Symphony no. 9 in C 'the Great', D. 944

The Symphony no. 9 in C major, D. 944, is the last symphony completed by Franz Schubert. It is usually called The Great to distinguish it from the 'Little' Symphony no. 6 in C major. It is largely believed that the no. 9 Symphony was written in 1825, with some letters by Schubert supporting this claim. The date of the first performance has been disputed, with some claiming that there was an attempt to perform it in 1826, and other sources claiming that the symphony was part of a concert programme in 1829. In any case, the first public performance of the work of which there is record took place in 1839, with Felix Mendelssohn conducting and Schumann celebrating the symphony as a critic. The work, nonethe, was repeatedly critiziced by orchestral musicians, who found the strings and woodwind parts too lenghty and difficult. Mendelssohn often found orchestras totally unwilling to play the work. Unusually long for a symphony, a typical performance of The Great takes around 55 minutes. There continues to be some controversy over the numbering of this symphony, with German-speaking scholars sometimes numbering it as symphony no. 7, the most recent version of the Deutsch catalog (the standard catalogue of Schubert's works, compiled by Otto Erich Deutsch) listing it as no. 8, and English-speaking scholars often listing it as no. 9.

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