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Thread: Exposition repeats

  1. #16
    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    I prefer to hear them. It decapitates a work if you ignore the composers wish and leave them out, regardless of how familiar we are with them. I have Karl Bohm conducting the Jupiter symphony by Mozart and he leaves out the repeat in the opening movement and it's far too abrupt and swift without it...
    Agree; the repeats were put there for a reason and to tamper with a score is heresy IMO!! I always regarded Schubert's 9th ('Der Grosse') as being 'burdened' by repeats (responsible for that 'heavenly length') but the more I get to know the work the more I love every note, repeated or not. I suspect it was structural reasons which motivated composers to use the repeat/da capo. You find them in music much earlier than the 'classical period'. And, of course, the Da Capo aria in opera is a significant structural feature.

    I'd say repeats have shaped even popular music today. Take the strophic song - it has a 'refrain' and a 'chorus' - and that 'chorus' is a repeat. The simple strophic song is built on the premise of the repeat. The modified strophic plays with that a little more loosely and then when something is "through-composed" it no longer relies upon the repeat, but moves into new territory. Think of Cole Porter's song, "I've got you under my skin". This is not relying on the repeat. Linda Ronstadt once said this song was like a cotton reel which had fallen onto the ground and unwound and it was hard to pick it up again.

    The song goes: 'I've got you under my skin..' - let's call this A - repeated after another line, "so deep in my heart, you're really a part" - repeat A "I've got you under my skin" , THEN
    "I would sacrifice anything come what may" (let's call this B) 'for the sake of having you near" - repeated, "in spite of a warning bell that comes in the night and repeats again in my ear", THEN
    "don't you know little fool you never can win" - let's call this C
    "use your mentality; wake up to reality" - let's call this D;
    "but each time ...just the thought of you makes me stop before I begin" - let's call this E
    then back to A, "I've got you under my skin". The orchestral 'riff' plays A-B-C-A. Then the pattern is repeated: C, D, E, C, A.

    Here's the song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1AHec7sfZ8

    So, repeats are structural and necessary and the extent to which they are ignored/extended/changed is a measure of a composer's innovation as well. (But these are not necessarily "Exposition Repeats", which are the subject of this thread!!)
    Last edited by CountenanceAnglaise; Apr-02-2013 at 01:42.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Default Viva la repeats

    A few years ago our community orchestra performed the Schubert Ninth. Our conductor orginally wanted to cut some of the repeats, like the exposition in the first movement because of time. The orchestra revolted and we played all of the repeats. It was one of the few times we won an argument.

    Since then I have attended three performances of the work. In all cases conductor honored the repeats.
    Last edited by arpeggio; Apr-02-2013 at 01:53. Reason: typos
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    Perhaps repeats were also omitted to give those sonata allegro movements a greater sense of a continuous narrative, of a continuous psychological development. To make them a little more tone poem-like so to speak. Because you woundn't have repeats in a tone poem, I guess.

    This would also make pieces of the classical period somewhat more modern in the sense that later composers like Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius, Shostakovich rarely used repeats in their symphonies or even not at all.
    "What's intended in this end section of course is a sort of, how shall I say, exhilirating immersion in total negation - which itself produces a sort of sublimity." - Brian Ferneyhough

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  6. #19
    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    A few years ago our community orchestra performed the Schubert Ninth. Our conductor orginally wanted to cut some of the repeats, like the exposition in the first movement because of time. The orchestra revolted and we played all of the repeats. It was one of the few times we won an argument.

    Since then I have attended three performances of the work. In all cases conductor honored the repeats.
    A revolting orchestra, aye? Now, that's a thing of beauty - surely!!

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  8. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    Perhaps repeats were also omitted to give those sonata allegro movements a greater sense of a continuous narrative, of a continuous psychological development. To make them a little more tone poem-like so to speak. Because you woundn't have repeats in a tone poem, I guess.

    This would also make pieces of the classical period somewhat more modern in the sense that later composers like Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius, Shostakovich rarely used repeats in their symphonies or even not at all.
    Good points. And remember that first movement sonata form came from the operatic overture and these are laden with repeats. The treatment of melodic material changed from the classical period from smaller-scale "motivic development" through to larger-scaled 'thematic transformation' - this would have affected the need for repeats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    Good points. And remember that first movement sonata form came from the operatic overture and these are laden with repeats. The treatment of melodic material changed from the classical period from smaller-scale "motivic development" through to larger-scaled 'thematic transformation' - this would have affected the need for repeats.
    The Italian overture, or sinfonia, grew into the overall three (later 4) movement structure of the symphony, not exactly the form of the first movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    This would also make pieces of the classical period somewhat more modern in the sense that later composers like Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bruckner, Sibelius, Shostakovich rarely used repeats in their symphonies or even not at all.
    There are only three repeat signs in all of Mahler's symphonies: the first movement exposition of the 1st, the second movement scherzo's beginning in the 1st, and the first movement exposition of the 6th. There was a repeat of the exposition of the second movement of the 5th, but it was taken out in revisions.

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    I think it's one of the blessings of the HIP movement that they've helped making it acceptable or even fashionable again to observe the repeats. Even Thielemann, staunch disciple of Furtwängler and Karajan, observed the repeats in his recent Beethoven cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic, and even in the Eroica and the Ninth.
    "What's intended in this end section of course is a sort of, how shall I say, exhilirating immersion in total negation - which itself produces a sort of sublimity." - Brian Ferneyhough

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  16. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    The Italian overture, or sinfonia, grew into the overall three (later 4) movement structure of the symphony, not exactly the form of the first movement.
    The exact definition is 'First Movement Sonata Form". If not, I was poorly taught and/or read the wrong books!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    The exact definition is 'First Movement Sonata Form". If not, I was poorly taught and/or read the wrong books!
    Well of course, different analysts might say different things.

    First movement form
    First movement sonata form
    Sonata form
    Sonata-allegro form

    All different names for the same thing.

  18. #26
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    The exact definition is 'First Movement Sonata Form". If not, I was poorly taught and/or read the wrong books!
    I've seen the same term a few times. But I'm a bit unclear how "first movement sonata form" differs from the sonata forms used often in slow movement and finales. Anybody?


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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I've seen the same term a few times. But I'm a bit unclear how "first movement sonata form" differs from the sonata forms used often in slow movement and finales. Anybody?
    Well a symphony does not usually start with a finale or a middle movement...

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    Apart for familiarization with the new listener, and the fact you could not listen to 'that symphony' 800 times via CD, all part of the reason those repeats are there, but....

    Also part of the deal and very much part of the plan, the loss of proportion to the overall movement / piece is, imo, very damaging to the whole.

    Prefer the repeats, without which the whole movement / work is wonkily out of proportion.

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    Maybe the habit of not observing exposition repeats came from making recordings on physical records or CDs that would only hold so many minutes of music?
    similar to Glenn Gould leaving out many repeats in the Goldberg Variations

    I always play repeats except for the traditional avoidance of them when playing a da capo section (so the audience hears material 3 times instead of 4)
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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  24. #30
    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I've seen the same term a few times. But I'm a bit unclear how "first movement sonata form" differs from the sonata forms used often in slow movement and finales. Anybody?
    I think they are more or less interchangeable but the term first arose because, IMO, the first movement set up the structural principals for the sonata or symphony overall. Some movements may be Menuet & Trio and this is different again, based as it is on the dance. Here's good old Wiki on the matter:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonata_form

    Charles Rosen seems to have been extremely influential in defining these terms! "The Classical Style" was the standard textbook when I studied Musicology.

    And another link as well:

    http://formalinquiry.wordpress.com/f...irst-movement/
    Last edited by CountenanceAnglaise; Apr-03-2013 at 06:48.

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