1815: Schubert: Symphony No. 2 in Bb major, age 18

Mr. Peabody Says:

This is an extremely short movement, so start here: 23:08 IV. Presto

It’s a galop, lively round dance in duple time. In other words, it’s very fast, very energetic and a lot of fun to listen- a real “toe tapper”.

He was 16 when he wrote his 1st, so already by age 18 he finished his 2nd symphony. Impressive. In fact, although his 6th symphony was finished at age 21, most of it was completed before his 21st birthday. So six out of his eight symphonies were written at an incredibly young age, just like Mozart.


  • 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons
  • 2 horns, 2 trumpets
  • timpani
  • strings

Andrés Orozco-Estrada

1st movement:

According to Wiki the initial theme of the Allegro vivace is based on the corresponding first theme of Beethoven’s overture to “The Creatures of Prometheus”. Listen HERE.

2nd movement:

The second movement is a theme with five variations in Eb major, Schubert’s only set of symphonic variations. Although there is some variation in the melody, the primary focus of the variations is on instrumentation and tone color. Think of Ravel’s “Bolero”, where the entire piece is about one theme always with different orchestration. A coda concludes the movement.

3rd movement:

The minuet is in C minor and mainly scored for the tutti and fortissimo. The contrasting Trio in E♭ major is more thinly scored winds, violins and pizzicato bass. The melody of the trio is actually a variation of the theme used in the second movement, forming a melodic and harmonic (E♭ major/C minor) link between the inner two movements.[2]

4th movement:

The finale is a galop. But what is that? I just read:

A galop is a lively round dance in duple time. a piece of music for, or in the rhythm of, this dance.

In other words, it’s fast and it’s usually in 2/4 time.

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