About the program
Schubert: Symphony No. 8
The “Unfinished” symphony is the most frequently played fragment of music history. Schubert started to compose it in 1822. The manuscript got lost and was only found in 1865, well after the death of the composer. This is when the first two complete movements were presented. The numbering of the symphony is erroneous because it was the seventh composition of this genre.
There are several opinions on the incompleteness of the piece. For some time, it was thought Schubert did not want to finish the piece because he found it complete without being finished. This is contradicted by the fact he started to compose the third movement and got as far as the middle part of the Scherzo, which many tried to finish using the surviving draft – the first to do so was Felix Weingartner, but these supplements were never given any credit in concert halls.
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
The second piece on the evening’s programme is also unfinished: the Symphony in D minor is the last of Bruckner’s symphonies. Bruckner started to compose it in the summer of 1887, after finishing the first version of Symphony No. 8. Working at a slow pace the composer was delayed even further by trying to revise three earlier symphonies at the same time, and he also had to finish two compositions he was commissioned to compose. He worked on the last movement of Symphony No. 9 until October 1896, when he died, but he did not have enough time to complete the partiture. According to his doctor, not long before his death Bruckner said: he previously dedicated his two symphonies to earthly rulers (Ludwig, King of Bavaria and Emperor Franz Joseph), but this one he dedicates to the ruler of rulers, to God, asking him to give him enough time to finish it…