Res Musica 13 (2021)

Beethoven is not the subject of this issue only for the reasons given above. Music analysis is based often on Beethoven’s works, which have not lost their reference status even today. A large part of the analytical theories and terminology relating to classical music has also been developed by analysing and interpreting Beethoven’s works.

The first article in the collection is an analytical vignette, which functions as a prelude for the whole issue. It features Stephen Slottow’s analysis of François Couperin’s keyboard work “La Flore”. At first glance, the analysis of the Baroque composer’s miniature may seem quite distant from the topic of Beethoven. However, in Slottow’s approach, the Schenkerian motif and voice-leading structure are linked to show the organic integration and interaction of the two. These topics, however, have entered the practice of music analysis primarily in the canon of masterpieces, i.e., in the interpretation of works belonging to the Beethovenian tradition.

Poundie Burstein’s analytical essay focuses on the exposition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, first movement. Burstein shows that the difficulties in interpreting the formal and voice-leading structure of the work by different authors may be due to faulty analytical tools. Modern classical theories of form are based mainly on 19th-century composition practice, of which Beethoven is, of course, an important part. However, the sonata in C major belongs to Beethoven’s early mature work and is probably much more influenced by the compositional practices of the second half of the 18th century than related to the composer’s later work.

Ildar Khannanov focuses on the main theme of Beethoven’s piano sonata in C minor, Op. 13, second movement. The author endeavours to show that Beethoven’s complete compositional structures should be met in a way that does not ignore the seemingly contradictory elements that appear in these structures. The author finds that modern musical analysis, which prioritizes a structural element and tries to subordinate all other elements to it, in a sense lowers the grandeur of Beethoven’s works. The author considers it necessary to look at the main theme considering Hugo Riemann’s theories of form and the analytical practices of 20th century Russia and Eastern Europe, largely ignored in the Anglo-American analytical tradition.

The series of analyses of Beethoven’s works ends with Vadim Rakochi’s discussion of the orchestral functions of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and how they affect the form and genre of the work. Representing the classical style but incorporating Baroque elements, the work is a hybrid of form and genre, with no direct analogue in the 19th-century repertoire.

The postlude to the analytical studies is Edward Jurkowski’s essay on Anton Bruckner’s main themes and their relations to Beethoven’s formal thinking. To uncover their affinity, Jurkowski uses form models created by William Caplin to analyse classical themes. Jurkowski demonstrates that behind Bruckner’s seemingly long and shapeless themes lies a compositional logic that has much in common with classical structures, and especially with Beethoven’s music.

The only Estonian-language study somewhat contradicts the approaches described above, not only in method but also in terms of the research material. All five articles in English represent the so-called art music analysis tradition. This tradition has ignored phenomena outside art music as well as that part of art music which does not represent masterpieces, i.e., the majority of all art music. Eerik Jõks’ article, which focuses on the relation between the Estonian language and the rhythm of choral tunes, attempts to fill this gap. The research conducted by the author’s unique method shows that it is the isometrically notated choral tune that connects to the Estonian language most organically.

Kerri Kotta