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One of the pieces The New City Sinfonia played was Schubert's Symphony No. 8: Unfinished I recently used Schubert's Eighth as a justification for a Camus quote.

The quote was, "Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre." -- Albert Camus

Schubert's 8th Symphony is only two movements instead of the traditional four. Hence the title Unfinished.

Schubert did go on to write a Ninth Symphony which has four movements. The Ninth is on such a large scale that it received the title of The Great.

Schubert was idle with The Eighth and left it unfinished but it might be his most popular piece of music, except for Ave Maria.

I think this justifies Camus' quip. If the music of Schubert's Eighth Symphony were mediocre, it's unfinished state would have killed it. It may have been performed from time to time but as it is, The Unfinished Symphony is a symphonic warhorse.

Carlos Kleiber might be a better example. As a conductor, he was idle for a good part of his career and limited his engagements. Yet he is considered, by many, to be amongst the great conductors of the 20th Century.

There is one other element of the Camus quote if we think of it in terms of, "The idleness of the great is fatal to the mediocre."

Here we have Achilles pouting in his tent nursing his bitter rancor. The result being that Hector and Trojans overrun the Achaean position and many Greeks are killed.

An updated example is Tiger Woods announcing he won't be playing The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines this year. He just killed all the groups trying to raise money by selling tickets. He also killed the TV audience and any chance of people traveling from outside the county to see the tournament.

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