2nd International Congress of Musicology

Athens Concert Hall, 4-6 November 2003

Paper Abstracts

Ioannis Fulias

Interpretative Approaches of a Multidimensional Work: Beethoven’s Große Fuge

The long history of the interpretative approaches of Beethoven’s Große Fuge opus 133 in this paper is attempted to be classified in three main directions: the first of these is represented mainly by d’Indy and Kirkendale, which set as a basis for their survey the contrapuntal plot of the work and confront it with the conditions of the instrumental polyphony of the late Baroque, approaching mainly the genres of ricercare and canzona; a second group of analysts (with Scherchen, Misch, Kropfinger and Chua, among them) is focalised on the macrostructural organisation of this piece on the model of the sonata form and evaluates the fugue principle as a secondary formative parameter; moreover, the third interpretative approach (which is represented mainly by d’Indy, Leichtentritt and Mahnkopf) comes to supplement one of the former two, presenting the possibility of a perception of the work on the basis of a more or less complete sonata cycle, namely as a sequence of different movements subsumed in one and the same!
During the synoptic reference to the most principal of the analytical contributions about the Große Fuge, interactions and original suggestions among the researchers are pointed out, as well as several problems that appear in these. Thereinafter, specific questions are put in regard to the structure and the function of the partial sections of the work, and with these as a reason is exhibited a subjective viewpoint for the complex form of the Große Fuge: main points in this interpretation are the acceptance of the sonata form regarding the macrostructural planning, the structural verification of a complete scherzo, the restriction of the effect of the fugue form on the separate sections, but also its decisive role in the macrostructure, as well as the realisation of the variation form beyond the given application of the principle of variation in the whole work.

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