Piano wereld


Johann Baptist Cramer
VSE 09

I wrote earlier in this magazine about Cramer’s Trois sonatas opus 23 that the melodic and harmonic inventiveness were not the strongest assets of those compositions, the Trois sonatas opus 29 are on a higher level. In these works you can clearly hear that Beethoven was influenced by Cramer. Although the melodies are, for my taste, a few levels below Mozart and Beethoven, Cramer could certainly write a beautiful song, as in the middle movement of the second sonata.

However, the pianistic is much more complex, but never unnatural. The passage work is varied, for example in the rondo of the first sonata, the theme of which is transformed towards the end by hunting motifs. The first sonata is also the most rhetorical of the three, especially in the gesture of the first movement. The fact that rhetoric is also clearly present in lesser masters shows that the rules of eloquence were common among the artists of the classical period. Sometimes you even detect a hint of Chopin, as in the scherzando rondo theme of the second sonata. Moreover, the harmonic discoveries are much more daring. Mozart is clearly present in the development, including in the first movement of the third sonata (as well as in the sequences). The conclusion of the third movement of the same sonata is downright surprising. The movement in sixteenth notes slows down via triplets to fourths and finally comes to a standstill in the last bars: Adagio con espressione. Anyone who studies these sonatas can only be grateful to Bart van Sambeek: because of the beautifully prepared edition and especially because he introduces us to the language of times gone by, which was spoken by many, but by everyone in their own way.

Maarten Boonstra