Sunday, 11 January 2009

228. Franz Schubert - Symphony no.8, "Unfinished" (1822)


Title: Symphonien Nos. 5 & 8 "Unvollendete"
Performers: Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra
Director: Leonard Bernstein
Year: 1987
Length: 27 minutes


What an amazing Symphony this is. It is known as the Unfinished symphony as it only has two movements, but it doesn't really feel like it needs that much more. It is a complete work in and of itself, there is no need to add anything to it. And maybe that is what Schubert thought when he decided to leave it like this instead of adding a Scherzo which he had already sketched.

The first movement is the particular highlight of this piece, with its instantly recognisable themes and with a sheer epic power at moments that it can really move you. With these characteristics Leonard Bernstein is a perfect conductor for it, it is a work which is full of colour and drama.

Schubert is clearly influenced by Beethoven when composing symphonies, but he is also able to be a true original and this work is proof of that. There are similarities but it feels Schubertian, a Schubert not as happy with his life as in previous works we've had here, the feeling here is more melancholy and at times almost angry. An amazing piece.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, commonly known as the Unfinished (German: Unvollendete), was started in 1822 but left with only two movements complete even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr'acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial. One possible reason for Schubert's leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (three-in-a-bar). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three movements in a row in exactly the same meter do not occur in any of the symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the great Viennese composers.

Unfinished symphony conducted by Abbaddo, part 1:

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