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Symphony No. 2 in D Minor

César Franck
(1822-90)



1. Lento. Allegro non troppo.
2. Allegretto.
3. Allegro non troppo.

The symphony in D Minor, which was first performed at the Paris Conservatoire, February 17, 1889, has been furnished with an analysis by the composer himself, the main points of which follow. It opens with a slow and sombre introduction, the principal motive of which is developed through thirty measures and leads to the Allegro, or first movement proper, which is energetic in style. After a reentrance of the motive of the Lento and the development of that of the Allegro, the second theme appears, and this is turn is followed by a third, which is highly developed. A return is made to the first theme which is given out fortissimo. The theme of the movement proper is resumed, leading to the conclusion of this division of the symphony.

The second movement opens with pizzicato chords for string orchestra and harp, followed by a sweet and melancholy theme given out by the English horn. This section of the movement is closed by clarinet, horn, and flute, after which the violins announce a second theme. At the conclusion of its development, the English horn and the various wind instruments take up fragments of the first motive, after which follows a Scherzo division. At the close of this sprightly Scherzo, the entire opening period, as announced by the English horn, is combined with the theme of the Scherzo, the latter being assigned to the violins.

The third movement opens brilliantly in contrast with the somberness of the two preceding ones. The principal theme is stated in the cello and bassoons, and after development a new theme appears in the brasses, continued in the strings, after which a new subject occurs in the basses, followed in its turn by the theme of the second movement in the English horn. After development of the first subject of the movement in the first violins a retard is followed by a suggestion of the second movement theme in the oboe. After a pause, development of previous material leads to a climax, the full orchestra recapitulating the principal subject of the movement. The Coda follows with suggestions of the second theme in the first movement as well as its opening theme, the movement closing with its principal subject.





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