Standard sonata-form practice ca. 1800 was guided by a constellation of norms. One of these was the provision of full closure in the tonic in the recapitulation. In those infrequent cases when this norm was left unaccomplished, one may speak of a nonresolving recapitulation. Some of the most extreme examples are furnished by movements whose recapitulations end emphatically in a nontonic key. The locus classicus is Beethoven's Egmont Overture: the recapitulation of this F-minor piece is diverted to a solidly grounded D major, deferring normative tonal closure into an extended coda. Predecessors may be found in the slow movement of his Piano Trio in G, op. 1, no. 2, and the first movement of Mozart's Quartet in D Minor, K. 173. This article examines this procedure and its larger hermeneutic implications from a variety of angles, along the way introducing concepts of "Sonata Theory," a new mode of sonata analysis developed by the author. Also mentioned are some ramifications of the nonresolving recapitulation for nineteenth-century sonata deformations.

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