Good artists copy, great artists steal!

Schubert’s Octet dates from 1824, it was commissioned by the clarinettist Ferdinand Troyer as – so the story goes – a companion work to Beethoven’s (then) extremely popular Septet (still is!). Apart from adding a second violin to make the numbers up to eight, Schubert seems to have used the Beethoven piece as the template for his […]

A concerted effort

By all accounts Mendelssohn found the writing of concertos difficult. His main problem, it seems, was finding a balance between the – almost inevitable – virtuoso, show off/exhibitionist element of the concerto and the serious/profound music that he felt he should write. Despite –or maybe because of – the difficulty in reconciling these opposites(?), the composer […]

Prodigious

Not the work of your average 16 year old, but Mendelssohn’s Octet seems to capture brilliantly the feral excitement, boundless energy and sheer joie de vivre of youth. And so that’s where we’ll begin, with a work by a boy who in his mid adolescence  produced this, one of the masterpieces of a century peopled […]