#ClassicsaDay #OctoberOctet Week 1
The Classics a Day team decided October was the month to feature octets. Granted, it is the tenth month of the year, but the word “detects” isn’t as alliterative.
The mix of instruments that make up an octet varies. Some composers wrote for double string quartet, some for wind instruments, and some for a blend of instruments.
10/04/21 Felix Mendelssohn: String Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20
Mendelssohn composed his octet at age 16. It was written for four violins, two violas, and two cellos — in essence two string quartets.
10/05/21 Nikolay Afanasyev: Double String Quartet in D major
Afanasyev considered this a very different type of composition than a string octet. Though the instrumentation is the same, he considered this 1875 work as one for two separate quartets interacting with each other.
10/06/21 Dimtri Shostakovich: Two Pieces for String Octet Op. 11
Shostakovich used Mendelssohn’s model for his string octet. It features a prelude and a scherzo, and was written in memorium to a friend.
10/07/21 Franz Krommer – Octet Partita OP. 57 in F major
This was originally titles “Harmonie,” and was a nonet (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon). It was eventually retitled, as the contrabassoon part simply doubles the second bassoon at the octave and can be dropped.
10/08/21 Max Bruch: String Octet in B-flat major, Op. Posth.
In 1920 Bruch reworked his String Quintet no. 3, transforming it into a string octet. It was one of the last works he completed before his death in 1920.