Date of Award
Beethoven, Sixth Symphony, Sonata Form
"Charles Rosen, in his book, Sonata Forms, discusses the ways in which sonata form elevated pure instrumental music, gripping the attention of audiences “without the seductions of spectacle, the sentiments of poetry, and the emotions of drama, or even the dazzling technical virtuosity of singer and performer.”1 Sonata forms accomplished this by providing a clear analogy for dramatic action, containing an identifiable climax—a moment of maximum dramatic tension to which the first part of the work pushes towards and which the composer systematically resolves. Furthermore, Rosen writes: It is a closed form, without the static frame of ternary form; it has a dynamic closure analogous to the denouement of eighteenth-century drama, in which everything is resolved, all loose ends are tied up, and the work rounded off.2 Hence, dramatic inclinations play an essential role in sonata form. Beethoven uses sonata form in three of the five movements in his Pastoral Symphony. However, despite employing sonata form procedures, he achieves a totally opposite effect from Rosen’s heightened drama—in the Pastoral Beethoven employs sonata form to achieve calm, placid, stasis. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the ways in which Beethoven defies normative practice in the three sonata form movements of the Pastoral Symphony in order to express the stillness and placidity of the pastoral expressive genre. In accordance with James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy‘s labels, the first and second movements are Type 3 Sonatas, while the fifth movement is a Type 4 Sonata. 1 Charles Rosen, Sonata Forms (New York: Norton, 1988), 10. 2 Rosen, 10. 3 Furthermore, I will propose that through these sonata form movements, Beethoven expresses his personal religious sentiments towards nature, refracted through the composer’s engagement with the ideas of the philosopher, Emmanuel Kant and the preacher, Christoph Christian Sturm."
Kishlansky, Michele, "Sonata Form in Beethoven's Sixth Symphony" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.