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1750 Stamitz Op. 3 No. 2

1750 Johann Stamitz Symphony in D, Op. 3 No. 2
Instrumentation Strings and continuo, 2 oboes, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timps
Movements I: Presto (D) II: Andantino (G) III: Menuetto (D) IV: Prestissimo (D)
Overview An early symphony in the galant style written by a composer at the Mannheim court. See the full score of this piece.
Essay Points
A) Overall form Early example of short symphony (ca. 12 minutes) that uses the standard four-movement pattern. The second movement is in the subdominant, which is a very common more relaxed key for the slow movement.
B) 1st mov. / sonata The form is somewhat like sonata form but the there are several differences:

  • the development is not that different from the exposition, it just presents themes in their entirety in a range of closely related keys (i.e. it does not fragment and modulate any quicker than the expo)
  • the ‘recapitulation’ reverses the order of the subjects (second then first) and the tonic returns in the equivalent of the development as well as at this point.

This shows that the important principles in mature sonata form of a fragmented and modulatory development followed by a ‘double return’ of the tonic and the opening thematic material at the beginning of the recapitulation is not yet established. Look at the annotated score of first movement. Listen to the opening of the first movement (Booklet: Extract 1):

C) 2nd mov. This movement is in a loose rounded binary form, in this case without any repeats (the B section starts on the third page with the D major version of the opening). Whilst later Classical and Romantic symphonists began to write slower and more impassioned Adagio-type second movements, this relaxed Andante in the subdominant key with a simple MDH texture is very typical of the earlier Classical period. Look at the score of the second movement.Listen to the opening of the second movement (Booklet: Extract 2):

D) 3rd mov. / Minuet The third movement is quite old fashioned in some of its features, for example the fact that first and second violins play the same throughout. The reduction of forces in the trio (no trumpets) is standard, but the relatively independent woodwind parts are more innovative.

Another more old-fashioned feature is the fact that the B section of the rounded binary minuet starts with a new idea before the A’ brings back the opening material. Composers later in the Classical period nearly always treated the beginning of the B section a bit like a sonata development, modulating whilst fragmenting ideas from the A section rather than introducing anything new.

Have a look at the beginning of the movement on the score.

Opening of Minuet (Booklet: Extract 3i)

The Trio is, like most early third movements, short and similar in feel to the minuet. Later composers would write Trio that were both more substantial and more contrasting.

Opening of Trio (Booklet: Extract 3ii )

F) Dev. of orchestra As with all early symphonies this would have been played with continuo keyboard – an editorial realisation is suggested in the score. However, the orchestra is larger than the often-used ‘Sinfonia a 8’ configuration (see Haydn Symphony No. 2) with added trumpets (and indeed timps). Stamitz used a wide variety of sizes of ensemble ranging from this more lavish grouping to strings and continuo alone (as in his E minor symphony)In the second movement there are some good examples of Stamitz’s pioneering orchestration, in which he gives independent lines to the woodwind. The tune is first played on the strings but then the oboes take over with the strings reduced to an accompanying role. Look at the score of the second movement.

Listen to the opening of the second movement:

G) Harm. / tonality Very simple and direct harmony with lots of pedals and primary chords. In terms of tonality, the double return of tonic and thematic material that would become standard in sonata form is not yet established – the tonic returns in the development as well. Look at the annotated score of first movement.
H) Drama / progr. The dramatic opening of the first movement is typical of the Mannheim style with three opening tonic chords in rhythmic unison (sometimes called Mannheim hammerstroke) followed by sudden a drop to piano that marks the beginning of a gradual crescendo that is partially achieved by adding instruments to the texture as it continues (called a Mannheim crescendo). This opening is also a good example of the Mannheim roller – a rising melodic idea over a pedal.Listen to the opening of the first movement:

I) Melody / theme Galant music makes much use of simple, diatonic material with lots of motivic repetition (e.g. the three-note idea starting in the thirteenth bar of the first movement).The last movement begins with a rising arpeggio – a very generic sort of melodic idea that is typical of Galant writing. Look at a score of the fourth movement opening

Listen to the opening of the fourth movement:

J) Texture Galant writing is typically melody-dominated homophony – the second movement provides very clear examples. Look at the score of the second movement.
K) Rhythm The rhythmic structure of the music in the Galant style favours regularity and simplicity. The opening of the first movement, for example, starts with a four-bar idea (the Mannheim hammerstroke) followed by and eight-bar Mannheim steamroller. Typically, this eight-bar idea is divided into a four-bar phrase that is repeated (up the octave), which itself is made up of a two-bar phrase. It is worth looking at the score (linked to at the top of this page)

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