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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 ‘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 principle in mature sonata form of a ‘double return’ of the tonic and the opening thematic material at the beginning of the recapitulation is not yet established (it can be understood as a hybrid of Baroque ritornello form and sonata form). Look at the annotated score of first movement.

Listen to the opening of the first movement:

 

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

 

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.

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.