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Schubert ‘The Great’

A monument of heavenly grandeur, a cathedral of emotions.

This concert will take place: without a live audience in the hall, but with a livestream. The stream will be available here on 5 March at 8pm. 

A monument of heavenly grandeur, ‘Ein Ungeheuer’ (a monster), full of celestial dimensions, too long and too difficult, obsessive, splendid...A sampling of reactions to Schubert’s 9th Symphony, ‘the Great’, are spot on: this monumental work leaves no one untouched.

All must recognize that it reveals to us something more than beautiful song, mere joy and sorrow, such as music has always expressed in a hundred ways; it leads us into regions which - to our best recollection - we had never before explored.” Robert Schumann on Schubert's 9th Symphony

In May 1824, Beethoven’s revolutionary 9th Symphony had its première. The young Franz Schubert was present, and was enormously impressed. It was impossible not to be inspired or influenced by the approach, the scale and the impact of that work – and Schubert began writing what would become his own 9th Symphony. He died in November 1828, a few months after making his final revisions, without ever having heard it performed.

Fortunately, some ten years later Robert Schumann found the 130-page thick manuscript and immediately realized that he was holding a masterpiece in his hands. Mendelssohn conducted the premiere, and although it took some time for the symphony to win over the hearts of the audiences, Schumann believed in its potential: "This work demonstrates the composer’s mastery, and in time its connection will all become clear."

He was right. Today, Schubert’s musical legacy is universally recognized: one continuous work of energy whose length and structure creates a perfect canvas for listeners to lose themselves in a torrent of lyricism.

Flagey, Brussels Philharmonic