Symphony No. 4 (Schubert)
The Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D. 417, commonly called the Tragic (German: Tragische), was composed by Franz Schubert in April 1816. It was completed one year after the Third Symphony, when Schubert was 19 years old. However, the work was premiered only on November 19, 1849, in Leipzig, more than two decades after Schubert's death.
The title Tragic is Schubert's own. It was added to the autograph manuscript some time after the work was completed. It is not known exactly why he added the title, but the work is one of only two symphonies (the Unfinished Symphony is the other) which Schubert wrote in a minor key.
The symphony has four movements; a performance lasts around 30 minutes.
- Adagio molto – Allegro vivace
- Andante in A flat major
- Menuetto. Allegro vivace – Trio in E flat major
The slow introduction is modeled after Haydn's The Representation of Chaos overture to The Creation oratorio. The opening theme of the Allegro of the first movement derives from the opening theme of Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 4 in the same key.
The slow movement is in A-B-A-B-A form which would be a favorite form for most of Schubert's remaining symphonic slow movements (the Unfinished being the only exception). The themes in the B section are not new. They are developed from the Allegro theme of the first movement and the themes of the A section. The second appearance of B, the third return of A and the beginning of the coda have a sixteenth-note ostinato accompaniment added to help bring cohesiveness to the sections. This was a device that Beethoven had previously used in the slow movements of his Op. 18 No. 1 quartet and his Pathetique sonata.
- Symphony No. 4: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Program about Schubert's Fourth Symphony from the BBC Radio 3 series Discovering Music, contains an analysis of the work followed by a complete performance
- Performance by the Gardner Chamber Orchestra conducted by Douglas Boyd, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in MP3 format