Haydn Sonata in F Hob. XVIF3 Bozner

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Subject: Music » A-level Music
Last updated: 15/08/2017
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I - Allegro Moderato

This is a very rare example of a Haydn Sonata. The way it is written proposes a big challenge to the performer. This challenge is not a technical one though, it is mainly interpretative.

NOTE: For the sake of this analysis, we will only consider themes, those musical compounds which are more than 8 bars long.


Theme A

The correlation between short and long notes and the way in which Haydn establishes a melodic vertical line moving upwards starting on F and ascending through the following three focal points up until A, helps the consolidation of a beautiful and firm opening for this elegant sonata.


The first theme is mainly structured in two segments one 6 and the other one 4 bars long. Irregular from its very beginnings, this work proposes two possible analysis. One, in which we consider this two segments: antecedent and consequent, and therefore we label A asa  period. Or two, in which we consider the first 6 bars a phrase on itself while the following bars represent a repetition bridging towards the episode. In the latter case, we should consider each segment a sentence. In this analysis, My choice is to go for the first scenario.

In terms of the motive itself, I’m tempted to say that the way it is written proposes a big challenge to the performer. This challenge is obviously not technical but interpretative. The profusion of focal points and the way in which they are presented, tend to bring the tempo “backwards”. It is fundamental to keep the pulse steady while levely, not stiff but consonant. We need to keep in mind that in any case, A is built up of two modules.


Following this, we encounter a modulating Episode 10 bars long. It means to destabilise the harmonic centre towards the dominant. This motive is split in two halves. The first one works as a series of 4 micro periods, where the last two are worked out as diminutions of the first two. The second half of the modulating episode is a sequence which prepares the grounds for B to be presented in it dominant form.

Theme B

Harmonically speaking B is very simple. 8 bars long and sentencial in its constituency, it works out the harmony in the same way that he worked out the rhythm in the first half of the episode. Basically, he insists on a simple cadence in the first half followed by an authentic one in its resolution. In other words, we could consider this as a harmonic augmentation.


Episode and CODA

Following B, we find a short “minore” episode in the tonic minor. It is tempting to consider this section as a theme on itself. It has its own motivic personality and it is harmonically stable. Nevertheless, there is not enough musical framing neither its length is appropriate for us to consider it a theme.


The CODA to the exposition portrays a “pedal” on the dominant which then leads to 5 last bars of authentic cadence. It is important to remark the harmonic progression states for a bar on the tonic while it accelerates on the IV and V. This tendency, which is repeated three times through these bars, strengthens the “tonic” (dominant of the piece) and contributes to stop the harmonic flow towards the final cadence.


Juan Rezzuto Classical Piano Teacher (West London)

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