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SYMPHONY No.4 IN G Minor Op.167 - page 2 / 4





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Raff's Fourth Symphony opens with immediate presentation of the main theme in celli and double basses: Ex.1 [not extant], to which is added a typical transitional motive: Ex.2 [not extant]. Ex.1 is worked up throughout the orchestra with many (too numerous for quotation) counterpoints individually almost as arresting as the main theme itself. A general orchestra climax introduces at letter A an important motive: Ex.3 [not extant], given an important extension in Ex.4 [not extant] (flutes and clarinets) which, in the midst of another cresecendo is lost only to remerge at letter B as accompaniment to the long cello theme (Cantando, dolce espressivo) Ex.5 [not extant] which in its denouement contains the germ of another theme revealed fully only at letter C: Ex.6 [not extant], accompanied by a florid, rather Mendelssohnian figuration. Ex.6 is then extended in richer orchestration acquiring a truly exuberant appendage (celli and horns) at its climax: Ex.7 [not extant], whereupon the outlines of Ex.4 return and Ex.6 is sung somewhat plaintively by oboe, answered by bassoon. A transitional passage ensues moving into B minor. Fragments from the various themes are encountered. F# minor is suddenly introduced against a syncopated idea in the strings; the syncopation gives way to a triplet accompaniment (itself syncopated)when the music moves into C# minor and with a shift into G# minor (letter D) the triplets give way to a sixteenth note pattern not unlike that encountered in the development section of the Im Walde. Eventually this pattern emerges (at letter E) as an altogether new elements Ex.8 [not extant] - which is given (at this point rather inexplicable) development, being treated to a rather lengthy (but not at all superfluous) section in which elements of Ex.1 become ever more apparent. Ex.8 and Ex.1 emerge as the major components of this very strange if nonetheless effecting development section. Eventually the semiquaver motion reverts to triplets then to a syncopation -a reverse order of appearance from first encounter. With the home key of the movement fully established the recapitulation begin and there is essentially a repeat of the exposition up to letter J at which parts of Exs.1, 3 and 8 are combined - a rather mysterious combination but most effective, as is the sudden end to the movement, with its jolting cadence leaving one to expect C minor instead of what the ear senses as the dominant!

As in the Vaterland and Im Walde symphonies, Raff places his Scherzo for the G minor symphony in second place. The gesture which begins the movement (Allegro molto, E flat 4/4) is very reminiscent of the opening of the first movement: a unison tonic note and the immediate introduction of the major thematic element: Ex.1 [not extant]. This theme is not only a relative to Ex.8 from, the development section of the first movement but linked as well to Ex.3 from that movement. Letter A introduces a secondary theme, Ex.2 [not extant], which lends necessary contrast to the foregoing and somewhat later on, in the woodwinds, a developmental motive is contrived: Ex.3 [not extant]. A short coda to all this takes the movement up to a repeat sign (which absolutely must be observed). After the music has been played through once again there is a transitional passage moving the music into A flat and the beginning of the trio. The main theme of the trio is Ex.4 [not extant]. its accompaniment, barely noticed when it enters, adds the necessary contrast: Ex.5 extant]. When the music moves to C major some bars later Ex.5 is fragmented into a delicious arabesque and there is a section entirely based on color (winds and strings alternating) which serves as a contrasting section to the material of the trio, which is then repeated when the tonality of A flat returns. Ex.5 then takes on certain contours of Ex.1 and the music returns for a repeat of the Scherzo proper. The coda which concludes the movement is singularly exciting and the very ending is as abrupt and arresting as that to the first movement. [not

From a formal standpoint the third movement (Andante non troppo mosso, C minor 3/4) is one of the most interesting movements in all Raff; from an historical standpoint in post- Beethovenian symphonism it is a landmark and one of the few movements in Raff which actually points to the future, though this latter point is coincidental. As mentioned before the G minor Symphony of Raff is truly neo-classical, fusing as it does a number of Romantic devices within a basic classical regard for the term symphony. There is little doubt in these quarters that Raff has a definite model in mind, as far as symphonic movements are

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