Influence and Innovation: Beethoven's impact on the Sonatas for piano and cello by Mendelssohn and Chopin
Patrick Thomas Bellah
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Date of Graduation
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
School of Music
The bulk of the scholarship in this paper centers around Beethoven’s five sonatas written for piano and cello and how he established a new normal within the genre. This is evidenced by what are arguably the two most noteworthy sonatas for the same instrumental medium, written by Mendelssohn and Chopin, following Beethoven’s death. I posit that the five sonatas written by Beethoven establish a series of models upon which the latter two works by his successors are based.
Chapters two and three of this document are separated into subsections that detail the plausibility of Beethoven’s influence through circumstantial evidence, musical evidence (i.e. similarities in form, articulation, and melodic distribution), and even the ways in which Chopin and Mendelssohn sought to distance themselves from their illustrious predecessor. The key findings of my research are that Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Piano and Cello in D Major, Op. 58 closely resembles the same strategy of equal distribution of melody that Beethoven employs in his Op. 5 and Op. 69 sonatas, and further expands the roles assumed by the pianist and cellist. Similarly, Chopin takes after the same improvisatory spirit utilized in Beethoven’s Op. 102 sonatas and uses an evolved style of conversational dialogue, which stems from Beethoven’s Op. 102, No. 2.
Bellah, Patrick T., "Influence and Innovation: Beethoven's impact on the Sonatas for piano and cello by Mendelssohn and Chopin" (2020). Dissertations, 2020-current. 29.