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Book Review

Volume 14 • Number 2

Fall 2007

 

Sonata Dialogues

 

by Michael Spitzer

James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy. Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. xxix, 661pp.

As with Orson Welles's famous verdict on the path of his career—that he started at the top and worked his way down—this review begins with superlatives. Elements of Sonata Theory is a monumental achievement, by any standards. Bringing together scholarship as impeccable as it is encompassing, keen musical insights on every page, and a bold theory that has been developed, jointly or independently, by the two authors in publications over the previous decade, Hepokoski and Darcy's volume fulfills, and even exceeds, all expectations. Students and scholars of Classical music will be grateful for a book that affords them both a new critical tool and a rich quarry of facts and ideas.

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