The second movement is a theme with five variations in E-flat major, Schubert’s only set of symphonic variations. Although there is some variation in the melody, the primary focus of the variations are on instrumentation and tone color. The first variation features violins and winds. The second variation passes the theme between the low strings and the woodwinds. The third variation is again violins and winds. The fourth variation is in C minor and features some acceleration with the use triplet-sixteenth notes. The fifth variation maintains the triplet-sixteenths, but they move into the background with the melody returning close to its original form as a kind of recapitulation. A coda concludes the movement.
The minuet is in C minor and mainly scored for the tutti and fortissimo. The contrasting Trio in E flat 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-flat/C minor) link is made between the inner two movements.