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Schubert Symphony No. 9 – Six truths and one lie

Fri Apr 4 2014

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We’re performing Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 at the Royal Festival Hall on 8 April (also at Basingstoke’s Anvil on 5 April). See if you can spot the one lie amongst the facts on Schubert’s Great Symphony…

1. The nickname ‘The Great Symphony’ was originally given to the piece to distinguish it from another one of Schubert’s symphonies, also in the key of C major. As a result the other C major symphony (No. 6) was named ‘The Little C.’

2. A popular nickname for the piece amongst musicians is ‘The great sea monster’.

3. It is the final symphony Schubert completed before death.  He began a No. 10, but it was never finished – it was only written as a piano score.

4. Schubert never actually heard Symphony No. 9 performed in his lifetime.  It premiered in Leipzig in 1839, over 10 years after he died.

5. Schubert had a profound sense of respect for fellow composer Beethoven and it is believed that he composed the 9th symphony to imitate the breadth and grandeur of a Beethoven symphony.

6. The length of the symphony (performance time of almost an hour) and the technically difficulty presented to the performers caused the musicians to uproar and refuse to play the piece when it was first given to the Vienna Philharmonic.  This is one of the reasons Schubert never heard it performed during his lifetime.

7. Schubert’s nephew owned a butcher’s frequented by students at the nearby Baumgartner school.  In their honour he developed a fizzy pork powder, eaten by dipping a finger.  This became known as ‘Schubert’s Dip’ but was soon deemed unsanitary and rights were sold to Barratt’s sweet merchants in 1880.

Hear Schubert’s Symphony No.9 live at Basingstoke’s Anvil on 5 April and at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 8 April, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.

Spot the lie?

 

2 Comments

  • No. 7 — Schubert’s Dip — seems a bit suspect to me.

    David Samuels Fri Apr 4 2014
  • Isn’t Schubert Dip the name of an album by EMF or some such 80s band….?

    Karl Lutchmayer Sun Apr 6 2014