Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-08-17 - 7:04 p.m.
Listening to a second of Haydn Op 33 – the one in G which opens the CD that closes with the one in Bm. Its clear enough what happens between the exposition and the recapitulation of the first movement - in one sense – and as a harmonic narrative its nowhere near as interesting as the Bm. Nowhere near as interesting provided you listen to it as a standard sonata form narrative pattern - the kind of thing I was reading yesterday, Schoenberg’s account of this general narrative in one of his text books. His account applied to this 4tet makes it very dull.
But in reality the recapitulation is more extreme than the exposition – the precise opposite of the classic sonata narrative. This is because the second deviant theme returns almost at the end in Eb – much more deviant than the exposition treatment where it is stated in strict formulaic terms in the dominant.
The Eb is in crude terms up a semitone up from the dominant – and H slides into it from a near-the-end getting-ready-to-finish dominant. Of course sonata form isnt a strict formula (and it would be a slander to suggest that Schoenberg saw it that way) and H loved his surprises – but I cant help wondering whether the semiotics of this episode extend beyond ‘just another of Haydn’s surprises – what a card he is.’ To me it recalls the half step up at the start of the Bm – from F#7 to G
So there is a sense in which the narrative isnt about reconciliation of harmonic distance at all – rather its about intensification and persistence of deviance, parallel worlds etc. Needless to say I blame the gypsies and the way you get half steps up from the dominant all the while in that kind of music.
I have just started on the last of the 4tets on that CD – which at the moment sounds really pointless – come on Haydn give us another of those jokes.
I got an e-mail yesterday from Geoff Castle who sometimes played in Nucleus which was a nice surprise. He is playing at the Edinburgh Festival – which happens to be where we last played together more than half a lifetime ago. Also e-mails from someone who is doing a PhD on themes in Lennon and McCartney 1966 – 71 who likes Ian Macdonald’s analysis – and Mellers’.
Vita got her A level results which were better than her brother’s. I mailed Tony Reif a very belated reply to something he had written about Things Behind the Sun. I started to play with an interpretation and suddenly I felt as if I had unlocked the whole thing – a sensation I have never ever had before with that song. I put this down to too much Adorno and Lukacs.
I read about the AWE32 on Wikipedia and woke mine up – got it remember what it had done to some of Webern’s Bagatelles. Had supper last night with Frances – his wife is visiting her brother in the small village off the A3 where Lutyens grew up. Suitably he chose an Edwardian country house on the rural fringe of Birmingham – it wasn’t Far Leys but it wasn’t far off.