The sonata for violin and piano in A Major, Op. 14 by Leopoldo Miguéz (1850–1902): analysis, influences, and its role in the violin literature
Candido, Marcio Andre
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The sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, Op.14 by Leopoldo Américo Miguéz is the first Romantic-period sonata composed in the Brazilian violin-piano literature, and arguably one of the most important sonatas in the genre. The sonata was composed in 1885, one year after Miguéz’s return from a short period of study in Europe. This period saw a prolific output of the most essential pieces of this repertory in the late 19th century—the Brahms, Franck, Strauss, and Fauré sonatas. The Miguéz sonata demonstrates a decidedly European taste, completely lacking the sense of nationalism that Villa-Lobos would later pursue. Miguéz’s compositional style may be best understood being associated with the Wagnerian aesthetic. One of his most significant pieces, the symphonic poem Parisina, Op. 15, (1888), most clearly exemplifies this statement. When specifically examining the sonata, however, we can perceive that this particular work lies outside of the Wagnerian sphere, sharing many similarities with Fauré, Franck, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. The sonata also displays thematic transformation and the concept of “developing variations,” especially showing the influence of Brahms. In addition to being a composer, Miguéz was also a violinist. He studied with Nicolau Ribas who was a student of Charles de Beriot, the great icon of the Franco-Belgian violin school, whose influence is notable throughout the sonata. There are currently four recordings of the work, with two editions now available. The purpose of this dissertation is to establish a scholarly approach to the analysis and contextualization of such a significant piece from the Brazilian violin repertory. Additionally, this research aims to further place this piece inside the larger context of violin artistry.
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