Franz Schubert – Octet in F major D 803

The Octet in F major, D. 803 was composed by Franz Schubert in March 1824. It was commissioned by the renowned clarinetist Ferdinand Troyer and came from the same period as two of Schubert’s other major chamber works, the ‘Rosamunde’ and ‘Death and the Maiden’ string quartets.
Consisting of six movements, the Octet takes almost an hour to perform.
1. Adagio – Allegro – Più allegro
2. Adagio
3. Allegro vivace – Trio – Allegro vivace
4. Andante – variations. Un poco più mosso – Più lento
5. Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio – Menuetto – Coda
6. Andante molto – Allegro – Andante molto – Allegro molto
The Octet boasts the largest scale for any chamber work by Schubert. It is scored for a clarinet, a bassoon, a horn, two violins, a viola, a cello, and a double bass. This instrumentation is similar to that of the Beethoven Septet, differing only by the addition of a second violin.
In response to a reported request by Troyer for a work similar to Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20, Schubert composed the Octet in early 1824. The work was first performed at the home of Troyer’s employer, the Archduke Rudolf (to whom Beethoven’s Archduke Trio is dedicated) and included many of the musicians who premiered the Septet.


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