Foreword


by Nadine Burke and Jay Hodgson


Welcome to Volume 2! The 2001 issue of McMaster Student Analysis Colloquium is the product of hard work undertaken by students enrolled in the MA in Music Criticism program at McMaster University under the guidance of Dr. William Renwick. The topic of this year’s colloquium is rondo and ritornello forms in Western tonal music. In each of these essays, traditional definitions for these forms that have been offered by analysts in the past are interrogated in relation to compositions by Ludwig Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georg Philipp Telemann, George Friedrich Handel and Jane Savage. Some authors found that their chosen composition conformed to what are traditionally considered to be the parameters of the rondo and the ritornello form, and others were influenced by the complexities or formal ambiguity of their composition to adopt a nuanced approach to defining the pieces that they analysed. Anne-Marie Camilleri, for example, in her exploration of the rondo movement of Ludwig Beethoven’s Sonata Eb, opus 4 no. 7, found the work to be, in her words, an “ideal model of the classical Sonata-Rondo form.” Jay Hodgson, on the other hand, also dealing with a composition by Beethoven, discovered many avenues by which to interpret the formal design of the finale movement of the Sonata Pathétique. Nicholas Donlevy, in his exploration of Mozart’s Sonata in C major, K.309, questions whether the rondo movement “is more rondo or more sonata,” while Rebekah Jordan explores the formal design of the third movement of Mozart’s Sonata in D major, K.311. Jane Clifton analyses two Fantasias by Telemann while Nadine Burke interrogates traditional notions of the rondo form in relation to three rondos composed by Jane Savage. Amy Brewitt looks at “He Was Despised” from Handel’s Messiah oratorio, and argues that the movement “supports the fundamental ideas of structure, both in formal and Schenkerian terms,” of ritornello form. Jordan Newman, who analyses “The Trumpet Shall Sound” from the same oratorio, explores the way that the omission of the ritornello during the aria’s repetition, and the disproportionate length of the ritornello itself in relation to standard models, sets “The Trumpet Shall Sound” apart from standard da capo aria form while other elements of the movement correspond to conventions for this form.

Being concomitantly enrolled in courses that deal with critical theory and cultural studies, students have adopted a range of perspectives on music to balance their analyses. Nadine Burke explores Susan McClary’s observations of theory of the rondo form by focusing on the musical narrative found in the episodes of Jane Savage’s rondos. Jay Hodgson charts motivic unities within Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique using Heinrich Schenker’s theory of Knupftechnic and Arnold Schoenberg’s concept of the Grundgestalt. Jordan Newman maps the way that two soloists, voice and trumpet interact in Handel’s “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” together symbolizing and manufacturing the relationship between the unorthodox and more traditional aspects of da capo aria form in the work. Nicholas Donlevy arrives at a similar point in his analysis of Mozart’s Sonata in C major, K. 309, finding that the movement “reflects the textbook requirements” for both sonata and rondo form. William Renwick’s Appendix that concludes this issue offers definitions of the rondo and the ritornello form that have been offered by analysts, and challenges to those explanations.

There is, of course, much more in these papers, and the manner by which each author reaches their conclusions are challenging and exciting to read. We hope that you enjoy this issue and that it proves to be useful in your future explorations of Western tonal music. As each student witnessed along their way to completing this Colloquium for you, there is still much to be learned from the wealth of music that has been passed down from centuries before. And nothing is as clear cut as A-B-A-C-A or rit-A-rit-B-rit, etc.

Jay and Nadine.

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