Chapter

Six Sonatas For The Organ, Six Sonatas For The Organ, (op. 65), 1844–1845

Wm. A. Little

in Mendelssohn and the Organ

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394382
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394382.003.0016
Six Sonatas For The Organ, Six Sonatas For The Organ, (op. 65), 1844–1845

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This chapter presents commentary on Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas. Composed, compiled, culled, and revised over a period of some nine months, from 21 July 1844, to April/May 1845, Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas are an amalgam of movements expressly written for his Coventry project, as well as movements that had lain dormant among his papers for years. Combining old with new, polyphonic with homophonic/monodic, and classic with romantic, the composer shaped this heterogeneous collection into six separate and distinct entities, each having its own tonal center of gravity. Ranging in length from two to four movements, the set lacks as a whole any single cohesive element that would endow it with an overarching unity. At least one critic has suggested that Mendelssohn, “permanently under pressure to produce, had no option but to assemble these various [small] pieces into a formally imbalanced structure.” The absence of a cohesive element linking these Sonatas together, however, has never proven to be a deterrent either to their popularity or their claim to a place in the classic canon for the instrument.

Keywords: Mendelssohn; organists; organ music; compositions; organ sonatas

Chapter.  15128 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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