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SCHUBERT: Octets, D. 803 and D. 72


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Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)



Octets, D. 803 and D. 72



Franz Schubert was born in 1797, the son of a Vienna schoolmaster, and hadhis education as a chorister of the Imperial Chapel at the Staatskonvikt. Atschool and at home he had an active musical life, both as a player and as acomposer, and when his voice broke and he was offered the means to continue hisacademic education, he decided, instead, to train as a teacher, thus being ableto devote more time to music. By the age of eighteen he had joined his father inthe schoolroom, while continuing to compose and to study with the old courtcomposer Antonio Salieri. In 1816 he moved away from home, sharing rooms with afriend and the following years found him generally in the company of friends,with an occasional resumption of teaching, an advocation for which he had nogreat talent, at least in the classroom.



Schubert's brief career continued in Vienna, and while there were occasionalcommissions and some of his works were published, there was never theopportunity of the kind of distinguished patronage that Beethoven had had andstill enjoyed, nor the possibility of an official position in the musicalestablishment of the city. It was February 1828 before Schubert was able to havea concert devoted to his work, an event that proved both successful andprofitable, but by the autumn his health had weakened, the consequence of avenereal infection contracted six years earlier. He died on 19th November.



As a composer Schubert was both precocious and prolific. Over the years hewrote some five hundred songs and a quantity of piano and chamber music, withlarger scale works for the theatre and for orchestra, although he never had aprofessional orchestra regularly available to him, as Haydn had had by thenature of his employment as a princely Kapellmeister, or as Beethoven had hadthrough the good offices of his rich patrons.



Schubert's Octet in F major, D. 803, was commissioned by CountFerdinand Troyer, the steward of Beethoven's royal pupil and patron, theArchduke Rudolph, now Archbishop of Olmutz. The count was a competent amateurclarinettist and suggested that Schubert should write a companion piece toBeethoven's Septet, a model that he followed in the number of movements and ininstrumentation, except for the addition of a second violin. Schubert's work isscored for string quintet, including a double bass, clarinet, bassoon and Frenchhorn, and was written in February and March 1824. It was first performed at theCount's residence, with the first violin part played by Ignaz Schuppanzigh, theleading violinist in Vienna, who was responsible for a second and publicperformance of the work in 1827. The first of the six movements of the workstarts with a slow introduction, leading to a strongly rhythmic Allegro. Theclarinet is entrusted with the principal theme of the second, slow movement,accompanied at first by the strings. The following movement, marked Allegrovivace, is in the mood of a scherzo, with a contrasting Trio, built on a walkingcello foundation. The fourth movement, a theme and seven variations, is based ona love duet from Schubert's opera Die Freunde von Salamanka, Gelagert unter'mhellen Dach der Baume. The first variation of the C major theme is intriplet semiquavers, a rhythm used in the string accompaniment of the followingvariation. The second violin provides an even faster accompanying figure for thenext variation, followed by a syncopated treatment of the material and anexcursion into C minor, against the climbing plucked notes of cello and doublebass. An F minor variation allows delicate interweaving of pans before theoriginal key is re-established in conclusion. The fifth movement, a Minuet withan inspired folk-dance of a Trio, leads to a last movement with a slowintroduction followed by a bright Allegro, its course momentarily interruptedbefore the coda by the return, in a form of enhanced drama, of the material ofthe introduction.



The Minuet and Finale are the only movements of the Wind Octet, D. 83,to survive in complete form. The work was written in August 1813 for Schubert'sschool friends and scored for two oboes, two clarinets, two French horns and twobassoons. The Minuet, in traditional form, has two contrasting Trios. TheFinale, after a brief introduction, embarks on a rhythmic figure that assumesconsiderable importance as the movement proceeds. Schubert added a jocular noteto the score, describing himself as Imperial Chinese Director of Music at theCourt of Nanking.

Facts
Item number 8550389
Barcode 4891030503892
Release date 12/01/1999
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Composers Schubert, Franz
Schubert, Franz
Orchestras Budapest Schubert Ensemble
Budapest Schubert Ensemble
Producers Toth, Ibolya
Toth, Ibolya
Disc: 1
Octet, F major, D. 72
1 Adagio - Allegro
2 Adagio
3 Allegro vivace - Trio
4 Andante with variations
5 Menuetto: Allegretto
6 Andante molto - Allegro
7 Menuetto: Allegretto - I. Trio II. Trio
8 Allegro
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