro means 'happy', but that's only one (the most common) of its meanings. A more technical meaning of the word, within the context of musical compositions, is 'fast', or to quote the definition that Treccani gives: 'Componimento musicale con un ritmo abbastanza rapido' (Musical composition with a fairly fast rhythm). Let's ignore the fact that 'pulse' would have been better than 'rhythm' in the definition, but you can't expect them to be experts on music. Assai, on the other hand, stands for 'enough' (as in 'sufficient'). Therefore, a more accurate translation of Allegro assai is 'fast enough' or 'sufficiently fast'. I hope that helps.

As far as the technical difficulties of the sonata, you are right in thinking it is not 'the most difficult in the repertoire', but its difficulty is taken up a notch because of the scordatura of the G string down a whole step. In other words, the bottom string has been tuned to F, instead of the traditional G. This makes for some nasty mind games for the violinist. Kerenza Peacock, with whom we recorded this work in January, made an amazing job at making this sound easy, but the opening of the first movement is beastly. That being said, I never strive for difficulty but for musical cohesion and dramatic narrative. You are also right in observing that, even though the sonata is filled with intense, fast music, and even some slow introspective minor moments, it is generally uplifting.

Again, I'm very grateful for your interest and time spent listening to this work.

Wishing you the very best,

Rodrigo

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Hi Rodrigo, I quite liked this piece. Some comments regarding each movement (seeing as they all have a distinct quality):

The first movement has a strong sense of unity. Really great writing here. Musically I thought the Allegro assai was a little weak compared to the superb other movements. The second movement I liked because of its harmonies (they have a sort of longing feeling to them), the constant struggle between minor and major. The third movement was a great stormy movement, probably my favorite movement of the piece. The fourth movement seemed off at first, I had suspected a fast last movement. But it actually works very well. Melodically I think this is the strongest movement.

Overall, nice job! If there is an overarching critical note I could make, I'd say I don't feel the four movements are connected very much. Maybe this was by design, and it's not incorrect, but I personally like a piece to be one story, regardless of multiple movements.

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About the Italian tempo marking (Allegro assai) I will clarify. You are right in saying that allegro means 'happy', but that's only one (the most common) of its meanings. A more technical meaning of the word, within the context of musical compositions, is 'fast', or to quote the definition that Treccani gives: 'Componimento musicale con un ritmo abbastanza rapido' (Musical composition with a fairly fast rhythm). Let's ignore the fact that 'pulse' would have been better than 'rhythm' in the definition, but you can't expect them to be experts on music. Assai, on the other hand, stands for 'enough' (as in 'sufficient'). Therefore, a more accurate translation of Allegro assai is 'fast enough' or 'sufficiently fast'. I hope that helps.

Thanks for clearing that up!  Perhaps my weakest area in music is all those foreign language terms musicians are expected to know.  I still haven't bought myself a musical dictionary of terms.  Are you bilingual?

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As far as the technical difficulties of the sonata, you are right in thinking it is not 'the most difficult in the repertoire', but its difficulty is taken up a notch because of the scordatura of the G string down a whole step. In other words, the bottom string has been tuned to F, instead of the traditional G. This makes for some nasty mind games for the violinist. Kerenza Peacock, with whom we recorded this work in January, made an amazing job at making this sound easy, but the opening of the first movement is beastly. That being said, I never strive for difficulty but for musical cohesion and dramatic narrative. You are also right in observing that, even though the sonata is filled with intense, fast music, and even some slow introspective minor moments, it is generally uplifting.

I guess I should have known that there could be alternate tunings on the rest of the string instruments and not just guitar!  Is there a scordatura tuning for each of the other 3 strings instruments?  Or other alternate tunings that re-tune the other strings besides just the lowest one?  It might help me with writing a Piano Quartet I've been working on.

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Again, I'm very grateful for your interest and time spent listening to this work.

You're welcome - I enjoyed it!

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3 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

Thanks for clearing that up!  Perhaps my weakest area in music is all those foreign language terms musicians are expected to know.  I still haven't bought myself a musical dictionary of terms.

No worries, @PaperComposer! It's always good to have some reliable resources around (like the Oxford Dictionary of Music, to name but one).

3 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

Are you bilingual?

I'm multilingual and speak English, Spanish, Italian, French and some German.

3 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

Is there a scordatura tuning for each of the other 3 strings instruments?  Or other alternate tunings that re-tune the other strings besides just the lowest one?  It might help me with writing a Piano Quartet I've been working on.

In theory all string instruments can be asked to tune their strings differently, but the violin probably gets asked to play with scordatura the most often of them all. If you're planning on using scordatura, make sure you have a string player to consult. I worked closely with Kerenza Peacock, who commissioned the work from me, and she was an absolute wonder and really helped me understand the possibilities that this particular scordatura offered, as well as some of the things to steer clear of.

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7 hours ago, DirkH said:

The first movement has a strong sense of unity. Really great writing here. Musically I thought the Allegro assai was a little weak compared to the superb other movements. The second movement I liked because of its harmonies (they have a sort of longing feeling to them), the constant struggle between minor and major. The third movement was a great stormy movement, probably my favorite movement of the piece. The fourth movement seemed off at first, I had suspected a fast last movement. But it actually works very well. Melodically I think this is the strongest movement.

Thanks for listening, @DirkH You have expressed a very accurate description of the work. I completely agree with your view that the first movement is weaker compared to the rest of the sonata. It was the first one I wrote and a whole year passed before I started the other movements, with a lot of growth in between. So, even if I did go back and rewrite a lot of the first movement, it still seems the least accomplished of the four.

7 hours ago, DirkH said:

Overall, nice job! If there is an overarching critical note I could make, I'd say I don't feel the four movements are connected very much. Maybe this was by design, and it's not incorrect, but I personally like a piece to be one story, regardless of multiple movements.

In a way it is true that the movements are not very much connected—not at first glance. I realise you don't have a score, and you've listened to this work for the first time. I would feel the same way in your place. The work is, however, shares deep connections, far too many to discuss here. In fact, I would dare say motivic relations (or Das Thema, as Beethoven called it) inform every bar of the sonata.

I feel honoured you took the time to listen and to comment. Thank you, again.

All the best,

Rodrigo

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In theory all string instruments can be asked to tune their strings differently, but the violin probably gets asked to play with scordatura the most often of them all. If you're planning on using scordatura, make sure you have a string player to consult. I worked closely with Kerenza Peacock, who commissioned the work from me, and she was an absolute wonder and really helped me understand the possibilities that this particular scordatura offered, as well as some of the things to steer clear of.

Thanks for the info!  I will probably opt out of using scordatura for cello in my Piano Quartet for the moment.

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First off, let me say that this is an excellent piece and it was a pleasure to listen to, so thank you for that. It’s good to know that people are still writing in a Classical/Romantic idiom and that performers are still commissioning such works. It gives me some hope for the future.

Some notes:

  • In my first play-through, I thought the first movement was in sonata form. But when I went back to analyze it, I found that it is not. While it seems to follow sonata form in its broad outline (there is a slow introduction, a first theme, a second theme, a developmental section, and a sort of recapitulation), the details are anything but conventional. The first and second themes, for example, are both in the same key (F major), and the music that kicks off the “development” section, practically a theme in its own right, returns in the coda (transposed from Ab minor to the tonic). The “recapitulation,” if it really is one, seems to be an apotheosis or rhapsody of the various themes rather than a simple restatement. In the end, I don’t know what form this is, but I like it. And I don’t know if you started with a sonata form and changed things around, or if you just followed your artistic inclinations and ended up with something close to a sonata form, but either way, the results are refreshingly original. You’re obviously someone who knows the rules and is consciously choosing to break them.
  • The second movement begins with an outline of a diminished chord in a contour that Wagner was particularly fond of (especially in his earlier operas), so it’s only appropriate that this section has the feel of a recitative about it. The diminished theme is then transformed into a major key for the ensuing “aria” which, appropriately enough, is accompanied by a pattern frequently found in Schubert’s lieder (not to mention bel canto opera).
  • I think the second movement ends a little too early, but there’s an interesting consequence to its brevity: it makes the second movement sound like a prelude leading into the third movement. Or, to carry through with the aria analogy, it makes the second movement sound like a cantabile to the third movement’s cabaletta. If we think of the second and third movements as a double-aria, then we end up with a traditional, three-movement sonata: Adagio-Allegro (I), Cavatina (Cantabile and Cabaletta) (II), and Adagio ed intimo (III).
  • Interestingly enough, the descending scale that opens the fourth movement is a transformation of the diminished theme that opens the second movement (with octave displacement taking the place of the anguished leap of a sixth). I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it’s effective.
  • Even though you say that the fourth movement was composed last, it’s actually my least favorite movement. My favorites are the first and the third.
  • The earlier movements call to mind Schumann and Beethoven (particularly the motoric drive of the third movement), while the fourth movement gives the work a sentimental, almost elegiac quality typical of Brahms.
  • Stylistically, I think this piece could pass for something written in the nineteenth century. If you had told me it was by Raff, I would have believed it. Whether it stands alongside the greats like Beethoven, Schumann, and Dvorak is another matter, but the potential is there, so keep writing.

Again, this was a great pleasure to listen to, so thanks for sharing (I actually listened to it several times, and always found new details to appreciate). I hope you will post more pieces in the future, but you’re also welcome to message me about any new works you’ve written – I would be happy to review them. Thanks!

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It's a lovely piece. But there's one big problem here, playability. The violin cannot play F3, and there are a nmber F3s in your piece. The lowest possible note on the violin is G3. You may have to rewrite some passages or transpose the whole thing up a major 2nd. Otherwise there's no way a violinist can play the violin part properly.

Also, at the beginning of the first movement, the violin is playing two voices at once. That is very difficult for a single player to execute because there's so many moving notes and double stops it will be a complete mess when performed. That passage can only easily be played by two violins.

 

It looks like like you've had this played by a seasoned violinist, but my questions still pertain. Did they tune their violin differently to play this piece?

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21 minutes ago, ilv said:

It's a lovely piece. But there's one big problem here, playability. The violin cannot play F3, and there are a nmber F3s in your piece. The lowest possible note on the violin is G3. You may have to rewrite some passages or transpose the whole thing up a major 2nd. Otherwise there's no way a violinist can play the violin part properly.

The fourth string of the violin has been tuned down a whole step to F.

21 minutes ago, ilv said:

Also, at the beginning of the first movement, the violin is playing two voices at once. That is very difficult for a single player to execute because there's so many moving notes and double stops it will be a complete mess when performed. That passage can only easily be played by two violins.

Professional violinists are more than capable of playing (and sustaining) two notes at once, and they are often called upon to do so in the solo repertoire. See, for example, the opening measures of the Kreutzer sonata.

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22 minutes ago, Vogel said:

The fourth string of the violin has been tuned down a whole step to F.

Professional violinists are more than capable of playing (and sustaining) two notes at once, and they are often called upon to do so in the solo repertoire. See, for example, the opening measures of the Kreutzer sonata.

 

I agree with this. That being said the stuff at the beginning of the first movement sounded so difficult that I wouldn't bother trying (this comes from a violinist who has played for quite awhile). It's okay to write double stops and so on, but you have to be careful not to make it overly clunky to play. I did listen to the beginning again. Yeah, the opening doublestops are possible but just really tough. The rest of the double stops are very much playable. I was not initially aware that the G string was tuned down. Thans for mentioning.

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Hi @ilv!

Thank you for posting and sharing your impressions. I see that @Vogel has already replied to some of them, but I would like to add to what he's said to enrich the conversation.

On 7/22/2020 at 11:12 PM, ilv said:

I agree with this. That being said the stuff at the beginning of the first movement sounded so difficult that I wouldn't bother trying (this comes from a violinist who has played for quite awhile). It's okay to write double stops and so on, but you have to be careful not to make it overly clunky to play. I did listen to the beginning again. Yeah, the opening doublestops are possible but just really tough. The rest of the double stops are very much playable. I was not initially aware that the G string was tuned down. Thans for mentioning.

I agree with you that the beginning is fiendishly difficult, and probably the technically toughest passage in the sonata for the instrument. Even if the general idea and the melodic contour of the passage remained roughly the same since its initial conception, it did go through important revisions with the help and advice of violinist Kerenza Peacock. She was very excited to play it and, even if it is still very difficult, a professional violinist can play it, although not without having to practice quite a bit. (I'm sure there are more difficult passages in the violin repertoire that get performed every year all over the world).

That being said, my main goal was not to make the passage difficult, but to achieve a certain effect, something which I'd like to think manages to be portrayed by this passage as it was finally printed on the page. I wish I could share our recording now with you, so that you could hear the amazing job that Kerenza did with it.

Best,

Rodrigo

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Hi @Vogel!

Allow me to begin by thanking you for going out of your way to spend some time with the music, both through listening and through a careful analysis of the score. Your comments are very well informed and very helpful.

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

First off, let me say that this is an excellent piece and it was a pleasure to listen to, so thank you for that. It’s good to know that people are still writing in a Classical/Romantic idiom and that performers are still commissioning such works. It gives me some hope for the future.

I must say that in my time at the conservatory and music school, I was led to believe by the faculty (and others) that my music, being written in a Classical—Romantic idiom, as you've correctly pointed out, would not be interesting for performers or the music industry in general. Thankfully, I have found that to be far from the truth. (Although it is true, and I have inside information, that many composition competition  panels throw tonal music scores to the trashcan without even looking at them.)

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

In my first play-through, I thought the first movement was in sonata form. But when I went back to analyze it, I found that it is not. While it seems to follow sonata form in its broad outline (there is a slow introduction, a first theme, a second theme, a developmental section, and a sort of recapitulation), the details are anything but conventional. The first and second themes, for example, are both in the same key (F major), and the music that kicks off the “development” section, practically a theme in its own right, returns in the coda (transposed from Ab minor to the tonic). The “recapitulation,” if it really is one, seems to be an apotheosis or rhapsody of the various themes rather than a simple restatement. In the end, I don’t know what form this is, but I like it. And I don’t know if you started with a sonata form and changed things around, or if you just followed your artistic inclinations and ended up with something close to a sonata form, but either way, the results are refreshingly original. You’re obviously someone who knows the rules and is consciously choosing to break them.

Ah! Yes, the old dilemma about sonata form. I found your observations keen, and some of your conclusions very interesting and novel. All of them have some validity, of course. I can only say that I was indeed thinking of sonata form. Now, using the term 'traditional sonata form' is to walk into quicksand. Let me just say that the strategies that I used to lay out the sonata form were all found in real musical examples in the works of Mozart and Beethoven, primarily.

What might have thrown you off for a while is the fact that the first theme, in a typically Mozartean fashion, is comprised of two very different modules (if only on the surface, for there are many underlying connections between them). Therefore, b. 28 is obviously the beginning of the exposition proper with what we could call Theme 1.A, and then comes Theme 1.B at b. 40, which leads back into a second (variated) iteration of Theme 1.A. As you can see, our first theme is actually in ternary form itself (1.A – 1.B – 1.A'), which is exactly what Mozart does in his E minor Violin Sonata (K. 304), albeit at a much smaller scale (20 bars in all, compared to my 32 bars). I had to extend to 32 bars in order to balance the introduction which is fairly substantial. And this exposition is itself balanced in the recapitulation by the abridgment (or omission) of several modules—which, again, Mozart does. Bars 59-68 are a transition into the second theme which is in the surprising key of A-flat minor, which closes at b. 77 with a PAC in A-flat minor. Why the key? Well, the end of the Introduction cadences in that same key (b. 23) before modulating to F major, and the initial motion of the opening bars of the sonata the violin clearly delineates F-G-A flat. Not only that, but when the upper voice leaves the F pedal, the first note it touches is A flat. There are plenty more, but you get the point.

The development proper (b. 85) goes through various modules before reaching the recapitulation (b. 118), which uses the first theme's 1.B module, rather than module 1.A—yes, you guessed it: Mozart also does this. This brings novelty, especially since a lot of module 1.A is used in the development. It also helps to balance the quite extensive first theme in the exposition, as I said before. Module 1.A (technically 1.A') still makes an appearance at b. 126. The rest is pretty straightforward, paralleling the exposition, until we reach a bar of silence which leaves the music hanging on a dominant seventh chord. After that we get a coda to further balance the introduction out (b. 171—end of movement).

In the end, the form is only secondary, and what's important is the effect and overall impression and proportions of the movement or work. I'm glad you found this particular model 'refreshingly original.'

By the way, are you familiar with (or have you read) 'Elements of Sonata Theory' by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy? I had never found a study of sonata form based so thoroughly in facts and that looked at the repertoire itself trying to understand it without trying to force it into a pre-conceived idea of form—something which we know came after the fact, since a definition of sonata form is not to be found anywhere in any book or writing in Beethoven's or Mozart's time. I highly recommend this book (along with a careful analysis of the repertoire, leaving behind old ideas) to anyone interested in understanding sonata form as it was understood in the time of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

The second movement begins with an outline of a diminished chord in a contour that Wagner was particularly fond of (especially in his earlier operas), so it’s only appropriate that this section has the feel of a recitative about it. The diminished theme is then transformed into a major key for the ensuing “aria” which, appropriately enough, is accompanied by a pattern frequently found in Schubert’s lieder (not to mention bel canto opera).

Yes, you're right. I will only add that this diminished chord contour does not come out of the blue (you didn't imply that, by the way). It is taken directly from the First Theme (module 1.A) of the first movement. Three descending notes by step, followed by a leap upward in the opposite direction; the context here is a diminished chord, whereas in the first movement it was a major chord. (The module 1.A from the first movement was itself taken from the introduction—look at the violin in b. 17–18).

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

I think the second movement ends a little too early, but there’s an interesting consequence to its brevity: it makes the second movement sound like a prelude leading into the third movement. Or, to carry through with the aria analogy, it makes the second movement sound like a cantabile to the third movement’s cabaletta. If we think of the second and third movements as a double-aria, then we end up with a traditional, three-movement sonata: Adagio-Allegro (I), Cavatina (Cantabile and Cabaletta) (II), and Adagio ed intimo (III).

That is exactly the feeling I wanted to convey, Vogel. The second movement, although a movement on its own, is on the verge of feeling as an introduction to the third movement. Or, as you've pointed out, 'a cantabile ['arioso' might be closer?] to the third movement's cabaletta. Again, the theme of the third movement is taken from the very beginning of the work. Remember the first three notes of the violin? F—G—A flat. These are precisely the notes that the piano lingers on if you where to take the bones out of the flesh, if you take my meaning. E–F (x2) followed by G—A flat (x2). Furthermore, the ascent up to D flat (b. 3–5) is exactly what the violin does in the opening bars of the sonata.

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

Interestingly enough, the descending scale that opens the fourth movement is a transformation of the diminished theme that opens the second movement (with octave displacement taking the place of the anguished leap of a sixth). I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it’s effective.

You're starting to catch the motivic relations. Now that I've pointed out some more of them, you might be able to see yet others. It was definitely intentional.

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

Even though you say that the fourth movement was composed last, it’s actually my least favorite movement. My favorites are the first and the third.

I couldn't pick between them—what father can choose one amongst his sons as a favourite? But you are welcome to pick 😉

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

Stylistically, I think this piece could pass for something written in the nineteenth century. If you had told me it was by Raff, I would have believed it. Whether it stands alongside the greats like Beethoven, Schumann, and Dvorak is another matter, but the potential is there, so keep writing.

Thank you for the encouragement, Vogel. There's much I need to work on, definitely. One step at a time!

On 7/22/2020 at 6:25 PM, Vogel said:

Again, this was a great pleasure to listen to, so thanks for sharing (I actually listened to it several times, and always found new details to appreciate). I hope you will post more pieces in the future, but you’re also welcome to message me about any new works you’ve written – I would be happy to review them. Thanks!

The pleasure is all mine! I'd be happy to keep a conversation going. I greatly enjoy sharing ideas with you. I will definitely take you up on that and send you new works for you to review. Please feel free to send me your things as well, if you'd like.

(May I ask you if you write music criticism for a magazine or other publication? You have the chops for it and you write in a very engaging way.)

Thank you a thousand times!

Best,

Rodrigo

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21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

I must say that in my time at the conservatory and music school, I was led to believe by the faculty (and others) that my music, being written in a Classical—Romantic idiom, as you've correctly pointed out, would not be interesting for performers or the music industry in general.

I was led to believe the same thing. Well, "led to believe" might be a bit of an overstatement, as I never actually believed it myself. But I had to accept that all the people in charge of the musical establishment believed it, so I had no choice but to go along with it to some extent. But I spent a lot of my time in college/conservatory supplementing my learning in the library and the practice room, because what they teach you in school these days doesn't amount to much. 

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

Ah! Yes, the old dilemma about sonata form. I found your observations keen, and some of your conclusions very interesting and novel. All of them have some validity, of course. I can only say that I was indeed thinking of sonata form. Now, using the term 'traditional sonata form' is to walk into quicksand. Let me just say that the strategies that I used to lay out the sonata form were all found in real musical examples in the works of Mozart and Beethoven, primarily.

Admittedly, I do shudder a little when typing things like "traditional sonata form," because I know that the "tradition" is an invention of later theorists, and many pieces of the period don't actually conform to the models. But it's fun to approach pieces with the models in mind if those models seem to have informed the creative process, as in this case.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

What might have thrown you off for a while is the fact that the first theme, in a typically Mozartean fashion, is comprised of two very different modules (if only on the surface, for there are many underlying connections between them). Therefore, b. 28 is obviously the beginning of the exposition proper with what we could call Theme 1.A, and then comes Theme 1.B at b. 40, which leads back into a second (variated) iteration of Theme 1.A. As you can see, our first theme is actually in ternary form itself (1.A – 1.B – 1.A'), which is exactly what Mozart does in his E minor Violin Sonata (K. 304), albeit at a much smaller scale (20 bars in all, compared to my 32 bars). I had to extend to 32 bars in order to balance the introduction which is fairly substantial. And this exposition is itself balanced in the recapitulation by the abridgment (or omission) of several modules—which, again, Mozart does. Bars 59-68 are a transition into the second theme which is in the surprising key of A-flat minor, which closes at b. 77 with a PAC in A-flat minor.

Ah, that makes sense. I was interpreting the Ab minor theme as the beginning of the development, but it does make more sense as the second theme of the exposition, since it returns in the recapitulation in the tonic. And I can see the similarity to K. 304 now that you point it out. It's interesting how Mozart turns the whole process on its head by ending the exposition with Themes 1A and B in the key of the relative major, which is sort of the inverse of what's "supposed" to happen in the recapitulation. You do something similar in your sonata, beginning the development with a statement of 1A in the key of Ab minor (the key of the second theme), but with the harmonic instability that follows, the effect is markedly different.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

The development proper (b. 85) goes through various modules before reaching the recapitulation (b. 118), which uses the first theme's 1.B module, rather than module 1.A

I think this, plus the abrupt return to F major at m. 118, is what really makes it work. By the time we realize we're in the recap, it's already half over. There's a sense of continuous development as well as a sense of something familiar from the development until the end of the movement.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

By the way, are you familiar with (or have you read) 'Elements of Sonata Theory' by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy?

I haven't read it, but I've read other books by these authors (Darcy's study of Das Rheingold is quite illuminating). Elements of Sonata Theory is one of those books that I've been meaning to read for a long time but have yet to get around to. I'll try to procure a copy.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

Yes, you're right. I will only add that this diminished chord contour does not come out of the blue (you didn't imply that, by the way). It is taken directly from the First Theme (module 1.A) of the first movement. Three descending notes by step, followed by a leap upward in the opposite direction; the context here is a diminished chord, whereas in the first movement it was a major chord. (The module 1.A from the first movement was itself taken from the introduction—look at the violin in b. 17–18).

Ah! The connections are becoming more evident.

Vln_sonat.png.76675bbf296610870c824c207d34c403.png

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

The pleasure is all mine! I'd be happy to keep a conversation going.

Me too. It is a great pleasure to discuss music with like-minded individuals.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

I greatly enjoy sharing ideas with you. I will definitely take you up on that and send you new works for you to review.

Please do.

As for me, I haven't written anything in a long time, but I might try composing something in the Classical style in the coming weeks. I feel inspired by all the well-crafted music I'm discovering here at this site, including your own excellent violin sonata.

21 hours ago, Rodrigo Ruiz said:

(May I ask you if you write music criticism for a magazine or other publication? You have the chops for it and you write in a very engaging way.)

Thanks! But no, I'm just a librarian who studies music on the side. I have a background in music, as mentioned earlier, but after college/conservatory, I put composition on hold for a few years in order to focus on other things. I always meant to get back into it, but not until the time was right. Maybe that time is now.

Anyway, thank you again for sharing your music, and I hope to hear more in the future! Please let me know when the recording becomes commercially available.

Vln_sonata.png

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Hi @Vogel!

It's been a real pleasure chatting with you. Yes, definitely, take up composing. The right time is always 'now'. There's nothing else we have, right?

I'm sure we'll continue to have many an intellectually and artistically rewarding conversation. In the meantime, receive my very best!

 

RR

 

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Congratulations on getting this recorded, Rodrigo!  I'm happy to hear that the pandemic didn't result in the cancellation of that project.  I've previously shared my thoughts on this excellent violin sonata. The fact that much of it sounds really good even in its digital presentation speaks to the strength of the work, and we obviously share an affinity for this style. I'm glad you posted it here. People deserve to hear it.

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@pianist_1981 Thank you for your encouragement. I really appreciate it. We were very lucky, indeed, to have recorded before the pandemic broke out (at least in our part of the world). We were originally going to launch around these dates, but we've had to move it to next year. The official launch date with Signum Classics is set for 19 March 2021. 

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Nice music . thank you  Rodrigo 🙂

 

@PaperComposer

Musical Technical Terms1 ( Leopold Mozart violin school)

Prestissimo indicates the quickest tempo, and Presto Assai is almost the same. For

this rapid time a light and somewhat shorter stroke is required

Presto, means quick, and Allegro Assai is but little different.

Allegro, which, however, indicates a cheerful, though not too hurried a tempo,

especially when moderated by adjectives and adverbs, such as:

Allegro, ma non tanto, or non troppo, or moderato, which is to say that one is not to

exaggerate the speed. For this a lighter and livelier, but at the same time somewhat

more serious and rather broader bowing is demanded than in a quicker

tempo.

Allegretto is rather slower than Allegro, usually having something pleasant, charming,

neat, and playful, and much in common with the Andante. It must therefore

be performed in a pleasing, amusing, and playful manner, which pleasantness

and playfulness can be as clearly described, in this tempo as in others, by the

word Gustoso.

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