Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Temperley, Nicholas. “William Sterndale Bennett: Imitator or Original?” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 13 (December 2016): 173-93.

Although William Sterndale Bennett has often been described as an inferior derivative of Mendelssohn, most of the similarities between the two are superficial, and there are many original qualities in Bennett’s music. He was trained in the high classical tradition of Mozart, but his early piano pieces already show a unique penchant for chromaticism and unusual textures, such as placing the second subject in the tenor voice. Several early works are more akin to Schumann’s style; in fact, Schumann alluded to Bennett’s compositions in at least three of his pieces and may have been influenced by some of his stylistic traits. While many of Bennett’s shorter piano works, and even his sonata, contain resemblances to certain textures, passages, and forms of Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte, these similarities are juxtaposed with elements that are very unlike those of Mendelssohn. Some of Bennett’s unique elements include inverted pedal points, which he may have learned about from Mozart or Schubert, but not Mendelssohn; evading the resolution of a dominant seventh; and harmonic anticipation.

Works: William Sterndale Bennett: Six Studies in the Form of Capriccios, Op. 11 (178-80), Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 13 (180-81), Three Romances, Op. 14 (182).

Sources: Felix Mendelssohn: Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 19, No. 4 (179), Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 38, No. 6 (180-81).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Meredith Rigby

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