DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Introducing: Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 4 is pure classical form, goosed by strange key choices

By John Terauds on September 16, 2012

We hear Franz Schubert’s string quartets, piano trios, solo piano works and Lieder frequently. But his symphonies don’t get performed as much on this side of the Atlantic.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a single work by Schubert on its 100-plus-concert season, and it’s a string quartet (in a very clever programme featuring Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, led by Thomas Dausgaard in January).

Clearly, Schubert isn’t big symphonic box office in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to love in music clearly inspired by Haydn and Mozart. (I think they would lend themselves particularly well to one of Tafelmusik’s forays into the early 19th century.)

The most popular of Schubert’s symphonies are the “Unfinished” and the “Great” 9th (both subject to endless debates about the order in which they should be numbered).

I thought I’d go back to Symphony No. 4, the “Tragic” (D417). Schubert wrote it after turning 19 in 1816, while unhappily working as a schoolteacher by day. By this time Europe had heard and been shocked by the first eight of Beethoven’s symphonies.

Schubert was a huge admirer of Beethoven, but wrote his own symphonies in a less flamboyant style, filled with careful development of themes following Classical rules — but accompanied by some surprising choices of key (it starts in C minor, but doesn’t stay there long).

In the Jane Austen-era version of Kickstarter, Schubert turned to a group of subscribers to fund the publication of these his early works, because the official music publishers weren’t interested in some unknown schoolteacher, even if he was Viennese.

Here is conductor Lorin Maazel in Munich, conducting Schubert’s “Tragic” Symphony. The four movements are marked: Adagio molto — Allegro vivace; Andante; Menuetto (allegro vivace) & Trio; Allegro.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

LISZTS | 5 Events To See Tonight At Nuit Blanche

By Michael Vincent on September 30, 2017

Our top five picks for music-related art installations tonight at the 12th annual Nuit Blanche.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Against the Grain Go Baroque For The 2017–18 Season

By Michael Vincent on September 26, 2017

Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre has announced the long-awaited details on their 2017–18 season this afternoon, including two surprises that we didn't see coming. 
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

SCRUTINY | TSO Gives Substance To Brahms Requiem Redux

By Arthur Kaptainis on September 28, 2017

Carried with substance and moderate tempos, Russell Braun and Erin Wall pull from the heartstrings for a dressed up Brahms Requiem.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.