Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

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IcedNote
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Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

Post by IcedNote » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:17 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/musi ... uzzle.html
It is a musical mystery – a half-written symphony by one of the world’s greatest composer, though how he intended to complete it is anybody’s guess.

Now, one of Franz Schubert’s most intriguing “unfinished” symphonies will be completed and performed live for the first time since the Austrian composer abandoned it nearly 200 years ago.

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a new, complete version of Symphony in D, D.708a next month as part of its Schubert season, when the station will dedicate its entire schedule to Schubert’s works for eight days.

The Austrian composer wrote seven complete symphonies and left a further six incomplete, including Symphony No. 8, his best known “unfinished symphony”.

Symphony in D, D.708a was only discovered in the 1970s when a manuscript in the Vienna State Library containing some of Schubert’s compositions was re-examined more closely.

Written in Vienna in 1821 when Schubert was 24, the symphony is considered one of his most difficult pieces because he left so few indications as to how he intended to finish it.

Schubert completed about 40 per cent of the work – the equivalent of around 12 minutes of music – for an orchestra including strings, double woodwind, two horns, two trumpets and two kettle drums.

He wrote brief notes on the manuscript for the first three movements, but for the fourth and final movement, simply wrote “flute”, with no accompanying music.

Professor Brian Newbould, a composer and expert on Schubert, has spent more than five months finishing the piece following a commission by Radio 3.

Prof Newbould said: “We can’t be sure why Schubert left it unfinished, though he spread his interests across so many different forms of music that once he abandoned one piece of work, he found it very difficult to go back to it.

“I have saturated myself in his music and style and tried to think my way inside what he wrote and how he would have intended to finish this symphony.

"But he didn’t indicate how it should be written in many parts, so much of the orchestration is guess work.”

A contemporary of Beethoven, Schubert was a prolific composer, writing around 1,000 works until his untimely death from suspected syphilis in 1828 aged just 31.

As part of its eight-day Spirit of Schubert season, Radio 3 will broadcast 200 hours of recordings related to Schubert’s life and work, including live performances of every one of his compositions.

Roger Wright, the controller of Radio 3, said: “Although he is undoubtedly one of the greatest composers with an extraordinary range of work, Schubert is not in the popular imagination like Mozart or Beethoven.

“We hope the Schubert season will raise the profile of an extraordinary figure who left behind an extraordinary body of work during such a short life.”
:|

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Re: Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

Post by Lance » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:02 am

It will be most interesting to see/hear what Professor Brian Newbould does to complete this work. I hope to have a chance to hear it.
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Werner
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Re: Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

Post by Werner » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:32 am

I must admit that I'm not at all curious to hear this. I remember that a similar project coincided with our CMG dinner at O'Neal's in 2009. That evening's concert across the street, which several of us attended, was by the London Philharmonic conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, whom we had previously heard n London and been impressed by. I remember the evening's soloist was Stephen Hough, playing, Donald remembers, Brahms D Minor at his regular level of excellence. What everyone seems to remember, though, was his red shoes!

The other featured piece on the program was someone else's effort at finishing the "Unfinished" Symphony. If this convinced me of anything, it was that Schubert knew what he was doing when he left it as he did.
Werner Isler

IcedNote
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Re: Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

Post by IcedNote » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:22 pm

Werner wrote:I must admit that I'm not at all curious to hear this.

...

The other featured piece on the program was someone else's effort at finishing the "Unfinished" Symphony. If this convinced me of anything, it was that Schubert knew what he was doing when he left it as he did.
I'm with you in that I have no interest in hearing it. However, I think it best to say that an unfinished piece is better than a finished-by-someone-not-named-Schubert piece. ;)

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Werner
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Re: Premiere of a "finished" Schubert D.708a (Symphony in D)

Post by Werner » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:42 pm

Exactly. There was only one Schubert. He was unique. As it happened, I'm right now looking at an example in two Schubert fragments played by Aeschbacher and published currently by Donald on his KASP label's second Aeschbacher Historical Release.

They are two charming sonata movements, each with D numbers, charming, typical Schubert but he didn't finish the piece.What's left is lovely and can't be improved by any additions.

Transcriptions are a totally different matter. The mind of a musician reacting to a Schubert original with his own thoughts creates a new work altogether. Think of Schubert/Liszt - in songs, the "Wanderer" Fantasy, or Bach/Liszt, or Busoni - or Myra Hess, or "etcetera". Totally different pieces with their own, often IMHO considerable value.
Werner Isler

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