About this work
The famous Unfinished Symphony is not the only work Schubert began but didn't complete. An unfinished E Major symphony had long been known to scholars, and after lying on a library shelf in Vienna since at least the year 1900 a mysterious folder was examined by Dr Ernst Hilmar. He discovered it held partly-composed sections of no fewer than nine symphonic movements for three different Schubert symphonies.
Particularly tantalizing was the score for a symphony written in the very last weeks of Schubert's brief life. It comprised a virtually completed slow movement and two outer movements in less completed form. It is written on two staves, with voice leading and some instrumental indications, with harmonies ranging from complete to partly indicated. German musicologist Peter GŸlke completed the harmonies and orchestrated these fragments, playing the results on East German radio. Then British musicologist Brian Newbould came up with completions of the E Major symphony and all three D Major works (as well as the Unfinished Symphony). To finish this work, he had to include a scherzo written in 1821. But this scherzo is so harmonically advanced and bold that it fits into the 1828 symphony with no problem.
Wishing to perform the result, Belgian conductor Pierre Bartholomée studied Newbould's work and concluded that the Englishman had been too respectful and conservative. Bartholomée reharmonized some of Newbould's completion to fit his idea of Schubert's very late style, and gave more development to contrapuntal entries only indicated in the manuscript, and was also bolder in use of the winds in the orchestration. The result is a vigorous and even masterly forty-minute symphony which is entirely convicing as a Schubert work.