Alan Chapman has a lot to say about music, but can he say it in 60 seconds? That’s the Chapman Challenge. We ask a question and Alan has a minute to answer it.
Today’s question comes from a listener named Trudy, who asks: “Did anybody ever finish Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony?”
Hit play below to listen to this week’s Chapman Challenge.
First, let me mention that Schubert completed the first two movements and left behind a sketch of the opening of the third. And numerous composers have stepped forward to finish it. I’ll mention just a couple. In 1892 August Ludwig wrote a “Philosophical Scherzo” to be the third movement and a “March of Fate” to be the fourth. In the 1970s a British composer named Brian Newbould produced a completion that’s been called “more Schubertian” than earlier efforts.
A special inducement was made in 1928. To mark the centennial of Schubert’s death, the Columbia Graphophone Company sponsored a competition for the best completion of the Unfinished, but along the way, they changed the rules to allow composers to submit original symphonies. Apparently, they decided it was best to leave the Unfinished unfinished. The panel of judges included the Danish composer Carl Nielsen and the cash prize of $10,000 (about $145,000 in today’s dollars) went to the Swedish composer Kurt Atterberg. And because of the monetary award his work was nicknamed the “Dollar Symphony.”