Wednesday, 21 January 2009

235. Franz Schubert - Octet in F major, D803 (1824)


Title: Octet in F, D803
Performers: Nash Ensemble
Year: 2003
Length: 1 hour 3 minutes


Schubert is, in my humble opinion, the best composer for small ensembles and chamber music in general. His quartets are without pair, as are his songs and this octet is also a wonder.

Beautiful, light and supremely catchy like so much of Schubert's chamber music, it is just a joy to listen to. The addition of clarinet, bassoon and horn to the string quartet + another violin, gives the whole thing focus. Almost like a small scale symphony.

This comparison with a symphony seems to not be completely off the mark, it is very long for a chamber piece and it is reported that Schubert was working on a symphony at the time, from which this octet might have sprung. Great music, and an appropriately light counterpoint to Beethoven's 9th we had just yesterday.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Around the time he composed this Octet, Schubert informed his friends he was working on a new "Grand Symphony". As none of Schubert's surviving scores written in this epoch matches a "symphony" properly speaking, it was sometimes assumed that this Octet and/or the Grand Duo in C major (D.812, op. 140) might have been preliminary versions of the "Grand Symphony" Schubert mentioned in 1824.

First Movement:

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