Felix Mendelssohn's Sonata for cello and piano in D-major, Op. 58, its place in the history of the cello sonata and the influence of Beethoven

Rzeczycki, Tomasz Sebastian
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My treatise attempts to position Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata for cello and piano in D-major Op.58 both within the history of the cello as a solo instrument and as part of the emerging genre of the duo sonata. I begin by presenting relevant information on the history of the cello, and include an examination of the role of the keyboard instrument. The first chapter also examines some of the main influences on cello technique up to 1750. The following chapter outlines the development of the duo sonata and specifically focuses on the Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano. Subsequently, Mendelssohn’s Op. 58 Sonata is introduced by way of a formal outline of the sonata and an in depth look at the score of each movement is included. Chapter Four considers Beethoven’s sonatas for cello and piano and their possible influence on Mendelssohn's compositional process of the Sonata Op.58 for piano and cello. The final chapter explores Mendelssohn himself, his activity as a composer of chamber music, as well as stylistic and organizational aspects of the Sonata Op.58. Mendelssohn’s background and its resulting musical manifestations in this work are also explored in relation to his use of chorale-like sections, which are juxtaposed with the cello line in the third movement of the D-major sonata. Finally, I will speculate on some of the reasons why the cello literature as performed today fails to reflect the richness of tradition and instead singles out few works for special prominence. By placing Mendelssohn’s work within this historical trajectory, I hope to illuminate not only what Mendelssohn took from the history of the cello but also what he brought to it.