The Sonatas of Henry Purcell
Title Details

280 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

10 b/w, 77 line illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Series Vol. Number: 146

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

The Sonatas of Henry Purcell

Rhetoric and Reversal

by Alon Schab

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
This pathbreaking study reveals Purcell's extensive use of symmetry and reversal in his much-loved trio sonatas, and shows how these hidden structural processes make his music multilayered and appealing.

Purcell's trio sonatas are among the cornerstones of Baroque chamber music. The composer himself unassumingly described them as "a just imitation of the most famed Italian masters." However, analysis of their underlying structuresreveals that Purcell's modesty hides a highly original blend of Italian models, complex English traditional compositional devices, and his own near obsession with compositional and contrapuntal technique.

Alon Schab'spathbreaking Sonatas of Henry Purcell: Rhetoric and Reversal begins with an overview of the two sets of sonatas and their sources, their movement types, and some of the basic compositional and rhetorical procedures they demonstrate. The book's main part highlights several covert structures that are not necessarily heard but are consistent and played an important part in the compositional process. Symmetry, both temporal and spatial, governs much ofthese underlying structures. Beneath the surface of his studies in Italian style, Purcell created intricate correspondences between the micro and macro levels of the works, as well as unities of proportions and, above all, impressive mirrorlike structures.

Schab's book opens an important window to seventeenth-century compositional technique and offers further evidence of Purcell's use of advanced compositional techniques in works that aimed to be pleasurable for the amateur and excitingly thought-provoking for the professional.

Alon Schab is a lecturer at the University of Haifa.
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Note on the Musical Examples
Introduction
The Examined Repertoire: Purcell's Trio Sonatas
Harmony and Counterpoint in the Service of Rhetoric
Indiscernable Structures
Proportional Symmetry and Asymmetry
Mirror Symmetry and its Implications
Double Fugue, Treble Fugue, and Commutatio
Ground Bass
Bibliography
"The Sonatas of Henry Purcell: Rhetoric and Reversal is the product of a lifetime of work by Alon Schab. . . . This study highlights the intricacies of Purcell's compositional process while illustrating what makes his sonatas interesting below the surface. . . . [I]t will undoubtedly remain one of the most thorough analytical treatments of this music for some time to come." Joel Roberts, NOTES, THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
"Schab executes his analysis with skill and insight. Schab's analyses take on a dynamic quality where the details of observation compellingly lead to larger views. A welcome addition to the literature on Purcell, both for its insights into hidden aspects of compositional method and for the way it will inspire further examination of issues relating to historical analysis. Schab's work here provides new views of Purcell that all will want to ponder, and in so doing, he draws attention to the value of renewing and broadening our methodologies." NABMSA REVIEWS
"The sonatas of Henry Purcell is a fascinating read, whether as a fresh take on familiar repertory or an introduction to an entirely new subject; it will surely be essential for students coming to Purcell's instrumental music for the first time, and performers too will find in it much to stimulate the imagination. The book is nicely produced and richly provided with handsome music examples. . . . For all these reasons, I look forward to returning to it frequently in future." Alan Howard, EARLY MUSIC
"The first book to concentrate on a part of Purcell's output that was not written for the theatre. Schab's analyses are informed by a strong sense of how the sonatas sound in performance...[and make] astute points about the qualities of entire movements." MUSIC & LETTERS
"Schab's marvelous new monograph is . . . highly illuminating. Schab evidently has an intimate knowledge of the repertoire . . . [A] wealth of insights that may enrich the understanding of music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A wonderful contribution to the close analytical study of seventeenth-century music." Josef Goldenberg, MIN-AD ISRAEL STUDIES IN MUSICOLOGY ONLINE

Hardcover

9781580469203

June 2018

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9781787442634

June 2018

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Title Details

280 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

10 b/w, 77 line illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Series Vol. Number: 146

Imprint: University of Rochester Press