Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about a classic musical symphony from the early 19th century, Schubert’s ‘Symphony No. 8’.
In the twenty first episode of The Simpsons, Bart the Daredevil (Season 02, Episode 08), Homer and Bart both want to go see Truck-o-Saurus, but it’s the same Saturday night as Lisa’s school musical recital. The plan is made to attend Lisa’s musical recital first before heading to see Truck-o-Saurus.
Principal Skinner: “Tonight, Sherbert’s… Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.”
Homer: “Good, unfinished. This shouldn’t take long.”
While the recital lasts longer than Homer and Bart would have liked, ‘Symphony No. 8’ does leave an impression in Homer’s mind, as witnessed by his drive toTruck-o-Saurus.
But have you ever wondered where Schubert’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’ comes from?
Schubert’s ‘Symphony No. 8’
Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer. In a life cut short at age 31 by typhoid fever, Schubert gave the world 7 symphonies, over 600 vocals, and dozens of operas.
In a 2011 New York Times article, chief music critic Anthony Tommasini ranked Schubert as the 4th greatest composer of all time; behind only 1) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), 2) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), and 3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Tommasini stated “You have to love the guy, who died at 31, ill, impoverished and neglected except by a circle of friends who were in awe of his genius. For his hundreds of songs alone – including the haunting cycle Winterreise, which will never release its tenacious hold on singers and audiences – Schubert is central to our concert life… Schubert’s first few symphonies may be works in progress. But the Unfinished and especially the Great C major Symphony are astonishing. The latter one paves the way for Bruckner and prefigures Mahler.”
Franz Schubert’s ‘Symphony No. 8’ in B minor, commonly known as the ‘Unfinished Symphony’, is a musical composition that Schubert started in 1822. He left the symphony with only two movements, despite the fact that he would live for another six years. To this day, musicologists still disagree as to why Schubert failed to complete the symphony.
Schubert was a composer in what is known as the Classical period of composition (roughly 1730 to 1820) and in the Romantic period of composition (roughly 1820 to 1910). Some musicologists consider ‘Symphony No. 8’ as the turning point between the Classical and Romantic periods.
Now that we’ve learned more about ‘Symphony No. 8’, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Were you familiar with ‘Symphony No. 8’? What about Franz Schubert? What’s your favourite Simpsons musical reference? What about your favourite Simpsons episode where Lisa plays the saxophone? Who’s your favourite composer? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.