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Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony

franz schubert at piano

A managed care company’s 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 managed care reviewers.

The next morning, the president asked him how she enjoyed it and, instead of a few plausible observations, he was handed a memorandum which read as follows:

  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 of this section should be drastically cut. If a large volume of sound is really required, this could be obtained through the use of an amplifier.
  3. Much effort was involved in playing the sixteenth notes. This seems an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes should be rounded up to the nearest eighth 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 had two movements. If Schubert didn’t 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.

In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had the time to finish his symphony.