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    The Humor of Beethoven Piano Sonata op 14 no 2 in G Major

    前言: 當我們常說Haydn的性格充滿幽默,反影在他的音樂裡時,可曾想過,脾氣火爆的貝多芬,在為音樂時也常常偷借前人,有時是 Mozart,有時是 Haydn 的寫作風格。所以,貝先生的作品,有時都幾幽默。讓我們看看一例。


    The opening of the sonata op. 14 no. 2 in G major always obsesses listeners for four measures are mistakenly inserted in a wrong place. This illusion largely lies in the use of a series of synopated motive, chopping the metrical accent of the time. The  right set of such witty effect by the melodic figure falling on the structural on-beat is attained in measure 5.

    Any attempt by the performer to clear the matter up immediately by accentuating the first beats in the first four measures would be misguided. It would not only spoil Beethoven’s jest, it would also ruin his intentionaly designed coda. Indeed Beethoven sets the witty rhythmic pattern of the main motive right straight in this cautious, yet elabortive, concluding passage to expressive.

    Listeners are not only no longer puzzled by the beat, but also the expansive possibilities inherent in the motive. The original joke is in the style of Haydn, but the cantibile coda is of Beethoven’s own. But one would see as if Beethoven is indebted to Mozart for the practice of using the coda to set right the previous eccentricities of the materials.

    The first movment has a development section surprisingly long and elaborate for so modest a work, as long as the exposition. It also includes a Haydnean habit of false recapitulation which fools no one since it is in E Flat Major. The cadential theme of the exposition, marked ‘dolce’, has a memorably popular character and is supported by an intensely expressive bass line.

    The Andante slow movement is a set of variations in an ostentatiously simple style that recalls many of the modest sets by Mozart. The ending is a joke in Haydnean style. It consists of a sudden crash of ff after pp chords with rests. This chicanery is seen in Haydn’s sonata in G major Hob. XVI/40, where soft staccato single notes are interrupted, forte, by a brusque arpeggiated seven-note chord. Perhaps, Haydn’s humor was so down to the earth on his day that Beethoven could easily adapt to mock the courty dilettantes silently.

    The finale, a Scherzo marked ‘Allegro assai’, also opens by fooling the listeners as to the place of the mearure line. It is in pastoral, even rustic style, with drone bagpipe effects. Stylistically it is akin to some of the more humorous bagtelles that Beethvoen wrote both early and late in life.


    David Leung (theorydavid)

    2011-09-20 (published)

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