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Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”
A company chairman was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert’s
“Unfinished Symphony”. Since
he was unable to go, he passed the invitation to the company’s Quality
The next morning, the chairman asked him how he enjoyed it, and,
instead of a few plausible observations, he was handed a memorandum which
read as follows --
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For a considerable period, the oboe players had nothing to do.
Their number should be reduced, and their work spread over the
whole orchestra, thus avoiding peaks of inactivity.
All twelve violins were playing identical notes.
This seems unnecessary duplication, and the staff of this section
should be drastically cut. If
a large volume of sound is really required, this could be obtained through
the use of an amplifier.
Much effort was involved in playing the demi-semiquavers.
This seems an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all
notes should be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver.
If this were done, it would be possible to use trainees instead of
No useful purpose is served by repeating with horns the passage
that has already been handled by the strings.
If all such redundant passages were eliminated, the concert could
be reduced from two hours to twenty minutes.
In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had the time to finish his symphony.
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