4. The finished symphony

Before you become terminally confused I should explain that in Germany (where they’ve kept up with Schubert scholarship) this symphony is now known as Schubert’s seventh (or, occasionally, eighth) whereas, in the English speaking world, it has (mostly) retained is old numbering as the composer’s ninth. Bewildered? Join the club!

Numbering notwithstanding, one common factor in all versions is that the work is described as ‘The Great’ (“Große“).

Now, in this context the word ‘great’ has three meanings:

  1. To differentiate it from Schubert’s other Symphony in C (No. 6) which (unsurprisingly) is known at the little C-major;
  2. Allied to the above is the fact that, for the time it was written, the work is, in terms of duration, unusually long – hence ‘great’;
  3. And, lastly, as an expression of aesthetic evaluation, it’s considered one of the ‘greatest’ of symphonies.

0:00 Andante-Allegro ma non troppo
14:09 Andante con moto
28:19 Scherzo. Allegro vivace
39:39 Finale. Allegro vivace


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