Harman Patil

Schubert's symphonies

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Franz Schubert completed seven symphonies; nonetheless, one of his incomplete symphonies, the Unfinished Symphony is among his most popular works.

Contents

Early symphonies

By 1818, Schubert had completed 6 symphonies:

  • D 2B, Symphony in D major [formerly D 997] (1811?, fragment of the first movement is extant)
  • D 82, Symphony No. 1 in D major (1813)
  • D 125, Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major (1814–1815)
  • D 200, Symphony No. 3 in D major (1815)
  • D 417, Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Tragic (1816)
  • D 485, Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major (1816)
  • D 589, Symphony No. 6 in C major, Little C major (1817–1818)
  • Late symphonies

    Apart from the Great C major (D. 944), all of Schubert's late symphony projects remained unfinished.

  • D 615, Sketch of a Symphony in D major (1818, piano sketches of two movements are extant)
  • D 708A, Sketch of a Symphony in D major (after 1820, piano sketches of all four movements are extant)
  • D 729, Symphony (No. 7) in E major (1821, sketches of all four movements are extant)
  • D 759, Symphony (No. 8) in B minor, Unfinished (1822, unfinished – two complete movements and a fragment of a "Scherzo" third movement are extant; the "Entre-Acte nach dem I. Aufzug", D 797 No. 1 is possibly the fourth movement)
  • D 936A, Sketch of a Symphony (No. 10) in D major (1828?, piano sketches of all three movements are extant)
  • D 944, Symphony (No. 9) in C major, Great C major (1825? and 1828, identical to the so-called "Gmunden-Gastein" Symphony, D 849)
  • Numbering issues

    Confusion arose quite early over the numbering of Schubert's symphonies, in particular the Great C major Symphony. George Grove, who rediscovered many of Schubert's symphonies, assigned the following numbering after his 1867 visit to Vienna:

  • No. 7: E major, D 729 (completely sketched but not entirely scored by Schubert, with multiple historic and modern completions)
  • No. 8: B minor, D 759 Unfinished
  • No. 9: C major, D 944 Great C major
  • Breitkopf & Härtel, when preparing the 1897 complete works publication, originally planned to publish only complete works (which would have given the Great C major No. 7), with "fragments", including the Unfinished and the D 729 sketch, receiving no number at all. When Johannes Brahms became general editor of that project, he assigned the following numbers:

  • no number: E major, D 729
  • No. 7: C major, D 944 Great C major
  • No. 8: B minor, D 759 Unfinished
  • Some of the disagreement continued into the 20th century. George Grove in his 1908 Dictionary of Music and Musicians, assigned the Great C major as No. 10, and the Unfinished as No. 9. (It is unclear from his article which symphonies, fragmentary or otherwise, are Nos. 7 and 8.) The 1978 revision to the Deutsch catalogue leaves the order as follows:

  • no number: E major, D 729
  • No. 7: B minor, D 759 Unfinished
  • No. 8: C major, D 944 Great C major
  • As a consequence, generally available scores for the later symphonies may be published using conflicting numbers.

    Grove and Sullivan also suggested that there may have been a "lost" symphony. Immediately before Schubert's death, his friend Eduard von Bauernfeld recorded the existence of an additional symphony, dated 1828 (although this does not necessarily indicate the year of composition) named the "Letzte" or "Last" symphony. Brian Newbould believes that the "Last" symphony refers to a sketch in D major (D 936A), identified by Ernst Hilmar in 1977, and which was realised by Newbould as the Tenth Symphony. The fragment was bound with other symphony fragments (D 615 and D 708A).

    In conclusion, the resulting and most current order followed by the English-speaking world is:

  • No. 7: E major, D 729
  • No. 8: B minor, D 759 Unfinished
  • No. 9: C major, D 944 Great C major
  • No. 10: D major, D 936A
  • References

    Schubert's symphonies Wikipedia


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