Schubert’s last symphony – like much of the composer’s later work – has a darkness at its heart. As in the Adagio of his Octet, this emotional crisis occurs during the sonata-like reprise of the symphony’s second movement (Andante con moto). A fff outburst is followed by a shocked and traumatised total silence. The strings – still stunned – eventually offer tentative pianissimo pizzicato chords; it’s left to the ’cellos to sing gloriously of despair and consolation.


Philharmonia Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnányi

This week, as we follow the tonal drama of the symphony, a hard copy/download of the cycle of fifths would be a useful thing to have around:


Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as “fair use”, for the purpose of study, and critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).