Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major and Saint-Saens's Violin Sonata in D Minor, op. 75 no. 1 : Context and Comparison
Oostenbroek, Neridah Anne (2007). Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major and Saint-Saens's Violin Sonata in D Minor, op. 75 no. 1 : Context and ComparisonMPhil Thesis, School of Music, University of Queensland.
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This commentary provides an insight into instrumental and chamber music of latenineteenth- century France through the discussion of Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major and Saint-Saens's Violin Sonata in D minor, op. 75 no. 1. The historical and social events that occurred in France during this time had a significant effect on the style and aesthetics of musical compositions. The court of Napolbon I11 was mainly uneducated in "serious" aspects of musicianship, and thus, favoured a more frivolous style of music. However, the influence of Wagner and German Romantic music developed a desire in many young French musicians to compose in a more learned musical style. Franck and Saint-Saens were both composers to whom this new style appealed and they were both involved in the Sociit4 Nationale de Musique, one of many instrumental and chamber music societies that emerged in the latter half of the nineteenth century. However, as is evident through the examination of their representative violin sonatas, Franck and Saint-Saens composed from different musical aesthetic approaches. Franck was undoubtedly greatly influenced by Wagner. The harmonic language, texture, rhythm and references to Tristan und Isolde in his sonata are reflective of the style identified with the New German School of music. In contrast, Saint-Saens adopted a more classical aesthetic in his work. His sonata avoids compositional traits commonly associated with the music of Wagner and Franck and, instead, his work is clear and direct, reflective of an earlier musical aesthetic. The significant compositional differences evident in these two sonatas are representative of the diverse styles of music that emerged in France in the late Romantic period.