The Piano Sonatas of Franc (Francesco) Pollini


  • Katarina Bedina



The musical bequest of Franc (Francesco) Pollini (1762–1846) includes three collections of piano sonatas. The first one is composed for didactic purposes, it is entitled "Tre suonate (!) per clavicembalo, op. 26" and was issued as the second part of Pollini's piano tutor (Metodo per clavicembalo, Milano 1812), while the other two, without indication of opus and year, were published in Paris, both under the title "Deux grandes sonates pour piano forte". As regards the compositional characteristics, especially the treatment of form, they are very similar, the second and the third collections being "grande" only in their extent. One of these collections consists of three units in the sequence "Air variée", "II. Sonate", "III. Sonate". The sonata movement represents for Pollini the presentation of the thematic material in the form of repeated bi-partite song (//:a:// //:b://) ; the first one is usually "masculine" with dotted rhythm, while the second one is usually melodious (with instructions "legato", "con esspressione", "dolce") on the dominant chord of the basic tonality. The material thus laid out is followed by numerous figurative variations intended to "substitute" the classicistic art of the sonata development, while the impression of the "repetition" is retained so that the movement finishes with variations of the two themes on the key-note. In the construction of the cycle Pollini likewise did not follow the long ago achieved best work in the classicistic sonata: mostly they are bi-partite, with a concluding rondo in an unsophisticated use of the piano artism. Hence, average music, the work of a musician whose attachment for bel canto is traceable also in his piano music. As son of parents naturalized in Slovenia he belongs in part also to the Slovene musical past; before him Slovenes or composers of Slovene origin had not yet tried their hand in the sonata form for piano. In this respect Pollini has a certain significance for our cultural tradition, even if in a historical retrospective of the European piano sonata he does not occupy a more important place.


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1. 12. 1982




How to Cite

Bedina, K. (1982). The Piano Sonatas of Franc (Francesco) Pollini. Musicological Annual, 18(1), 43-52.