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Schubert Octet

November 12, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Franz Schubert ‘Octet in F’ Op 166

This is Schubert’s largest-scale chamber music work.  It is roughly contemporaneous with his “Rosamunde” and “Death and the Maiden” string quartets.  Count Ferdinand Troyer commissioned a work similar to Beethoven’s popular Septet, op. 20, of 1800.

Schubert wrote the Octet in February 1824.  (“Schubert, like Mozart, was one of the fastest writers in musical history: a composer who could conceive a whole work in his head and immediately write it down” [Harold Schonberg].)  He enlarged Beethoven’s ensemble by adding a violin.  Like Beethoven, he structured the piece as a six-movement work.  As Beethoven had written his Septet in preparation for his First Symphony, Schubert viewed the Octet as “pav[ing] the way towards a grand symphony” –what ultimately became his Symphony No. 9 of 1828.

The movements of the Octet are: (1) Adagio – Allegro – Più allegro (the theme derives from Schubert’s song Der Wanderer); (2) Adagio; (3) Allegro vivace – Trio – Allegro vivace; (4) Andante – variations.  Un poco più mosso – Più lento (the variations derives from a theme in Schubert’s early opera Die Freunde von Salamanka); (5) Menuetto.  Allegretto – Trio – Menuetto – Coda; and (6) Andante molto – Allegro – Andante molto – Allegro molto.

The Octet was privately performed in the spring of 1824 at the home of the commissioner’s employer, Archduke Rudolph (to whom Beethoven dedicated his “Archduke” Trio of 1811).  The Octet received its public premiere in Schubert’s last subscription concert in 1827, but it was not published until 1889.

Jacqui Miles, Claire Parkin violin
Adam Clarke viola
Emma Chamberlain cello
Chris Seddon double bass

Barbara Stuart clarinet
Helen Newing horn
Simon Payne bassoon



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November 12, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


St Nicolas’ Church
Abingdon Oxon OX14 3HF United Kingdom + Google Map
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Abbey Chamber Concerts
07775 904626
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