Instrumental, liturgical, and dramatic works (1813-16)
Of the thousand works, and more, recorded in the Thematic Catalogue of Schubert's works, half were completed before January 1817, when he celebrated his twentieth birthday. They include every type of composition then known, and in a book of this size it is hardly possible to deal in detail with them all. Something must be said, however, of the major achievements of these schoolhouse years, both because many of them continue to hold their place in the repertory on their own merits, and because they represent what may be called Schubert's first-stage maturity, displaying his mastery of the classical language which he inherited. This is especially important in the case of the symphonies, for there is a striking contrast between the facility of his early years (six symphonies in a little more than four years) and the slow gestation of his two mature masterpieces in the 1820s.
The first three symphonies may conveniently be considered together, since they share the same formal and stylistic characteristics. They are No. 1 in D major of October 1813; No. 2 in B flat of December 1814-March 1815; and No. 3 in D major of May-July 1815. Schubert took as his model in these early works the symphony as it emerged in the mature public works of Haydn and Mozart. Among the most popular keys for such works were D major and B flat.1 They usually began with a slow introduction, were in four movements, with the slow movement coming second, and the outer movements were quick and sustained by a strong forward impetus. Schubert's first three symphonies conform closely to these conventions, though he put his own stamp on them. The third movements are still called Menuets, though those of No. 2 and No. 3 are scherzos in all but name. The Trios are distinguished by Schubert's expressive writing for woodwind, and the slow movements are based on Haydnesque themes, often bland in character, though such is Schubert's gift for melodic invention and variation that they seldom outstay their welcome. He obviously made conscious efforts to extend the monothe____________________