We all know that when Beethoven writes several sfz in close proximity to one another we generally crescendo through until the last sfz.
I was wondering whether or not this can be done legitimately in other composers such as Schubert?
Any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.
I think so, although Schubert seems to prefer fz to sfz--pretty close to the same thing. I've recently been playing around with the fourth impromptu of opus 90, the one in Ab minor. In measures 67 and 68 there is a series of fz over a diminished 7th chord, and it sure seems stylistically OK to my ear to crescendo through them. Also, in the first movement of Schubert sonata 959 there's a string of fz which sound right to me when I crescendo thorough them.
The only argument I can think of against it is that Schubert could have written fz, ffz, fffz, if he had wanted a crescendo. Good composers are gracious enough to be imprecise at times.
In the 60 bar long development section of the first movement of BartÃ³k's Piano Sonata, there are many sf (including 4 sff's) throughout, the approximate structure is 30 bars of crescendo and 30 bars of decrescendo.
Originally posted by tomasino:
I've recently been playing around with the fourth impromptu of opus 90, the one in Ab minor.
Off topic but for the record : the fourth Impromptu of Schubert's Op 90 - the opening arpeggio notwithstanding - is in Ab major (four flats) not Ab minor. Ab minor would be 7 flats, the relative minor of Cb major.
One thing to note about Schubert is that many of the old editions of his works have dynamics and dynamic contrasts that were toned down by editors. What was once fff became simply ff or even just f, and so on. This is probably a factor in the development of the tradition of Schubert performances of a softer grain. Having looked at some Schubert urtext editions and manuscript reproductions, it is clear that he wanted pretty dramatic dynamic extremes and contrasts, so a string of sf's would probably be appropriate in certain occasions.