From C to D | MI | 15 03 2023 | 14:05

Muddle and no end?

Schubert never heard his last symphony. For a long time it was listed as number 9, as number 8 the two movements of the “Unfinished” were ranked. A “Gasteiner Symphony” has been sought for a long time. From a mention in a letter, it was given the number 7, corresponding to the time it was written. The “great” C major was regarded as the last “completed” work because it was supposed to have been composed in March 1828 and was ranked “ninth”. However, the “great C major” was composed in the years 1825/26, i.e. after the so-called “Unfinished”. Today one might know that the symphony mentioned in Schubert’s letter from Gastein meant the “great C major”. The musicologist Ernst Hilmar was able to prove that the supposed No. 8 at the top right on the first sheet of the score is a truncated 5, and that the “big C major” was therefore written in March 1825. The year 1828 was noted on the score in someone else’s hand. Since 1978, since the German index was reprinted, Schubert’s last symphony has definitely been number 8, in the order in which it was composed. In order to distinguish the eighth from the short sixth, which is also in C major, it has been given the nickname “big C major”, which perhaps also implies a value judgement. “The Great C Major” was first performed in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy on March 31, 1839 – eleven years after Schubert’s death.

Not modern enough

“The whole orchestra pounded. A terrific impression. The sold-out Philharmonic was incredibly enthusiastic,” said an enthusiastic reviewer after the world premiere of Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. The “Concerto en ré” is considered a highlight in the orchestral history of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Stravinsky himself conducted the premiere in Berlin on October 23, 1931 with the Funkorchester. The soloist was the client, the American-Polish violinist Samuel Dushkin.

Strict modernists have accused the work of complaisance. Above all, a cautious return to baroque elements is striking. All five movements combine what Stravinsky had planned to do years earlier in connection with his octet: dispensing with crescendo and decrescendo (on smooth transitions from piano to forte and vice versa), instead rather abrupt juxtaposition in a return to the graduated dynamics. According to Stravinsky, his “main interest was in the various connections between the violin and the orchestra”. Russian tones are reminiscent of the violin solo from Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale”, the solo part in Aria I is reminiscent of ballet music, Aria II can pass as a homage to JS Bach, the final movement to Tchaikovsky.




Composer: Franz Schubert/ 1797-1828
Title: Symphony No.8 in C major DV 944 (formerly No.7 or No.9 according to DV)
Popular title: Great C major symphony
* Andante – Cheerful but not too much – 1.Satz
* Andante con moto – 2nd movement
* Joke. Allegro lively – Trio – 3.Satz
* Final. Allegro vivace – 4th movement
Orchestra: Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin
Director: Vladimir Yurovsky
Length: 61:35 min
Label: EBU

Composer: Igor Stravinsky/1882 – 1971
Title: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major
violin concerto
* Toccata – 1st movement
* Aria I – 2nd movement
* Aria II – 3rd movement
* Capriccio – 4.Satz
Soloist: Frank-Peter Zimmermann
Orchestra: Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin
Director: Vladimir Yurovsky
Length: 18:15 min
Label: EBU

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