Session/Séance 3g: MusCan Panel 1 Thursday/jeudi 25 May 2017. 4:00 – 5:00 pm, EJB 224
Chair: AMANDA LALONDE (Mount Allison University)
1. Invertible Counterpoint and Witty Conversation in Haydn’s String Quartet in C, Op.33 No.3
James MacKay, Loyola University New Orleans
When Joseph Haydn’s Opus 33 quartets were published in 1782, his first essays in the form to appear in nearly a decade, the composer claimed that they were written in “a new and different way.” This study focuses on Haydn’s Opus 33, no. 3, nicknamed ‘The Bird’: I demonstrate how Haydn’s playful, whimsical use of contrapuntal devices (in particular, invertible counterpoint, which involves varying by registral reversal a pair of melodies to create a new harmony) differed from his learned use of the technique in the Opus 20 Sun Quartets. Haydn concluded three of the Sun Quartets with fugal finales, varying multiple subjects by invertible counterpoint, stretto and melodic inversion, but generally avoided such display in ‘The Bird,’ instead adopting a jocular use of counterpoint while varying brief imitative passages within an otherwise predominantly homophonic texture. This study, building on the contrapuntal concepts of Schoenberg, Patricia Carpenter and Peter Schubert, will illustrate how Haydn uses invertible counterpoint sparingly and strategically in the outer movements of ‘The Bird’ to contribute to a sense of musical development, to evoke a conversational effect, to build rhythmic tension, and to create textural density and intensity. These movements display Haydn’s conversational use of counterpoint, illustrating his efforts to incorporate textural elements of Baroque contrapuntal technique into a truly Classical musical language.
2. The Agency of the Cello in Mozart’s String Quartet in B-flat major, K.589
Stephanie Mayville, McGill University
This paper unravels the conundrum of the prominent, yet inconsistently treated cello in Mozart’s String Quartet in B- flat major, K.589. The piece was written for Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia and an avid cellist (Parker, 1993); it follows that Mozart would compose an interesting cello part that serves a purpose beyond presenting the bassline. This paper investigates the degree to which Mozart took the player’s ability into consideration while composing and how this affects the ease of execution of the part, a parameter often overlooked in scholarship. Using Caplin’s theory of Classical form (1998) and Klorman’s theory of agency (2016), this paper analyzes the quartet’s small and large scale structures and examines how the cello’s agency acts upon them and the parts of the other instruments. The paper sheds light on the configuration of passages of rests and of notes, as well as the alternation of registers in the part according to Le Guin’s method of kinesthesia in music (2006). The playability of the cello part influences and dictates how the Allegro movement in particular unfolds and has implications on the functional role and register of the upper instruments. Examination of the manuscript paper and Mozart’s dire financial situation at the time of composition explains why the cello is only prominent in the first two movements of the work, resuming its traditional role as the bassline in the second half (Tyson, 1975).