Carlos Kleiber conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as they play Franz Schubert's 3rd and 8th Symphonies.
The year 1815 saw a veritable flood of music pour from the pen of the eighteen-year-old Franz Schubert: during that single year he produced no fewer than four operas and operettas, two symphonies, two masses, many sacred and secular choral pieces, sonatas and other works for piano, as well as some 145 lieder, among them the Erlkonig. Schubert wrote all this vast amount of music, which seemed to flow from him effortlessly, in his little room during the evenings. The position of assistant teacher exempted him from military service, and his daily nine hours of school duties did not stem his immense creative urge.
On the 24th of May, Schubert began the composition of his Third Symphony in D Major, which he finished on the 19th of July. This work, written with undisturbed facility directly in full score, is unproblematic. At that time, Schubert was untroubled by doubts concerning formal construction, or by a sense of the need to solve problems by exploring unknown territory. The last movement in particular, a Presto vivace in which the instruments toss the spritely theme about between them, also bears witness to the growing individuality of its composer, who was rapidly becoming a mature master of his art.
The secret of the Unfinished symphony has never been completely solved. Schubert wrote the two complete movements in 1822 and began a third movement, but for unknown reasons did not finish it. He evidently considered the two movements a work in their own right, to judge from his dedication of the score to the Steiermarkischer Musikverein. The artistic director of that association kept the score to himself, and it was not untnil 1865 that this symphony received its first performance. The occasion was a triumph, and it became a posthumous act of homage to the composer who had died so young.
Eduard Hanslick praised this symphony enthusiastically, declaring that it belonged among Schubert's most beautiful instrumental works. The Unfinished is more than that - its place is among the supreme achievements in the world of music.
1. Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 Unfinished
- Allegro moderato
- Andante con moto
2. Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200
- Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
- Menuetto. Vivace
- Presto vivace