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  • Explorations in Schenkerian Analysised. by David Beach and Su Yin Mak
  • John Koslovsky
Explorations in Schenkerian Analysis. Ed. by David Beach and Su Yin Mak. Pp. xii + 359. Eastman Studies in Music. (University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY, and Woodbridge, 2016. £90. ISBN 978-1-58046-559-5.)

This volume offers a collection of essays published in memory of Edward Laufer (1938–2014), a devoted musician and Schenkerian analyst. Having studied with Milton Babbitt and Ernst Oster, and having taught at the University of Toronto for thirty years, Laufer played a key role in educating generations of professional analysts and musicians. Not only did he publish significant studies on late Romantic composers such as Sibelius and Bruckner, as well as a widely acclaimed review of Oster's translation of Free Composition(in Music Theory Spectrum, 3 (1981), 158–84), but he also thought deeply about voice-leading principles in the music of twentieth-century composers.

The present volume brings together fifteen former colleagues, students, and friends to offer analytical essays in honour of Laufer. A number of them originated as presentations at the last Schenker symposium, in March 2013. The book is organized by time period, in three parts: (1) Eighteenth Century; (2) Early Nineteenth Century; and (3) Late Nineteenth Century. The book also contains a transcription of an interview with Laufer conducted in 2003 by Stephen Slottow.

The opening five essays that constitute Part I draw on repertory of the mid-to-late eighteenth century. The first two studies, by Charles Burkhart and Mark Anson-Cartwright, engage respectively two staples of J. S. Bach's oeuvre: the C major fugue from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavierand the opening eight numbers of the St Matthew Passion. Burkhart's essay is written in the form of a letter to Laufer delivered to him two weeks before his death. Among other things, it explains the performance implications of the analytical observations and draws attention to the 'parenthetical passage', a technique Laufer allegedly coined at the first Schenker Symposium in 1985. Anson-Cartwright's study takes a more comprehensive view of tonal structure in Bach through multiple segments of the St Matthew Passion. It includes a discussion of how a motif (rather than overarching key) can link the various numbers—in this regard, it pays particular attention to the structuring of the recitatives, an aspect of tonal analysis often overlooked.

The essays by Frank Samarotto and L. Poundie Burstein focus on music of the Galant period. Samarotto explores the juxtaposition of 'recurrence' and 'fantasy' in C. P. E. Bach's Rondo in G Major (H. 268, Wq 59/2). He distinguishes between what he calls 'fantasy recurrence', 'in which a familiar element reappears within space clearly belonging to fantasy', and 'recurrence fantasy', 'which creates the illusion of normal discourse but is understood as fantastic at a deeper level' (p. 27). While both concepts have strong analytical import, it is the latter that will pique the reader's interest most. Samarotto locates it within the central part of the rondo, where a restatement of the opening refrain is sounded in the lowered subtonic, F major. Although it might give the listener the immediate feeling of being 'back home', it is for Samarotto nothing more than a dream of home, a fantasy at the deepest possible level. This and other such temporally oriented analytical observations make Samarotto's essay one of the most engaging to read in the volume.

Burstein's essay explores issues of form and structure in Galant music, and in doing so draws on ideas from Heinrich Christoph Koch's 1793 Versuch einer Anleitung zur Composition.Bursteinseeks to change the discourse around form and voice-leading structure in works composed between the 1750s and 1770s. Taking his cue from Koch's own [End Page 130]notions of Periodeand Satz, which differ from standard English usage today, Burstein shows new ways of aligning middleground paradigms with formal sections and harmonic resting points, in examples by Haydn, Mozart, and Jommelli; he then demonstrates how this leads to results that differ from normative Schenkerian readings, which rely principally on formal procedures of the high Classical period.

The final...


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