Last time we discussed Schubert existing in the shadow of Beethoven’s legacy. Today I would like to discuss one of Schubert’s exceptional works and get your opinion on how it holds up next to the works of Beethoven.
Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C Major “Great” was never performed during the composer’s lifetime. It was not until ten years following Schubert’s death that Robert Schumann uncovered the manuscripts and insisted that it make a public appearance that very year. Though many composers felt it best to avoid composing symphonies in fear of being compared to Beethoven’s symphonic repertoire, Schumann praised the “Great” Symphony saying that in it Schubert successfully created his own approach to writing a symphony.
In his Symphony No. 9, Schubert blends the Romantic lyricism found in his lieder with Beethoven’s drama. The first movement begins with a slow, chorale introduction in the horn section before moving into an allegro. Portions of this chorale come back later in the movement.