Poulenc - Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone: Movement 1

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  • Created by: Stephanie
  • Created on: 20-11-14 20:37


  • Composed in 1922
  • Poulenc adopts a witty, irreverent, Neoclassical style, showing influences of Stravinsky
  • First movement of a three-movement work
  • Intended for concert performance by professional players
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Rhythm and Metre

  • The movement is in simple quadruple time (4/4) with occasional 3/4 bars
  • Tempo changes fairly frequently (e.g. the central section consists of a slow passage - Plus lent - followed by a faster one - Plus vite)
  • Other features include

- Syncopation (bars 9-17)

- Anacrusis (opening trumpet melody)

- Augmentation (opening motif is augmented in bars 22-25, into quavers and crotchets)

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  • The melody is largely diatonic
  • Period phrasing reflects the Neoclassical influence (e.g. bars 1-4 & 5-8)
  • The work opens with a broken-chord motif, which is later modified (bar 40)
  • Two-octave leaps in the trumpet part in bas 36-38
  • Some ornamentation (the grace notes in bars 10 and 12)
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  • Poulenc uses functional progressions with cadences (a result of the Neoclassical influence)
  • However, dissonances often cloud the harmony (bar 4, a dissonant C in the horn part is introduced into a tradition Ic-V-I cadence)
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Structure and Tonality

  • The movement is in a modified ternary form, with a short code

A - G major (modulating to D major and back)

B - In two parts: Plus lent (Eb major) and Plus vite (Bb major)

A1 - Modified repeat of section A, incorporating material from section B (G major)

Coda - 4-bar coda in G major (although initially clouded by chromaticism)

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  • The work is written for:

- Horn in F (sounding a 5th lower than written)

- Trumpet in C (non-transposing)

- Trmobone

  • All parts require considerable skill in performance
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  • Mainly consists of melody-dominated homophony
  • Brief snatches of monophony (bars 26-27) and homophony (final bar)
  • Limited instrumentation enables only lean harmonic support, so broken chord patterns are sometimes used to supply this element (e.g. the horn at the start of the Plus lent section)
  • At bar 40 there is an 'om-pah' accompaniment split between trumpet and trombone
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