Notes & Reviews:
Violinist Viktoria Mullova formed her own chamber group, the Mullova Ensemble, in 1994. The ensemble has since toured Germany, Spain, Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands, drawing critical acclaim for their exciting blend of scholarship and virtuosity. Mullovas first CD for Onyx featured Vivaldi violin concertos with Il Giardino Armonico. The disc has already won many prizes worldwide, including the Diapason dOr de LAnne and a Gramophone Editors Choice. This new Onyx recording features Schubert's monumental chamber work, the Octet. The work is said to foreshadow the grand symphonic style that would be the hallmark of Schubert's Great C Major symphony.
Gramophone Classical Music Guide
A spacious performance, enthralling and poetic: it leaves behind the world of happy Viennese music-making. Instead, we have a view of the Octet as one of Schubert's major achievments, sharing much common ground with the other great chamber works of 1824, the A minor and D minor string quartets. The Adagio is taken unusually slowly, but without any feeling of the rhythm sagging - the effect is unexpectedly profound and meditative. The following Scherzo is unhurried, too, yet is still full of spirit; it's beautifully poised, with each phrase convincingly shaped. There's only one movement, the Minuet, where the measured approach is maybe overdone; it's marked Allegretto, after all, and here the effect is distinctly languid. However, the romantic feeling of the first movement's introductory Adagio is perfectly captured, and the corresponding slow introduction to the finale, whose melodrama can sometimes sound like a tongue-in cheek shock tactic, emerges here as one extreme of a multifaceted yet perfectly unified work
And the thoughtful shaping of phrases isn't confined to the Scherzo; it's present throughout, keeping us constantly aware of the music's expressive power. Even when these inflections seem slightly contentious - in the finale's main theme, for example - they contribute to a constant feeling of lively communication.
A spacious performance, enthralling and poetic... The Adagio is taken unusually slowly, but without any feeling of the rhythm sagging - the effect is unexpectedly profound and meditative.
These artists find a greater depth than their predecessors in a work that we all think we know well. There is not only grace, pathos and tenderness here, but also a thoughtful attention to details of phrasing and internal balance...musically a most satisfying and revealing account - and a moving one too.
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Works DetailsSchubert, Franz : Octet for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Strings in F major, D 803/Op. 166
- Ensemble: Mullova Ensemble
- Notes: Composition written: 1824.
- Running Time: 62 min. 48 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Chamber Music
- Written: 1824