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Symphony no.8, B minor, „The Unfinished“
2nd movement: Allegro con moto

Duration of performance: c.12 minutes

Form scheme:
2nd movement

Schubert uses a slightly moderated sonata form. Instead of the development he uses a new theme as a bridge to the recapitulation.

bars 1-32
The E-major key of the 2nd movement leads us into a bright transfigured mood. A sphere of beauty and serenity confronts the listener. A pizzicato in double bass - the musical substance is the E-major scale - leads to the main theme of the movement. It is repeated 3 times, with variations, leading to G major.

bars 32-45
The bridge is in obvious contrast to the main theme. A theme, presented unisono in all strings, is played in staccato eighth notes. Staccato means that the tone is to be played briefly and forcefully.

bars 66-83
The secondary theme of the movement (18 bars) consists of a clarinet melody in C sharp minor, which ascends from the tonic in thirds, dwells on the top tone A for a while, returns gradually to the tonic C sharp and then closes on the 5th, G sharp - sustained for 4 bars - in a threefold pianissimo moriendo.

The harmonic basis of this recurring secondary theme is rooted in a complicated process, a harmonic process which helps Schubert to enter the deepest region of human feeling. The secondary theme is heard twice again in different instrumentation and in a different form.

bars 113-129
The development is designed as a bridge to the formal target, the recapitulation. A new theme, formed from a third - like the secondary theme - is presented by the bass strings and then, according to rule, imitated in the first violin and modulated from D major to E major, the beginning of the recapitulation.

The recapitulation repeats the ideas of the thematic material in the exposition. The secondary theme is not restated in C sharp but in A minor.

bars 280-312
The Coda of the movement is introduced by the pizzicato motive from the very beginning. The main theme of the movement can be heard twice in the woodwinds (clarinet, bassoon, flute), once in the dark tone of A flat major and a second time in E major, that key which we identified with beauty and serenity at the beginning. The movement closes in pianissimo.

The Scherzo, which should have followed the 2nd movement and is only available as a sketch, cannot attain the weight of the first two movements. From the musical point of view, the most obvious explanation would be that Schubert felt that and therefore stopped working at the symphony. So this unfinished symphony is a complete work of art, even if it remains the "Unfinished" for the listener.

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