Schubert - Symphony No 4 (Langrée)

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Franz Schubert
Symphony No 4 in C minor, D 417 'Tragic'

Orchestre de Paris
Louis Langrée

Paris, December 2014


Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D. 417, called by its composer the Tragic (German: Tragische), was completed in April 1816, a year after his Third Symphony, when he was 19 years old. It was not premiered, however, until November 19, 1849, in Leipzig, more than two decades after Schubert's death.

Schubert added the title Tragic to his autograph manuscript some time after the work was completed. It is not known why. It can be noted, however, that the symphony is one of only two he wrote (the Unfinished Symphony is the other) in a minor key. The scoring is for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B-flat, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in A-flat, C and E-flat, 2 trumpets in C and E-flat, timpani and strings.

There are four movements, and a performance lasts around 30 minutes.

Adagio molto – Allegro vivace
Andante in A flat major
Menuetto. Allegro vivace – Trio in E flat major

The slow introduction is modeled after Haydn's The Representation of Chaos overture to The Creation oratorio. The opening theme of the Allegro of the first movement derives from the opening theme of Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 4 in the same key.


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