Symphony No. 4 (Schubert)
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 publicly, 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♭, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in A♭, C and E♭, 2 trumpets in C and E♭, timpani and strings. There are four movements, and a performance lasts around 30 minutes.
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.
The slow movement is in ABABA form which would be a favorite form for most of Schubert's remaining symphonic slow movements. The themes in the B section are not new. They are developed from the Allegro theme of the first movement and the themes of the A section. The second appearance of B, the third return of A and the beginning of the coda have a sixteenth-note ostinato accompaniment added to help bring cohesiveness to the sections. This was a device that Beethoven had previously used in the slow movements of his Op. 18 No. 1 quartet and his Pathetique sonata.
- Symphony No. 4: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Program about Schubert's Fourth Symphony from the BBC Radio 3 series Discovering Music, contains an analysis of the work followed by a complete performance
- Performance by the Gardner Chamber Orchestra conducted by Douglas Boyd, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in MP3 format