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Rethinking Mendelssohn$
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Benedict Taylor

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190611781.001.0001

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Mendelssohn and Sonata Form

Mendelssohn and Sonata Form

The Case of Op. 44 No. 2

(p.185) 8 Mendelssohn and Sonata Form
Rethinking Mendelssohn
Benedict Taylor
Oxford University Press

This chapter re-examines the opening movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E minor, Op. 44 No. 2 (1837), a movement that formed the focus of a pioneering article by Friedhelm Krummacher from 1972, which sought to establish a series of theses concerning Mendelssohn’s sonata practice. Despite its qualities, Krummacher’s reading appears severely limited nowadays from the perspective of the New Formenlehre, with the most crucial elements of the movement’s design neglected in his account. This chapter offers a new analysis of Mendelssohn’s paradigmatic quartet movement and a critique of the historical contingency of any such analytical method. The concluding section offers, in turn, some brief, updated theses on Mendelssohn’s mature sonata practice. Ultimately, the chapter argues for the need for a new account of Mendelssohn’s instrumental music for the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Felix Mendelssohn, String Quartet in E minor, sonata form, New Formenlehre, Friedhelm Krummacher, historicity of analysis

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