Franz Schubert‘s Symphony No. 8 in B minor (sometimes renumbered as Symphony No. 7), commonly known as the “Unfinished Symphony” (German: Unvollendete), D.759, was started in 1822 but left with only two movements known to be complete, even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr’acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial. One possible reason for Schubert’s leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (three-in-a-bar). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three consecutive movements in exactly the same meter rarely occur in the symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the great Viennese composers (one notable exception being Haydn’s Farewell Symphony).
One of the most longing themes of musical delight, with the recurrence of the motif, giving the sense of return to an unfinished thought or day in the life of the composer. A search for true memory of the details in the scene long time passed. With each repetition, another detail comes to light, and makes the memory more colorful, while…still a memory… an unforgettable day-dream, filled with both the joy of the reenactment and nostalgia coming with the realization of the impossibility of reenacting the past, but in a memory.
The coda, again circular, gives the feeling that this episode, this moment from the past will always be revisited, from time to time, just in the way one revisits his life memories.