Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony"

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Dec 18 08:06:05 MST 2000

Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony"

A project management company president was given a ticket for a
performance of Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony." Since he was
unable to go, he passed the invitation to one of his project managers.
The next morning, the president asked the project manager how he
had enjoyed it, and he was handed a memorandum, which read as

 1. 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.

2. All twelve violins were playing identical notes. This seems
unnecessary duplication, and the staff in this section should be
drastically cut. If a large volume of sound is required, this could be
obtained through use of an amplifier.

 3. Much effort was involved in playing the 16th notes. This seems
an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes should
be rounded up to the nearest 8th note. If this were done, it would be
possible to use paraprofessionals instead of experienced musicians.

4. 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.

 5. This symphony has two movements. If Schubert did not achieve
his musical goals by the end of the first movement, then he should
have stopped there. The second movement is unnecessary and should
be cut.

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