Schubert Unfinished Symphony

🎼🎶 Saturday, September 18, 2021
Schubert’s Symphony in B minor, the “Unfinished”, was composed in 1822, almost a decade after the appearance of Beethoven’s 7th and 8th symphonies. Schubert’s work, however, was not brought to light until 1865!
The composer had been granted an honorary diploma from the Graz Music Society in 1823, and he dedicated the work to them and sent the two completed movements along with the first two pages of the Scherzo to his good friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, a member of that society. For unknown reasons Hüttenbrenner waited 42 years before revealing the score to an astonished conductor, Johann von Herbeck, who immediately premiered the first two movements, adding the last movement of Schubert’s 3rd symphony as the finale. The completed Scherzo was discovered among Schubert’s papers after the composer’s death in 1828, but no indication as to Schubert’s intended finale has yet been discovered.
The symphony itself is an extraordinary work, and continues to inspire much conjecture and many attempts at completion, none of which rise to Schubert’s level. Perhaps more will be discovered in an attic or storeroom somewhere in Austria…
Here is a hair-raising performance conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler in 1948:
Schubert - Symphony n°8 "Unfinished" - Berlin / Furtwängler 1948
Schubert - Symphony n°8 "Unfinished" - Berlin / Furtwängler 1948
  • John Scialdone
    published this page in Daily Beethoven 2021-09-18 11:12:00 -0400

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