A Child's View of Sonata Form
Here's a link I didn't manage to post earlier: my review of last week's very nice concert by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Which gave rise to an additional stray thought. Listening to the Dvorak 5th with a kind of open-eared enjoyment (I find that sometimes going to a concert slightly tired lets you encounter the music more honestly), I was suddenly sharply reminded of the way I reacted to sonata form when I was a child, something I haven't thought of for 30 years or more. When I was about 8 or 9 and really liked a musical theme, I found it intensely annoying that the composer felt it necessary to distort it, twist it around, or hide it so that only bits of it peeped out. I would wait for the recapitulation impatiently, rather than appreciating the transformations the theme was undergoing; it seemed like a lot of music to sit through to get to the good parts (though I did have a vague sense that it was an adult taste I might grow into). From this, it can be seen that I was anything but a musical prodigy. I suppose I would have preferred to hear the same tune over and over; not surprisingly, I was always partial to rondos. But on Thursday I was quite sure that my 8-year-old self would have loved the Fifth Symphony enough to get annoyed at Dvorak for messing up his nice themes with all that development.
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