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Franz Schubert ~ Symphony No. 8 in B minor, the Unfinished. Early Life. Born January 31 st , 1767 Franz Peter Schubert was one of eleven children. Seven of his brothers and sisters died in infancy, and Franz was the second youngest of only five surviving children.
Franz was educated at his father’s school from the age of five.
At age eleven Franz won a place in the world-renowned Imperial Court Chapel choir, an honor which also allowed him access to a first-rate education at the Royal Seminary in Vienna.
His voice broke four years later at age fifteen.
Franz’s exemplary scholastic achievements allowed him to keep his position at the school where he continued to play for the orchestra.
In 1808 Schubert became a student at the Imperial Seminary.
Antonio Salieri undertook to tutor young Schubert privately, a singular honor. Schubert composed many pieces during this time, including his first symphony.
After graduation Schubert worked at his father’s school for a number of years.
1815 Schubert met Franz von Schober, a man who was perhaps Shcubert’s best friend throughout his life. The two men were often collectively known as “Schrobert”.
1817 Schubert met Johann Michael Vogl, a popular baritone who spent many years performing with Schubert and came to be one of the greatest proponents of his music.
The parties where Schubert and Voglperfomed their particular brand of chamber music, including many of Schubert’s most popular leids, came to be known as “Schubertiads” after his death.
Even though Schubert enjoyed some popular success in his life, he was only truly appreciated by a small group of very devoted and appreciative followers and friends who recognized his genius.
It is likely that the syphilis that eventually killed Schubert at age 31 was contracted from one of the brothels that Schubert frequented with his friend Schrober.
In 1816 Schubert abandoned his post at his father’s school and went to live with the reasonably well-off Schrober, which allowed Schubert to focus entirely on composition.
Schubert’s No. 8 Symphony in B minor was written in the fall of 1822, six years before his death.
It is by and large the most popular of Schubert’s symphony’s and is respected as one of his greatest compositions.
Due to the general moodiness of the music, the B minor symphony is often called a Romantic rather than Classical symphony.
Only the first two movements of the symphony exist in full, the Allegro Moderato and Allegro Con Moto, and nine full bars and sketch of the remainder of a third movement, a minuet and trio, but no finale has ever been discovered. There is little evidence that one was ever written.
Some scholars argue that the extended Entr'acte from Rosamunde could possibly have been the forth movement of the Unfinished, since it is similarly written in B minor, but there is much debate and it is unlikely this hypothesis will ever be conclusively proven or disproven.
Attempts have been made by many to finish the piece, most notably by Felix Weingartner, but all have been largely condemned by the musical community.
The symphony was dedicated to the Graz Music Society as a token of gratitude for awarding Schubert with a honorary diploma.
Schubert sent it to his friend, Anselm Hüttenbrenner, a member of the Graz Society. The piece was never performed, nor is there any evidence that Hüttenbrenner even showed the composition to the society. The reason for this is unknown and has led to much speculation over the years. Some suggest that Hüttenbrenner may have accidently destroyed the fourth and final movement, and therefore kept the piece a secret out of shame. Others believe that he didn’t reveal it simply because he was waiting for Schubert to finish it.
It wasn’t until 1865, thirty-seven years after Schubert’s death, that he finally showed the piece to Johann von Herbeck, a conductor who gave the piece its first performance later that year in Vienna, substituting the finale of Schubert’s Number 3 symphony in D major as the last movement. The concert received rave reviews and Schubert’s romantic masterpiece has been delighting audiences ever since.
Kultur, The Famous Composers Series “Franz Schubert: A Concise Biography and Musical Overview”.
The Young Person's Guide..., "Schubert's Unfinished Symphony." Last modified 2012. Accessed October 12, 2012. http://theyoungpersonsguide-ns.blogspot.com/2012/08/schuberts-unfinished-symphony.html.
The Culture Information Center, AeiouMusik-Kolleg, "Symphony no 8, B minor, "The Unfinished" FranzeShcubert." Last modified 2008. Accessed October 12, 2012. http://www.aeiou.at/su-einl.htm;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en.
Biography.com, "Franz Schubert," Biography.com, http://www.biography.com /people/franz-schubert-9475558 (accessed Oct 12, 2012).
Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of World Biography, "Franz Schubert Biography." Last modified 2012. Accessed October 12, 2012. http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ro-Sc/Schubert-Franz.html.