Schubert: Octet in F major

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LABELS: Collins
WORKS: Octet in F major
PERFORMER: Consort of London
Schubert composed his Octet in 1824, modelling it on Beethoven’s Septet of 1799 but adding an extra violin to his forces. The piece was commissioned by Count Ferdinand von Troyer, an amateur clarinettist employed by Beethoven’s patron the Archduke Rudolph, which accounts for the prominent role given to the clarinet throughout.


The Octet is entertainment music at its best, Schubert creating one of the most immediately appealing and user-friendly works in the entire chamber repertory. Its quasi-conversational exchanges are enthusiastically voiced by the Consort of London, whose stylish and responsive performance matches the work’s predominantly light-hearted mood. The group manages a fine ensemble with some distinguished individual contributions (the players are not named in the booklet), in a reading notable for its lively rhythms. The piece sounds well in the warm and spacious acoustic of Henry Wood Hall, though the balance has the odd bumpy moment. George Hall