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Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Symphony No. 8 in B Minor “Unfinished” D. 759

Over the course of his brief and highly productive musical life, Franz Schubert completed eight full-scale symphonies and left a nearly equal number unfinished. The B Minor Symphony was constructed between 1818 and 1825, years in which he was experiencing significant compositional and physical changes. After looking to Rossini as a model for many of his earlier orchestral works, Schubert was grappling with the influence of Beethoven, whose Seventh and Eighth Symphonies had just recently premiered. In the fall of 1822, he had his first outbreak of syphilis, which would prove fatal in six years. Along with symphonic sketches that exist only in piano score format and his so-called Tenth Symphony, begun in 1828 shortly before his death, there is an entire body of unfinished Schubert symphonies from which the B Minor, by far the most musically remarkable, was the very last to surface. Only two movements of the B Minor Symphony survive in full orchestration.

– Eric Dudley
– complied by Helen Hazard