Sonatina No. 2 Opus 420 (Second Movement) “Marche Funebre”

Tricky

The middle movement of most classical Sonatas offers a contrast in mood and tempo to the first and last movements.   Many composers at one time or another incorporated a “funeral” march into their works and most maintained a solemn and somber tone throughout.   But Chopin’s in his Sonata Op. 35 offers his own variant of a “Marche Funebre” in which the opening sonorous chords seque into a beautiful soaring melody.  For me there is a spiritual quality to that unexpected beauty … as if angels have assembled and are beckoning a soul to follow them.

In this simple version of a funeral march,  the traditional rich chords are in a minor key and lead gradually into a soft and fluid melody.  Gradually sixteenth notes begin to appear over the steady march tempo and begin to flow around and through the chords, hinting at a major key and change of mood before resolving in the final recapitulation.

I have used the “Picardy third” …  a uniquely lovely chord popular in the Baroque era.  At the close of a section written in a minor key, that final third is suddenly raised a half-tone to become a major third.  I am fascinated by this subtle and unexpected harmonic change and have rationed myself to only four in this piece.   They appear in bars 8. 16, 28 and 36.  I have bowed to convention and added a Coda in the expected minor key.

march funebre sonata 2

 To download the complete score, click the link below

Sonatina_No 2 Marche F

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And listen to the music here↓

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