Music: Franz Schubert - Symphony No.7 in D-major D.708a (1820-21) (completed by Brian Newbould) - BBC Philhamonic Orchestra - Cond. Juanjo Mena - Data

Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 12:42


Franz Schubert - Symphony No.7 in D-major, D.708a (182021)

Franz Schubert

Work: Symphony No.7 in D-major, D.708a (1820/21) completed by Brian Newbould.

Mov.I: Allegro vivace 00:00
Mov.II: Andante con moto 10:44
Mov.III: Scherzo & Trio: Allegro vivace 18:36
Mov.IV: Presto 26:35

Orchestra: BBC Philhamonic Orchestra

Conductor: Juanjo Mena

A real rarity.

Schubert's Symphony in D major, D 708A (occasionally numbered as Symphony No. 7; note that this number commonly represents another symphony, D 729), is an unfinished work that survives in an incomplete eleven-page sketch written for piano solo. It is one of Schubert's six unfinished symphonies.[1][2] It was begun in 1820 or 1821, with initial sketches made for the opening sections of the first, second, and fourth movements, and an almost complete sketch for the third movement. He abandoned this symphony after this initial phase of work and never returned to it, although Schubert would live for another seven years. British conductor and composer Brian Newbould, an authority on Schubert's music, has speculated that the symphony was left incomplete due to problems Schubert faced in orchestrating the sketch.

In 2012, Newbould was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to complete the symphony. He had previously completed three other unfinished symphonies by Schubert (the seventh, eighth, and tenth). At that time he had done work to make the existing fragments of D.708a performable, but this was his first attempt to go beyond the fragments and complete the entire structure. His completed version has been subsequently performed, recorded, published, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.



This sketch is the second of a series of four unfinished symphonies – D 615, D 708A, D 729 (the seventh), and D 759 (the eighth) – that are milestones in Schubert's symphonic development between the sixth and ninth symphonies. These four symphonies are in varying states of completion: D 615 has incomplete sketches of only two movements (the allegro and the finale), D 708A has incomplete sketches of all four movements, D 729 is structurally complete but was not fully orchestrated, and D 759 has the first two movements complete and orchestrated and a third movement in an incomplete piano sketch.[1] Previously, his fourth symphony had had some Beethovenian influence (although it is more reminiscent of the earlier Sturm und Drang movement), his fifth Mozartian influence, and his sixth Rossinian influence (Schubert had listened to Rossini's music before writing his sixth symphony and was extremely impressed, then incorporating aspects of Rossini's style into his music).[1]

After writing the sixth symphony, Schubert experienced a directional crisis in his symphonic output,[1] as he was not sure about whether to continue on the path, as in the sixth symphony, of being influenced by Rossini.[1] There is thus some Beethovenian influence present, which would persist throughout his symphonic output, but in D 708A Schubert starts to create his own style and explore new territory.[1] Additionally, he was still learning how to master instrumental writing, despite having done so for vocal works some years before. His mastery of songwriting was helped by the fact that the words gave hints as to the structure he would use, help that could not come in instrumental writing.[1] This can be seen from the fact that Schubert had written his first six symphonies directly into full orchestral score, without sketching for piano beforehand, but D 615 and D 708A only survive as sketches in piano score. He returned to writing directly into orchestral score for his seventh symphony, although piano sketches exist for the eighth.[1][3] These four unfinished symphonies thus show how Schubert was, as he stated in a letter from the mid-1820s, preoccupied with "planning a path to [write] a grand symphony [plans he would realize in the ninth symphony]", with his string quartets, octet and these unfinished symphonies as intermediate steps in this plan.[1][3] The unusually large number of unfinished symphonies on the way to the ninth from the sixth show how preoccupied he was with writing this great symphony, and how important this plan was to him.[1]

Schubert's reasons for abandoning D708A probably have much to do with problems in orchestrating it. In addition to the problematic extremely high clarinet solos at points in the second and third movements, a further problem is that the climax of the fourth movement reaches A-flat major. This key is so far away from D major that the horns, trumpets and timpani simply have no notes to play at this climax (they were then confined to notes from a single key, usually the one the piece was written in), despite them being needed to provide a full, loud orchestral sound.[1][4] Schubert therefore considered using trombones for this purpose, as they were not so restricted and could reinforce the bass register of the orchestra; but due to his then being unfamiliar with how to write for the trombone, and the fact that the symphony was not conceived with the use of trombones in mind, he abandoned work on D 708A and started writing the seventh symphony, in which he decided to use a trio of trombones from the very beginning.[1] Unfortunately, he later had to abandon work on that symphony as well to work on his opera Alfonso und Estrella. Schubert's use of trombones can later be seen in the eighth, ninth, and tenth symphonies.[3]


In the mid-20th century, Dr. Ernst Hilmar discovered in a library in Vienna (the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus) a folio containing works by Schubert, titled "Sinfonie" and dated to May 1818. It contained sketches for nine movements, all in D major or related keys.[4] In 1951, Otto Erich Deutsch assumed in the first edition of his catalogue of Schubert's works that all the material was for one symphony, which he labelled D 615.[4] However, stylistic evidence shows that the material could not all have been for one symphony, aside from the fact that there was simply too much material to serve for one symphony.[4] In fact the folio was labelled "Zwei Symphonien in D" ("Two Symphonies in D"), indicating that a librarian had previously thought along similar lines around 1900.[4] A 1978 analysis of watermarks and handwriting proved that there was really three symphonies present: these were D 615 (2 movements, written 1818), D 708A (4 movements, written 1821), and D 936A (3 movements, written 1828; commonly referred to as Schubert's tenth symphony). These separate Deutsch numbers were given in the 1978 second edition of the Deutsch catalogue.[4]


As the sketches for D 708A were more fragmentary than those for D 936A, Brian Newbould did not attempt to complete D 708A when he worked on completing Schubert's seventh, eighth and tenth symphonies in the 1990s, although he did orchestrate the existing fragments.[3] It was only with the commission from BBC Radio 3 in 2012 that he embarked on the project to complete D 708A.[5][6]

Complete in:,_D_708A_%28Schubert%29


Music: Franz Schubert - Symphony No.7 in D-major D.708a (1820-21) (completed by Brian Newbould) - BBC Philhamonic Orchestra - Cond. Juanjo Mena - Data

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