Thoughts on Julian Horton’s paper on the form of the finale of the Seventh, Bruckner Journal, December 2018.
1. Horton presents the accepted structure [ABC | CBA], and attributes its justification to Timothy Jackson.
2. Horton says that that analysis makes sense thematically, but not in terms of harmonic structure. How would he explain that the B themes of B8/iv and B9/iv are in the same key in the exposition as they are in the recapitulation?
3. Horton points out that recapitulation C is not in the home key. Of course not; the whole point of [ABC | CBA] is to delay the return of the home key by as much as possible (although Mozart doesn’t do it for that reason).
4. Horton says that when a recapitulation starts with B, Hepokoski and Darcy would attribute it to a different “rotation”, viz. [development | B], meaning that subsequently there could be no true recapitulation. This explanation depends on the validity of the concept of “rotation”. In Bruckner we are quite used to a development based on A with a little C, followed by a passage based on B before the recapitulation.
5. The exposition B is in A flat major, an M3 above the tonic, and the recapitulation B3 in is in C major, an M3 below the tonic. Horton justifies that on the basis of a “hexatonic” scale, but that concept doesn’t contribute anything new to the analysis. Meanwhile I don’t think he notices that the exposition C is in A minor, a P5 below the tonic and the recapitulation C is in B minor, a P5 above the tonic. I don’t know how he would justify that, but it certainly makes sense to me.
6. The unique internal logic of these arrangements is clean and tight, and requires no more justification than its mere existence.