Franz Schubert

Symphony No. 9 in C major ("The Great"), D. 944

    Description by Roger Dettmer

    This work wasn't performed in its entirety until March 21, 1839, at Leipzig, with Mendelssohn conducting. After composing six complete symphonies between 1813 and 1818 in the manner of Haydn and Mozart, Schubert completed only one more in the remaining decade of his brief life. This was The Great C major, written during 1825-1826 (rather than 1828 as was supposed until quite recently), and thus is the allegedly lost "Gastein" Symphony. Although he dated a copy of the score "March 1828," it really is No. 9, despite an army of scholars that variously tagged it No. 7, 8, and even 10.

    By 1818 the Viennese had typecast Schubert as a vocal composer, and the label stuck. His keyboard, chamber, and orchestral works were hardly known despite their excellences. Older brother Ferdinand hoarded the manuscript of No. 9, which Robert Schumann finally saw in 1838, and took to Leipzig. Orchestras in Vienna and Paris flatly refused to play it, however, and London musicians laughed derisively during rehearsals in 1844, when Mendelssohn tried without success to perform it there as he had in Leipzig ("with cuts" -- big ones). Strings in particular hated playing its endlessly repetitive patterns: their pre-Wagner and pre-Bruckner bow arms were not ready for Schubert's "heavenly lengths." When all repeats are observed, the Ninth lasts over an hour, with almost no let-up in momentum. Three of Schubert's four movements employ sonata form -- the first, the finale, and the song sections in an ABA scherzo. Only the slow movement is written in expanded song form (ABABA).

    A soft but accented horn theme in the slow introduction foreshadows others to come in the exposition; it returns triumphantly in a long coda. The main body of the movement, marked "not too fast," is rhythmically so powerful and relentless that an unmodified Allegro tempo would have risked destroying it (and us).

    Dotted rhythms characterize the A minor Andante, whose con moto qualification keeps it from dragging or sounding sentimentally sorrowful. Schubert's subsequent transition to A major is breathtaking, and his quiet writing for horns magical. As the movement began, it ends in A minor.

    Beethoven-like, the Song parts of the Allegro vivace scherzo feature a miniature exposition-development-reprise (maybe Schubert knew the elder master's Ninth after all), full of dance melodies. C major yields to A major in the trio, with its broader tune for winds, before the song-sonata repeats.

    Allegro vivace, again in C, this finale begins with a churning subject in triplet rhythm that stubbornly fights resolution (it is the grandest and most famous compositional trap in all music). Schubert finally must stop before he can introduce a new theme on clarinets and horns. Development and recapitulation follow on a titanic scale, capped by a coda in kind -- a movement, altogether, just short of 1,200 measures!

    Parts/Movements

    1. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo
    2. Andante con moto
    3. Scherzo. Allegro vivace - Trio
    4. Allegro vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2020
    Challenge Classics
    CC 72863
    2020
    Brilliant
    99587/4
    2020
    Cleveland Orchestra
    TCO 0002
    2019
    Linn Records
    CKD 619
    2018
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2018
    Farao Classics
    S 108097
    2018
    SWR Music
    SWR 19506CD
    2018
    Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    4798418
    2018
    BR Klassik
    BRK 900169
    2018
    Sony Classical
    19075814382
    2018
    Rubicon
    DRC 1025
    2018
    Rubicon / Rubicon Classics
    RCD 1025
    2018
    Münchner Philharmoniker
    793052112646
    2017
    RCA Red Seal
    88985376042
    2017
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    BPHR 150063
    2017
    MDG
    MDG 9012053
    2017
    Decca / Eloquence
    4825379
    2016
    RCA Red Seal
    88875169792
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4796314
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894795516
    2016
    Weitblick
    SSS 01852
    2016
    Praga / Praga Digitals
    DSD 350085
    2016
    Decca / Philips
    4788977
    2016
    Signum Classics
    SIGCD 461
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795545
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795553
    2016
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4796018
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795448
    2015
    IDIS
    6705
    2015
    Wiener Symphoniker
    WS 009
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002317102
    2015
    Tudor Records
    TUD 1660
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2014
    Decca / Eloquence
    2014
    Sony Classical
    88843014642
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2014
    Warner Classics
    2564633618
    2014
    Urania
    WS 121164
    2014
    RCA Red Seal
    88843006072
    2014
    Warner Classics
    0825646319015
    2014
    Haenssler / Hänssler Classic
    93313
    2013
    Decca
    4785437
    2013
    Sinfonieorchester Basel
    SOB 03
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B001909402
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2013
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 1016
    2013
    Brilliant / Brilliant Classics
    94693
    2013
    Bella Musica
    2013
    Bella Musica
    BM 312451
    2013
    BR Klassik
    900712
    2013
    Elatus
    46750
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4791046
    2012
    Guild Historical
    GHCD 238485
    2012
    Opus KURA
    OPK 2099
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099963565
    2012
    Various Artists
    Naxos
    8501057
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894770055
    2012
    EMI Classics
    2012
    Hänssler Classic
    CD 94611
    2012
    Naïve
    V 5299
    2012
    Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 12062
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099967830
    2012
    Naxos
    8572939
    2012
    Urania
    181
    2012
    Budapest Music Center
    BMH 194
    2012
    Andromeda
    ANDRCD 9109
    2011
    RCO Live
    RCO 11004
    2011
    Audite
    95640
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894779628
    2011
    Brilliant Classics
    94218
    2011
    Tudor Records
    1610
    2011
    MDG
    MDG9011636-6
    2011
    Warner Classics
    2011
    EMI Classics
    918735
    2011
    Testament
    1463
    2011
    Brilliant Classics
    94243
    2011
    Decca
    2011
    Red Bus Classical
    RCLAS 043
    2011
    PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186372
    2011
    Helicon Classics
    02.9631
    2011
    Channel Classics
    CCSSA 31111
    2011
    Cascavelle
    VEL 3155
    2011
    Newton Classics
    8802033
    2011
    SOMM
    Beecham 29
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Sony Classical
    8869768365
    2010
    Testament
    1449
    2010
    Documents / Documents Classics
    2231557
    2010
    Sony Classical
    88697714362
    2010
    Berlin Classics
    0300037
    2010
    Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    BIS
    1656
    2010
    Decca
    436 598-2DH
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4778687
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Tahra / TAHRA
    TAH 698700
    2009
    Delta / Zebralution
    2009
    Delta / Zebralution
    2009
    Documents / Membrane
    231055
    2009
    Document / Membran
    231754
    2009
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    9068
    2009
    Tahra
    2006
    2009
    Myto Records
    215
    2009
    Phoenix Edition
    437
    2009
    Documents/Membran
    223508
    2009
    Audite
    21403
    2008
    Medici Arts
    27-2
    2008
    Decca
    4758208
    2008
    Music & Arts
    MACD1218
    2008
    Berlin Classics
    184532
    2008
    IDIS
    6538
    2008
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93163
    2008
    EMI Classics
    5090232
    2008
    Warner Classics
    2008
    EMI Classics
    09022
    2008
    Music & Arts
    WHRA 6022
    2008
    Corona Classic Collection
    0002692CCC
    2008
    Sony Music Distribution
    90375
    2008
    Mirare
    045
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4777162
    2008
    Warner Classics
    2008
    Opus KURA
    2071
    2008
    Signum Classics / Signum UK
    133
    2008
    Archipel
    0382
    2008
    EuroArts
    2072168
    2008
    Warner Classics
    2008
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93673
    2008
    Various Artists
    Union Square Music
    SIMPLYCD057
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951203
    2007
    Berlin
    8403
    2007
    Berlin Classics
    8596
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    001050702
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2007
    Tudor Records
    7144
    2007
    RCA Red Seal
    704603
    2007
    Melodiya
    1001108
    2007
    EMI Music Distribution
    385853
    2007
    Rhino
    2007
    BBC Legends
    5001
    2007
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93178
    2007
    Decca
    4758542
    2006
    RCA
    702331
    2006
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2006
    Cascavelle
    3096
    2006
    Universal Distribution
    4768959
    2006
    Bmc Records
    109
    2006
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    6014
    2006
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    0946339382
    2006
    EMI Classics
    2006
    Idis
    6492
    2006
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    6038
    2006
    Philips
    4757955
    2006
    BBC Legends / BBC Music
    41952
    2005
    MediaTag
    19
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000532302
    2005
    Brilliant
    92778
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    7243586067
    2005
    Parlophone
    2005
    Audite
    92542
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000403102
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    7243476895
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution
    56527
    2005
    Opus KURA
    7010
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Warner Classics
    4623232
    2004
    Artone
    222330-354
    2004
    Berlin Classics
    0120051
    2004
    Haenssler
    93120
    2004
    BBC Legends
    41402
    2004
    Rca Red Seal
    60392
    2004
    High Definition Classics
    042
    2004
    Oehms
    339
    2004
    Rca Red Seal
    59425
    2004
    EMI Music Distribution
    62792
    2004
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    92394
    2004
    Apex
    60532
    2004
    Orfeo
    409048
    2003
    EMI Music Distribution
    75944
    2003
    Vox
    90119
    2003
    EMI Classics
    2003
    Naxos
    8557234
    2003
    Apex
    4605312
    2003
    Philips
    470886
    2003
    Sony Music Distribution
    87986
    2003
    Dutton Laboratories
    1024
    2003
    CD Accord
    114
    2002
    EMI Music Distribution
    75097
    2002
    Haenssler
    93044
    2002
    Haenssler
    93080
    2002
    Rca Red Seal
    90114
    2002
    History
    205180
    2002
    Brilliant
    99587
    2002
    Telarc Distribution
    80608
    2002
    Berlin Classics
    0017222BC
    2002
    Haenssler
    93057
    2002
    Living Stage
    35165
    2001
    Audiophile Classics
    APL 101544
    2001
    History
    203090
    2001
    Tahra
    370-71
    2001
    History
    205253
    2001
    EMI Music Distribution
    66389
    2001
    Classica d'Oro
    1036
    2001
    EMI Music Distribution
    1020
    2001
    Sony Music Distribution
    28883
    2001
    566012
    2001
    EMI Music Distribution
    574808
    2000
    Tahra
    117/19
    2000
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    469 196-2GP2
    2000
    Nouveau
    4439
    2000
    Angel Records
    61806
    2000
    Sony Classical
    61842
    2000
    EMI Music Distribution
    67338
    2000
    Universal Distribution
    2000
    Supraphon
    3468
    2000
    Virgin
    61245
    2000
    Seraphim Classics
    2000
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    7243573701
    2000
    Sony Music Distribution
    SS89342
    2000
    Iron Needle
    1412
    1999
    Decca
    460311
    1999
    Decca
    1999
    Claves
    509700/5
    1999
    The Radio Years
    96
    1999
    Disky
    705982
    1999
    Deutsche Grammophon
    427646
    1999
    Deutsche Grammophon
    419318
    1999
    Angel Records
    73362
    1999
    Penguin Classics
    460634
    1999
    RCA
    59480
    1999
    Magic Master
    37024
    1999
    EMI Music Distribution
    72691
    1999
    Music & Arts
    936
    1999
    Music & Arts
    802
    1998
    Telarc Distribution
    80502
    1998
    Deutsche Grammophon
    457648
    1998
    Biddulph Recordings
    039
    1998
    Grammofono 2000
    78770
    1997
    Deutsche Grammophon
    453664
    1997
    Berlin Classics
    0093142
    1997
    Querstand
    9708
    1997
    Tahra
    139-140
    1997
    Capriccio Records
    490654
    1997
    EMI Classics
    66105
    1997
    London
    452892
    1997
    Warner Classics
    1997
    Dutton Laboratories
    5003
    1997
    Nimbus
    NI1766
    1996
    Naxos
    504012
    1996
    Claves
    509221
    1996
    Naxos
    553096
    1996
    EMI Music Distribution
    569364-2
    1996
    Magic Talent
    48009
    1996
    Carlton Classics
    01162
    1996
    BMG
    62673
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    66248
    1995
    Music & Arts
    826
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    53971
    1995
    RCA Red Seal
    09026 68314-2
    1995
    Lydian
    18107
    1995
    Seraphim UK
    568534
    1995
    Philips
    434 354-2MM
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    64478
    1995
    Deutsche Grammophon
    447439
    1995
    Philips
    446539
    1995
    Various Artists
    Decca
    444 546-2DF2
    1994
    Denon Records
    7441
    1994
    Music & Arts
    795
    1994
    Capriccio Records
    10503
    1994
    Artists Live Recordin
    065
    1994
    Infinity Digital
    66574
    1994
    EMI Music Distribution
    68121
    1993
    Deutsche Grammophon
    437689
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution
    64628
    1993
    Albany Music Distribution
    089
    1993
    Philips
    438006
    1992
    Sony Music Distribution
    48132
    1992
    Koch
    37072
    1992
    Sony Music Distribution
    48268
    1992
    Nimbus
    5270
    1991
    RCA
    60313
    1991
    RCA
    60290
    1991
    Decca
    4307732
    1990
    Orfeo D'Or
    234901
    1990
    CBS Records
    42316
    1989
    Deutsche Grammophon
    423656
    1988
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music
    1988
    Deutsche Grammophon
    423651
    1985
    Telarc Distribution
    80110
    1980
    Tahra
    117
    1980
    Tahra
    1017
    1980
    Tahra
    1040
    Deutsche Grammophon
    435321
    Deutsche Grammophon
    437000
    RCA
    60291
    RCA
    60328
    Beulah
    12
    Grammofono 2000
    78548
    Decca
    000298102
    RCA
    60978
    ASV
    6029
    RCA
    62678
    EMI Music Distribution
    65353
    History
    2030921
    Golden Melodram
    40064
    Smithsonian Collection of Reco
    24737
    History
    205182
    Enterprise
    929
    Lys
    077
    EMI Music Distribution
    64085
    History
    205255
    Deutsche Grammophon
    471289
    Deutsche Grammophon
    435328
    Tahra
    1008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    471307
    Accord
    206202
    Reader's Digest Music
    5941
    Deutsche Grammophon
    437020
    Deutsche Grammophon
    445024
    Capriccio Records
    49067
    Iron Needle
    1379
    Manchester
    130
    Sony Music Entertainment
    48268
    Rca Red Seal
    63940
    RCA
    60792
    Erato
    45986
    EMI Music Distribution
    574885
    Living Era Classics
    8556
    Urania
    11902
    Brilliant
    93178/12
    Nimbus
    5222
    Brilliant
    93163/2
    Brilliant
    92394/4
    Brilliant
    93673/4
    EMI Music Distribution
    49949
    Brilliant Classics
    8635/56
    Berlin Classics
    0010832
    Virtuoso
    2697362
    Historical Performers
    40
    Philips
    425957
    London
    400082
    Donau
    8107
    EMI Music Distribution
    5698362
    Virgin Classics
    90708
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    9030
    BBC Legends / IMG Artists
    40722
    Rca Red Seal
    63945
    RCA
    60101
    CBS Records
    44828
    Denon Records
    7371
    Hungaroton
    12722
    Naxos
    550502
    BBC Music Magazine
    117
    Lodia Compact Discs
    788
    Russian Compact Disc (RCD)
    25014
    IMP Classics
    943
    London
    164157
    Originals
    845
    Teldec
    18960
    As Disc
    306
    Canyon Classics
    287
    Theorema
    121225
    Legend
    111
    As Disc
    11001
    Philips
    412176
    EMI Music Distribution
    47478
    Musique d'Or
    1020
    London
    430747
    Excelsior Recordings
    047
    Vivace
    604
    Memories
    4569
    Suite Records
    6005
    RCA
    60127
    Deutsche Grammophon
    429983
    Theorema
    121172
    Pickwick
    11040
    Enterprise
    4176
    Arkadia
    12
    Carlton
    91442
    Philips
    456029
    Various Artists
    ABC Classics
    4802842
    ABC Classics
    4802832
    Sony Music Distribution
    47610
    Artists
    65
    London
    433330
    London
    433342
    Palladio
    4176