Although recent scholarship has witnessed a welcome disavowal of the view that Schubert's formal and tonal designs in sonata form compositions bespeak the song composer's inability to master large-scale instrumental genres, it remains a commonplace to characterize Schubert's unorthodox practice as ““lyrical.”” Yet the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic bases of this lyricism have received little critical attention. A systematic and historically grounded approach to the notion of lyrical form in Schubert may be established by appealing to the rhetorical distinction between hypotaxis and parataxis, which pervaded late 18th-century discussions of both music and language. In particular, parataxis, a style that deliberately omits syntactical connections and relies instead on juxtaposition and parallelism, offers a suggestive technical link between Schubert's instrumental practice and the discursive techniques of contemporaneous lyric poetry. There are also aesthetic connections between idealist views of the lyric and the composer's own artistic beliefs, as confirmed by biographical documents. Schubert's approach to form was as much informed by these literary sensibilities as by the Classical compositional tradition. Like poets for whom the lyric served both as an Arcadian ideal of song and as an alternative to the prosaic realities of the present, Schubert evoked the lyric within the context of the sonata as a means of reunifying the dissociated sensibility of the Enlightenment. In so doing, he secured a place for the poetic imagination in instrumental music.
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