Symphony No. 3 in D, D. 200 (1815)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
- Adagio maestoso – Allegro con brio
- Menuetto vivace
- Presto vivace
Born in Vienna, Schubert was the gifted son of a schoolmaster who also gave Franz his initial lessons on the violin, while he learned the piano from his elder brother, Ignaz. Later, Franz was tutored by the local choirmaster who simply conversed with his talented student and “watched him with silent astonishment”, unable to add anything to his already prodigious knowledge. From age 11, Franz attended the prestigious Stadtkonvikt boarding school, where the school orchestra sight read an overture and symphony after each evening meal. Schubert thus gained intimate knowledge of the symphonies of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, and so was comfortable writing in this form from a much earlier age than other composers such as Brahms. Although best remembered for his vast output of songs, young Franz was determined to make his mark as a symphonist.
Schubert was only 18 in 1815 when he wrote not only his third symphony, but also four operas, two masses and other choral music, 145 songs including Erlkönig, two piano sonatas and sundry other works. After leaving school, Schubert kept in touch with his school orchestra colleagues by playing in various amateur ensembles including what we would now call community orchestras. It was for one of these that his second and third symphonies were written. After spending a day in May writing the opening movement, he took up the manuscript again in July and completed the work in only eight days. However, it was only widely performed after Dvořák championed the first six symphonies at the end of the 19th century.
Clearly showing the influence of Haydn and Mozart, the symphony opens with a slow introduction. The clarinet then opens the Allegro con brio with a bouncy main theme. The Allegretto second movement is a graceful dance, whereas the so-called Menuetto takes off at a gallop and includes a Trio section based on a simple Ländler dance, the forerunner to the waltz. The final movement gallops along with irresistible joy, showing the influence of the then-popular Rossini.
Performed: March 2020