unfinished symphony

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      Sunday in sitting room, listen with mother,

      music-absorbed – where my brothers?

      composer life read on record back-cover.


      Tremulous clarinets, oboes and strings;

      timpani exclaim, tears easily spring,

      malleable hearts Schubert capably wrings.


      Symphony forgotten, decades after death,

      re-discovered, cluttered study held breath:

      hallowed harmonies: height, width, depth.


      Half-suppressed heart, emotional outcry,

      what caused passionate protest, and why?

      Did ‘Unfinished’ score cause bitter sigh?


      Beethoven’s mantle impossible to steal;

      life-leeching lust, your Achilles heel –

      an empty faith, uncertain your keel.


      Impoverished, neglected, few friends;

      sheet-music left, outlasting your end;

      perhaps in eternity, heaven your friend…?


      • Schubert’s output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works, seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades following his death…


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