When playing a particular piece of music, playful musicians often play a game. They ask: Isn’t this theme familiar? Did the composer invent it or steal it? Can two composers dream up the same identical theme?
For example, when composing the A major violin sonata, did Brahms deliberately copy Wagner’s Prize Song from the Meistersingers? Or did Gilda in Rigoletto sing a theme from a Mozart violin sonata? Players of this game cannot sleep until they have found the answer.
Charles Small, known to readers of this blog as “Curmudgeon,” has not slept a wink since discovering that a passage in the last movement of Haydn’s string quartet opus 71 #3 bears an uncanny resemblance to the third Brandenburg concerto. (Haydn is pictured here.)
Any reader who can help Curmudgeon sleep again will be given the opportunity to contribute a guest blog to Sketches.