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Thread: Cyclic form in classical works

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Cyclic form in classical works

    I read somewhere that the classical-period composers generally avoided referring directly in one movement of a work to any part of another. This seems to have been because it was considered kind of “cheating,” a cheap way to achieve unity in a multi-movement work. Nevertheless, Haydn seems to have done this once (can’t remember in what symphony) and Beethoven of course in both his 5th and 9th symphonies.

    Question: Are there other examples before Berlioz came along? Symphonies or otherwise?
    Last edited by KenOC; Dec-10-2018 at 08:11.


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    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    An example from Mozart is the Mass in C Major, K. 220, where in the Agnus Dei ("Dona nobis pacem") he reverts to the music of the Kyrie, which contributes to the Mass’ overall musical unity.

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    Senior Member Eschbeg's Avatar
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    In the Renaissance there was an entire genre of sacred music called "cyclic masses" where each of the sections is built on the melodic motif introduced in the opening Kyrie.

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    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    More examples from the classical era are Boccherini's D Minor symphony from his Op.12 collection, where the composer creates a cyclic form by using the same slow introduction for the first and the third movement, and his symphony in D Minor, Op. 37, which has extensive cyclic recurrences throughout with elements of the four bar introduction returning in the minore sections of the Minuetto, Andante amoroso and Finale.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    — CPE Bach's Concerto in C minor, Wq 43#4 is fully cyclic. The first movement comes back in the end with quotes from an internal movement too.

    — Haydn's Symphony 46 in B major brings back a scherzo theme in the finale in the way Beethoven's Fifth does.

    — There are several other examples by CPE Bach that are cyclic in more subtle ways — subtle enough that some people won't accept them.

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    Senior Member Tchaikov6's Avatar
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    Cherubini I believe used this in one of his string quartets, I think No. 6?

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    J. M. Kraus's c-minor "Symphonie funébre" VB 148.


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    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tchaikov6 View Post
    Cherubini I believe used this in one of his string quartets, I think No. 6?
    You're correct. Midway through the last movement of no. 6 there are quotations of the first 3 movements.

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    Senior Member Euler's Avatar
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    I'd say dozens of Classical-era works have cyclic elements, though most are very basic. Sticking to symphonies:

    --Wanhal's A major symphony A9 (ca. 1776) -- the end of the finale (click) recapitulates the opening of the first movement (click) with leaner orchestration

    --Haydn's D major symphony No. 31 (1765) -- at the start it's all like TOOT toottoot toot-toot and in the finale coda it's all TOOT toottoot toot-toot again... (click) vs (click)

    --As well as the Boccherini works Rick mentioned there are cyclic elements in his C minor Symphony Op. 41 (1771); also in Reicha's E-flat major Symphony Op. 41 (1803). But a more full-blooded example is

    --Dittersdorf's A major symphony gA-11 (1788) -- the finale is a rondo whose episodes recapitulate material from the first three movements (click)

    Somewhat later, you'll find more sophisticated cyclic writing in

    --Méhul's E major Symphony No. 4 (1810) -- the slow introduction to the first movement (click) being developed in the allegro finale (click)

    In Classical-era chamber music there are many more examples. Then there's cyclic writing in Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann....

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Although not strictly "Classical", JS Bach Art of the Fugue is an ultimate cyclic composition.

    All movements in Mozart's vespers are linked by the idea of recapitulating with Minor Doxology ("Gloria Patri"). Rhythmically they share the common concept: one long (or multiple slurred) note(s) followed a shorter note, "Glo-----ri-a..."

    Dixit dominus ( 2:51 )
    Confitebor tibi ( 8:14 )
    Beatus vir ( 13:03 )
    Laudate pueri ( 16:42 )
    Laudate dominum ( 20:09 )
    Magnificat anima ( 27:09 )



    Dixit dominus ( 2:54 )
    Confitebor tibi ( 7:27 )
    Beatus vir ( 12:09 )
    Laudate pueri ( 15:42 )
    Laudate dominum ( 19:19 )
    Magnificat anima ( 24:51 )



    Also the descending chromatic passages in the second themes of the outer movements of the 40th symphony exhibit cyclic tendencies.

    [ 0:54 ]
    [ 19:30 ]

    54s
    19m30s


    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    (CPE Bach does it before the final fugue of his Magnificat: VIII. Chor. Gloria Patri et Filio) Mozart's Requiem is a kind of a cyclic mass, with the Lutheran hymn motif, “When My Final Hour is At Hand” (D-C#-D-E-F) permeating the entire work. (This is how we know; Mozart's sketch of the Amen fugue ,which was discovered later, was actually intended for the Requiem, and not other works like Kyrie in D minor K341.)

    K220:
    Kyrie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsBEbWRarDg&t=15s
    Dona nobis pacem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsBEbWRarDg&t=15m29s

    K243:
    Kyrie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUPCgiOFwg4&t=20s
    Miserere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUPCgiOFwg4&t=34m25s

    K317:
    Kyrie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfs4lTs3mLI&t=45s
    Dona nobis pacem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfs4lTs3mLI&t=23m21s

    Fugue subjects of Mozart Mass in C minor K427 can combine
    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    [ 2:36 ]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFBvu95NPK4&t=2m36s


    Works like Divertimento in D major K334 (the thematic link between the D major Allegro-sonata and the D minor Andante variations) , Piano Concertos No.20 in D minor K466, No.24 in C minor K491 ('double forms' in the outer movements), and String Quartets No.15 in D minor K421 (the 4 movements linked by the similar arpeggio + hammering of 4 repeated notes, "F-A-C-C-C-C" : I / II / III / IV ), No.19 in C major K465 ("winding chromaticism in the inner parts" {see Roger Parker's notes below}), Symphony No.41 in C major (the third and the fourth movements having the C-D-F-E motif), Fantasie & Sonata in C minor K475 & 457 are notable examples. And also about liturgical works,- As I said, look into the other examples, Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento in E flat major K243, and Spatzenmesse in C major K220, which I cited in my previous comment. I'm sure I heard instances of thematic recall within Missa brevis in D major K194 as well.

    "The Fantasy by nature has a more improvisational quality than the subsequent sonata, and the pairing presents a classical correlation to the baroque combination of fantasy and fugue. Both the fantasy and sonata are linked by a focus on the bass register and octaves in the bass clef."

    Take a look at this article: < W. A. Mozart’s Phantasie in C minor, K. 475: The Pillars of Musical Structure and Emotional Response >
    "... Mozart’s Phantasie transcended the historical and stylistic moment in which it was created, thus what Mozart began was finished by Liszt in his piano composition Sonata in B-minor (1852–1853). It is perfectly reasonable that Mozart’s Phantasie served as a model to Franz Liszt for a typological definition of his one-movement sonata cycle. ..."

    and < W.A. Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor, K. 475, And the Generalization of the Lydian Principle Through Motivic Thorough-Composition >
    "... Mozart had both works published together; to the educated audiences of his day, he did not need to explicitly state the obvious point, that the Fantasy was his own investigation into the principles employed in his composition of the earlier sontata. And, as we shall see below, the Fantasy indeed picks up exactly where the Sonata leaves off. ..."

    Not only is the Fantasie remarkable for its one-movement sonata cycle structure ( Is Beethoven really being tonally ambiguous? ), it is linked with Sonata K457 in all its thematic working.

    Compare these sections, for example:
    K457: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFNzxaKQZjs&t=35m22s
    K475: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCdek-1aM0I&t=8m14s

    K457: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFNzxaKQZjs&t=35m56s
    K475: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCdek-1aM0I&t=9m42s

    Likewise, Mozart's cyclic ideas often manifest, not just in "themes" but concepts but in broad sense of "form".
    I made a post some time ago about how all the subjects of fugues in Mass in C minor K427 can "combine": Fugue subjects of Mozart Mass in C minor K427 can combine

    And the cyclic concept of Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor K491 is "double": The "double exposition" and "double solo counterpart" of the first movement are matched by the "double variations" of the last movement.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_...o._24_(Mozart)
    "... Another departure from convention is that the solo exposition does not re-state the secondary theme from the orchestral exposition. Instead, a succession of new secondary thematic material appears. Musicologist Donald Tovey considered this introduction of new material to be "utterly subversive of the doctrine that the function of the opening tutti [the orchestral exposition] was to predict what the solo had to say. ..."

    "... The pianist and musicologist Charles Rosen argues that Mozart thus created a "double exposition". Rosen also suggests that this explains why Mozart made substantial elongations to the orchestral exposition during the composition process; he needed a longer orchestral exposition to balance its "double" solo counterpart. ..."

    "... Variations II to VI are what Girdlestone and Hutchings independently describe as "double" variations. Within each variation, each of the eight-measure phrases from the theme is further varied upon its repeat ( AX-AY-BX-BY ). ...."


    String Quartet No.19 in C major K465:

    https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lecture/tr...65-dissonance/
    Mozart - Quartet in C major, K465 (Dissonance)
    Professor Roger Parker
    "... The second moment is an Andante cantabile in F major, and starts in much simpler vein: with a clear melody in the first violin. But almost immediately, in the second phrase, you'll hear again that winding chromaticism in the inner parts, and also those tell-tale repeated notes in the cello. Soon after that, the moment become obsessively concerned with a small motive that is first passed from violin to cello, and then to the inner parts; and then, again, you will hear the characteristic build up of instruments, starting (as the slow introduction did) with the cello and moving upwards. In other words, it soon becomes clear that the slow introduction to this 'dissonance' quartet has actually been a kind a mine from which material for the rest of the movements are to be taken. ..."
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Feb-19-2020 at 11:45.

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    Vivaldi, in the chamber concerto RV101 uses the minor mode largo as the subject for a theme and variations in the third movement, now allegro and in major mode. He uses this technique fairly often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I read somewhere that the classical-period composers generally avoided referring directly in one movement of a work to any part of another. This seems to have been because it was considered kind of “cheating,” a cheap way to achieve unity in a multi-movement work.
    Extraordinary. I wonder where you got that idea from. That being said, it's not easy to think of anything, and nothing in Mozart or Haydn is coming to mind. But I bet you my house, my horse and my wife that there is, and anyone who's studied the music would come up with a zillion examples. It'll be at a micro-level.

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Question: Are there other examples before Berlioz came along? Symphonies or otherwise?

    The Second Schubert piano trio maybe. I don't know if it's before Berlioz or not. I don't know anything about symphonies.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-21-2020 at 17:21.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Mozart seems most obsessive with the fragmentary motif [ 'A-G-F#-E-D' in 16th notes ] in this piece:

    Kyrie ( 1:03 )
    Gloria ( 4:55 )
    Hosanna in excelsis ( 11:51 )
    Benedictus ( 12:49 )
    Dona nobis pacem ( 16:56 )


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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Extraordinary. I wonder where you got that idea from. That being said, it's not easy to think of anything, and nothing in Mozart or Haydn is coming to mind. But I bet you my house, my horse and my wife that there is, and anyone who's studied the music would come up with a zillion examples. It'll be at a micro-level.
    As noted above: CPE Bach's Concerto in C minor, Wq 43#4 and Haydn's Symphony no. 46 are cyclic.

    An earlier example is CPE's Prussian Sonata no. 3, where the main motive of the first movement is transposed to C# minor and rhythmically altered to create the main motive of the second movement.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    As noted above: CPE Bach's Concerto in C minor, Wq 43#4 and Haydn's Symphony no. 46 are cyclic.
    An earlier example is CPE's Prussian Sonata no. 3, where the main motive of the first movement is transposed to C# minor and rhythmically altered to create the main motive of the second movement.
    Also CPE Bach's Magnificat in D major Wq. 215:
    I. Chor. Magnificat anima mea Dominum
    VIII. Chor. Gloria Patri et Filio

    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Feb-22-2020 at 22:31.

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