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[1797 - 1828]

Schubert's Death Mask

link to biography of Schubert

Fantasy in C Major, D. 934; for violin solo and orchestra

an orchestration by Mark Starr
of Schubert's original work for violin and piano,
composed in 1828

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


To the eternal regret of violinists everywhere, Franz Schubert never composed a violin concerto. This arrangement for violin solo and orchestra of Schubert's Fantasy in C Major (originally composed for violin and piano) is an attempt to fill that glaring gap in the concert repertoire.  It is hoped that this orchestration will make this extraordinary work available to concert violinists appearing as soloist with orchestras. While not exactly a concerto (on the model of Beethoven's Violin Concerto,) the Fantasy in C major, D. 934 is a large-scale virtuoso work in seven continuous sections that correspond roughly to three connected movements. Without repeats, the work lasts 22 minutes. With the optional repeats, the duration is roughly 27 minutes.

Composed in 1828 during Schubert's last few months of life (as his health deteriorated from the severe case of syphillis that would soon kill him,) the Fantasy is not only Schubert's greatest work for the violin -- it is also one of his supreme instrumental masterpieces. It is Mark Starr's contention that Schubert conceived the Fantasy in C major as a work for violin solo and orchestra; but his deteriorating health forced him to set the music down on paper for violin and piano. The piano part is symphonic in texture and full of orchestral effects - beginning with the breath-taking, almost inaudible tremolo that opens the work.

In 1828, faced with the looming prospect of impending doom from syphillis, Schubert was obsessively determined to leave for posterity at least some of the wealth of music that was still within him, in the limited time that he had left. The result was perhaps the greatest burst creative energy in musical history. In less than one year, Schubert produced a steady stream of masterpieces in many genres - up until the final sketches for his tenth symphony.

The Fantasy in C Major for violin and piano was never performed in Schubert's lifetime.  

In addition to this arrangement for violin solo and orchestra, Mark Starr has also made an alternate version, arrangement for flute solo and string orchestra.  This version can also be found on the website of Noteworthy Musical Editions.

The full score Mark Starr's orchestral arrangement of the Fantasy in C Major is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on www.sibeliusmusic.com .  Here are three link to the full score, which is posted in three parts:

Part 1: 

The second part of Schubert's Fantasy in C Major, D. 934, contains a theme and variations based on Schubert's memorable song 'Sei mir gegrüsst!' (I Greet You!, D. 741) This section is the lyrical and emotional high point of the entire work. Following the song/theme, Schubert presents four variations -- each one progressively more intricate and passionate. Then, a developmental reprise of the introductory tremolo section serves as a transition to the exhilarating finale (Part 3.)

Part 2: 

The finale of Schubert's Fantasy in C Major is in three sections. It begins with an exalted theme that recalls Beethoven (who had died less than one year earlier.) In addition to heralding this celebratory theme, the solo violin plays decorative material of great virtuosity. The middle section is a developmental reprise of the earlier Andantino -- essentially a fifth variation to the lied 'Sei mir gegrüsst!' This final variation dissipates into thin air. The silence is broken by a furious coda that makes enormous technical demands on both the soloist and the orchestra.

Part 3:

Also available for purchase, downloading and printing -- together with the full score -- is a separate part for violin solo.  The violin solo part matches the violin part in Schubert's original.  However, Mr. Starr has made many editorial modifications -- principally in the form of changes in dynamics, to make the solo part clearly audible against the colorful orchestral texture.  

Moreover, the violin solo part includes fragments of the part for the first violins, during the pauses in the violin solo part.  This device enables the solo violinist to join the orchestra for tutti sections. This practice not only enhances the sonority of the first violins, it also allows a soloist to optionally conduct the work from the violin. The solo and tutti sections are clearly marked.

Lastly, the solo violin part contains new rehearsal letters, which are indispensible for rehearsals with orchestra.


2 oboes
2 bassoons
2 horns

Mark Starr orchestral arrangement is copyright and registered with ASCAP.