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Once again, let’s return to the video-recorded performance by the Lyon Quartet to listen again to the third movement. See if you can hear the individual rounded binary forms of the Minuet and Trio, while also following the broad formal outline of Composite Ternary form (A B A).Fourth Movement: RondoThe final movement of four-movement genres is sometimes a sonata-allegro form. More often, though, it’s a rondo, as is this one. Rondo form is less “formal.” (Pardon the pun.) It’s more relaxed than a sonata-allegro form, and in a major-key piece it can be rollicking fun!We have been “under the hood” more than enough in this lesson. Let’s just consider that this rondois interesting for a number of reasons. It’s got a happy little refrainthat we hear not only in the tonic key, but in several other keys, as well. (It’s one of the reasons we hear it so often.)In some ways, the refrainin this movement is a bit like the ritornellowe heard in the first movement Vivaldi’s “Spring” concerto, which we also heard in a number of closely related keys. But, of course, the differences between the two pieces are considerable. This is, after all, Mozart, not Vivaldi. And if Mozart sounds like anyone in this movement, it’s Haydn.And the more valid point of formal comparison is with sonata-allegro form. This is one of those rondo movements that incorporate significant aspects of sonata-allegro form, so much so, that we have a name for it: sonata-rondo form.We’re not going to concern ourselves with the details of form in this movement, so let’s just enjoy, and listen again to the video-recorded performance by the Lyon Quartet. See if you can hear the refrains when they return. And see if you can hear that some of them are not in the tonic key.
OperaThis history of opera is magnificent and long. In this day and age, it’s easy to view opera as quaint—and unnecessary. What we need is some perspective on the matter.Most of us today enjoy the movies. Cinema is arguably the premier art form of the last 100 years. It combinesdrama, staging, choreography, music, and more. When we watch a movie, we tend to be drawn into the action on the screen. We experience the events that we are viewing so intensely that we can even forget that we are watching a movie!But, of course, that’s because we are willing to suspend our disbelief. Our appreciation of drama—whether on stage or in the movie house—depends on our willing suspension of disbelief.And it’s time to recall again that electronic replication of sight and sound is barely more than 100 years old. Cinema, as we know it, began only about 80 years ago.Prior to that, across the vast centuries and millennia of civilization, drama on stage served the same purpose and function as movies do for us today. And as far back as the ancient Greeks, music has been integral to dramatic stage performances.