Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique

Posted by: Alpha Spartan A

Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 02:59 PM

Hey, guys. I have a question regarding the Allegro di molt e con brio section of Beethoven's 8th piano sonata. I have reviewed various transcriptions of the same sonata, and in some editions, measures 12 and 20 have a Sfortzando on the E natural - C, and some don't. I'm wondering if there's an officially accepted version of the Sonatas, and if so, what it says to do.

Thanks, guys!

- Alpha Spartan A
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 05:04 PM

Your best bet is to assume that the sf is for real.

There are varying degrees in which those chords might be "sforzando'd" but I don't think I've ever heard any high-level performance that didn't "sforzando" them, and when I played it, I sure sforzando'd them (moderately). smile
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 05:18 PM

Cooper doesn't have them, and it is the most reliable edition.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 05:21 PM

Golly, maybe I better delete my post.... grin
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Golly, maybe I better delete my post.... grin

Nah, it's Beethoven. Bang away! laugh
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/24/13 06:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Golly, maybe I better delete my post.... grin

Nah, it's Beethoven. Bang away! laugh

Old joke (don't remember from where -- probably the National Lampoon):

If it's too soft, it's Schubert. If it's too loud, it's Wagner. If it's alternately too soft and too loud, it's Beethoven. ha
Posted by: HNB

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 10:32 AM

My old Schirmer edition has those sforzandos in the recapitulation only - with a pompous editorial footnote (von Bulow & Lebert I think) pointing them out.

I always refer back to the first editions and/or autographs when studying Beethoven sonatas, most of which are available on IMSLP.

Just had a quick look at the first edition of the Pathetique and it's the same as my edition - the sforzando you mention is NOT in the exposition, but IS in the recapitulation.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Alpha Spartan A
Hey, guys. I have a question regarding the Allegro di molt e con brio section of Beethoven's 8th piano sonata. I have reviewed various transcriptions of the same sonata, and in some editions, measures 12 and 20 have a Sfortzando on the E natural - C, and some don't. I'm wondering if there's an officially accepted version of the Sonatas, and if so, what it says to do.
[...]


In my edition (Schnabel) which is very heavily edited, there are sfz markings in several places throughout this movement, so my edition can't have an authority on the question. However, in measure 12 I see no E/C nor do I in measure 20. In measure 11, there is an E-flat/C on the first beat followed by an E-natural/C on the following half-beat, where Schnabel puts a wedge (under the E-natural/C). I can find nothing close to this notation, however, around measure 20.

Regards,
Posted by: prenex

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 12:17 PM

In my Peters edition it is an editorial suggestion [square bracket.]
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
....However, in measure 12 I see no E/C nor do I in measure 20. In measure 11, there is an E-flat/C on the first beat followed by an E-natural/C on the following half-beat, where Schnabel puts a wedge (under the E-natural/C). I can find nothing close to this notation, however, around measure 20.

The measure numbers confused me too, so I mostly ignored them and just tried to figure out what he meant -- and it seems he's sort of counting from the beginning of the whole movement.

He means m. 3 and m. 11 of the Allegro.
Posted by: GeorgeB

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 05:12 PM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Cooper doesn't have them, and it is the most reliable edition.

Debatable.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 05:17 PM

Originally Posted By: GeorgeB
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Cooper doesn't have them, and it is the most reliable edition.

Debatable.

Good -- glad I didn't really delete my post. ha

HOWEVER....

In such a situation, I would tend to believe that the absence of the indication is more authentic, because I think editors would be far less inclined to remove an indication of the composer's than to add one of their own. I'd love to have been right grin but I have a feeling that Cooper has it right, at least on this.

Even though I never heard of that edition before and have no idea what it is. blush
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Even though I never heard of that edition before and have no idea what it is. blush


It has actually been mentioned several times here at PW, particularly by stores, who I think was the first to recommend it. I basically trusted him when I chose to buy this edition, and I am happy. smile

But it was also mentioned in the NYT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/arts/music/20whit.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

And the ABRSM site:
http://shop.abrsm.org/shop/prod/Beethoven-The-35-Piano-Sonatas-Volumes-1-3/2003376
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It has actually been mentioned several times here at PW, particularly by stores....

Oh OK -- no wonder I never heard of it! grin
Posted by: beet31425

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict

From the article, here's Barry Cooper on including additional early sonatas in his edition: “I can find no reason why they shouldn’t be counted... if they lack something in quality, you could say the same of some of the Opus 49 Sonatas, and you surely wouldn’t exclude those from the canon."

Yes I would! Let's start a petition to remove op.49/2 from the canon! There should only be 31 sonatas. (Op.49/1, you can stay.)


-J
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 07:01 PM

Originally Posted By: beet31425


Yes I would! Let's start a petition to remove op.49/2 from the canon! There should only be 31 sonatas. (Op.49/1, you can stay.)


-J


Personally, I believe we should follow Beethoven's wishes and remove both Op.49 Sonatas (which are really juvenile Sonatinas) from the canon - they were published against his wishes.

There is already one integral recording of all thirty Beethoven's Piano Sonatas from which the Op.49 were expunged....... wink
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 07:03 PM

But in that case I would suggest adding Mozart's C minor sonata and Haydn's E-flat (Hob. 52). grin
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Debatable Sforzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 07:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
But in that case I would suggest adding Mozart's C minor sonata and Haydn's E-flat (Hob. 52). grin


They are certainly more Beethovenian than Beethoven's Op.49.... grin
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 07:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: BruceD
....However, in measure 12 I see no E/C nor do I in measure 20. In measure 11, there is an E-flat/C on the first beat followed by an E-natural/C on the following half-beat, where Schnabel puts a wedge (under the E-natural/C). I can find nothing close to this notation, however, around measure 20.

The measure numbers confused me too, so I mostly ignored them and just tried to figure out what he meant -- and it seems he's sort of counting from the beginning of the whole movement.

He means m. 3 and m. 11 of the Allegro.


OK; I'll buy that, which is logical since we usually start counting from the beginning of a movement. Except that it now makes the measures in question 13 and 21, at least in my Schnabel.

My above remark pertains: Schnabel has a wedge on the E-natural/C both times, but no sfz, although there are other sfz's.

Regards,
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/25/13 08:10 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Except that it now makes the measures in question 13 and 21, at least in my Schnabel....

Right -- that's why I said "sort of" when I said he seemed to be counting from the beginning.

I tried to clarify it by giving the measure counts from the start of the Allegro, because that's something everyone can count pretty easily, including if their scores don't have measure numbers, which most don't.
Posted by: btb

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/26/13 02:19 AM

The “sf” is a preface to the unusual peaking “p” of the
climatic upward surge in the opening measures.

Why all the fuss? ... “sf” means
“hold your horses, chaps” ...
I clatter over “sf’s” by the furlong without
a single lash of the whip.

But always an eye out for a sudden change in dynamics.

According to Wikipedia sf means

"Sforzando, used in musical notation as an instruction to play a note with sudden, strong emphasis (Italian, literally "forcing")"
Posted by: sandalholme

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/27/13 03:46 AM

Tovey's view is: "Beethoven does not give sforzandos in bars 3 and 11. Editors have supplied them on the analogy of bars 187 and 195; but Beethoven probably meant this as a variation. Of course the syncopation will of itself produce a slight accent if clearly expressed."
Posted by: prenex

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/28/13 09:45 AM

Do you think the sforzando is implied by the music? If so, could you folks please explain to me why because I don't see it as cleary the case just from the music.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Debatable Sfortzando in Pathétique - 02/28/13 10:50 AM

Originally Posted By: prenex
Do you think the sforzando is implied by the music? If so, could you folks please explain to me why because I don't see it as cleary the case just from the music.

Certainly not in the middle of bar 3, if that's the one everyone's referring to. There are other places in the opening marked with sf, most at the tail end of a long crescendo, which seems to indicate to me to give it a "little extra umph", but not something over the top. I think this is a case where subtlety is sublime, and overstatement is hokey.