Recapitulation as ritornello, too formal synthesis in Mozart's piano concertos K. 450, K. 451, and K. 453
Jensen, Brian Alan
MetadataShow full item record
The form of the first movement of a Classical concerto is often understood to derive from both sonata and ritornello forms. Nevertheless, the interrelationship of these two constituent forms remains unclear. This thesis reexamines the interplay of sonata form and ritornello form within the aggregate concerto form. Integral to this reexamination is Manfred Bukofzer's early definition of ritornello form as the continuous expansion of a motive; the tutti-solo contrast, often associated with ritornello form, is recognized but de-emphasized. Loosening the bond between instrumentation and form alleviates several misunderstandings caused by the instrumental variegation of the Classical concerto. Furthermore, the de-emphasis of instrumental boundaries suggests that the concerto recapitulation and its adjacent ritornellos might in fact constitute a single unified recapitulation-ritornello. Compelling evidence for this formal re-conception is demonstrated in Mozart's piano concertos K. 450 in B-flat major, K. 451 in D major, and K. 453 in G major. Significantly, the recapitulation-ritornello offers new insight into the relationship between the concerto's constituent forms: rather than coexisting in relative isolation, sonata and ritornello forms interact dramatically, culminating in their reconciliation and eventual synthesis. Perhaps, after all, the concerto recapitulation is a ritornello, too.