Symphony No. 5 (Schubert)
|Symphony No. 5|
|by Franz Schubert|
1821 Drawing of Franz Schubert by Josef Kupelwieser
|Duration||About 28 minutes|
Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, D. 485, was written mainly in September 1816 and completed on October 3, 1816. It was finished six months after the completion of his previous symphony.
Scored for one flute, two oboes, and two bassoons, along with two horns in B♭ and E♭ and strings. Of all of Schubert's symphonies, it is scored for the smallest orchestra. It is the only one of his symphonies which does not include clarinets, trumpets or timpani as part of the instrumentation.
In character, the writing is often said to resemble Mozart; Schubert was infatuated with the composer at the time he composed it, writing in his diary on June 13 of the year of composition, "O Mozart! immortal Mozart! what countless impressions of a brighter, better life hast thou stamped upon our souls!" This is reflected particularly in the lighter instrumentation, as noted above. Indeed, the instrumentation matches that of the first version (without clarinets) of Mozart's 40th symphony. For another example, there is a strong similarity between the opening themes of the second movement of D. 485 and the last movement of Mozart's Violin Sonata in F major, K. 377.
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There are four movements:
This is the first Schubert symphony that does not begin with a slow introduction. What starts the movement is a four-bar structural upbeat similar to the one that begins the finale of his Fourth Symphony before the main theme starts on bar 5. The main is a simple rising arpeggio with a dotted rhythm that dominates all of the themes of the exposition. The first movement is a slightly unusual sonata form since the recapitulation begins, as in the first movement of Mozart’s sonata facile (and Schubert's Trout Quintet), in the subdominant, not in the main key of the piece as is more usual. Schubert had previously used this device in his Second Symphony.
II. Andante con moto
The slow movement opens with a theme in two repeated stanzas. Following that, here is a modulation to C♭ that is very characteristic of Schubert, even at age 19. The return to the main theme is straight, passing through G minor on the way; there is a repetition of the distant modulation afterwards, though to G♭ this time and with a more immediate return.
III. Menuetto. Allegro molto
The menuetto has the chromaticism though not the polyphony of the menuetto of Mozart's 40th Symphony. The progression used mid-way through the movement to modulate is borrowed almost directly from the 40th — using the same approach (a gradual layering of instruments) to a dominant seventh chord. The trio is quiet throughout, and only gradually accumulates instruments, beginning with only bassoon and strings, and with a subtle suggestion of a pastoral mood over held lower string notes.
IV. Allegro vivace
The finale is the shortest of the four movements.
- Brown, A. Peter (2002). The Symphonic Repertoire. 2. Indiana University Press. ISBN 025333487X.
- Duncan, Edmondstoune (1905). The Master Musicians: Schubert (PDF). London: J.M. Dent & Cº.
- Wollenberg, Susan (2011). Schubert's Fingerprints: Studies in the Instrumental Works. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9781409434016.