Franz Schubert

Symphony No. 1 in D major, D. 82

    Description by Blair Johnston

    Franz Schubert was 16 years old when, on October 18, 1813, he put the final touches on his first complete symphony, the Symphony No. 1 in D major, D. 82. An impressively polished product, it doubtlessly benefitted from the young composer's two earlier, abortive efforts in the genre (also in D major) and the handful of symphonic overtures he wrote in 1811 and 1812. Like the rest of Schubert's pre-1820 symphonies, the Symphony No. 1 was not published until the late nineteenth century, when it was included in the original complete works edition. Schubert did, however, have the luxury of hearing it played during his lifetime; the obliging orchestra was possibly that of the seminary school from which the composer had recently disenrolled, or one of the ad-hoc ensembles put together in the house of Viennese music enthusiast Otto Hatwig.

    The Symphony No. 1 is by far the finest piece of Schubert's to date. Though it dates from the post-Beethoven era, the Symphony No. 1 proudly displays Schubert's eighteenth century roots, established through his studies with Antonio Salieri (competitor of Mozart and admirer of Haydn). The grandiose Adagio introduction to the first movement and the Mozartian zip of that same movement's Allegro vivace main theme are unmistakably Classical in nature; as with many of Schubert's earliest works, there are countless superficial melodic nods to Beethoven, but the general manner of the work shows that, beyond such similarities of contour and inflection, Schubert yet had little access to the musical operations that lay at the heart of the master's symphonies.

    Parts of the invigorating first movement's lengthy second subject were later deleted by the composer, presumably in the interest of structural balance, but are sometimes restored in performance. Somewhat unusually, the music of the Adagio introduction returns later in the movement to usher in the recapitulation. The Andante that follows is a light-footed movement, the graceful opening melody of which is countered by a marchlike second subject. The minuet (Allegro) returns to the boisterous D major of the first movement; its trio is an episode of great instrumental color, especially admirable for its woodwind scoring. The finale (Allegro vivace) bursts forth on a lively, much-ornamented idea in the violins; the vigorous coda that ends the Symphony is of a forcefulness and stiff harmonic fiber well outside the limits that Schubert's eighteenth century idols prescribed for themselves.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Adagio - Allegro vivace
    2. Andante
    3. Allegro
    4. Allegro vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186655
    2018 PentaTone Classics 5186707
    2018 Gramola GRAM 99180
    2017 Berliner Philharmoniker BPHR 150063
    2016 Phi LPH 019
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795545
    2016 Budapest Music Center BMH 201
    2015 Tudor Records TUD 1660
    2014 BIS BIS 1989
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843006072
    2013 Brilliant / Brilliant Classics 94693
    2013 BR Klassik 900712
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791046
    2012 Naïve V 5299
    2012 RCA Red Seal 88697871472
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099973171
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94218
    2011 Tudor Records 1610
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Newton Classics 8802033
    2010 Documents / Documents Classics 2231557
    2010 Berlin Classics 0300037
    2010 EMI Classics 9069472
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778687
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 Corona Classic Collection 0002692CCC
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 90375
    2008 Brilliant 93673
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099951203
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 385853
    2007 Rhino
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4767709
    2006 Melodiya MELCD 1001017
    2006 Philips 4757955
    2005 Tudor Records 7141
    2005 Brilliant 92778
    2005 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586064
    2005 EMI Classics 5870042
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Warner Classics 4623232
    2004 Haenssler 93120
    2004 Rca Red Seal 60392
    2004 Brilliant 92394
    2004 Apex 60532
    2003 Apex 4605272
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Philips 470886
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 87986
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 87876
    2002 Brilliant 99587
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 66102
    2001 Concerto Royale 206241
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 574808
    2000 Haenssler 93016
    1999 Claves 509700/5
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 423652
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 419318
    1999 Haenssler 98312
    1999 Angel Records 73359
    1999 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243573431
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 4536612
    1997 Nimbus NI1766
    1996 Russian Compact Disc (RCD) 30001
    1996 Claves 509319
    1996 Berlin Classics 0092632
    1996 BMG 62673
    1995 Teldec 97509
    1995 Philips 446536
    1994 Naxos 553093
    1992 Nimbus 5270
    1991 Decca 4307732
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423651
    Deutsche Grammophon 471307
    Nimbus 5198
    Brilliant 99587/1
    Brilliant Classics 8635/53
    Brilliant 92394/1
    Rca Red Seal 63941
    Arte Nova 34050
    Brilliant 93673/1
    Philips 446688
    Carlton Classics 6701272
    IMP Classics 944
    CBS Records 42489
    Rca Red Seal 63940
    EMI Music Distribution 54066
    EMI Music Distribution 569834-2
    Brilliant 92778/3
    Philips 412176
    Philips 456029