Fibonacci Sequence

Schubert: Octet

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AllMusic Review by

The Fibonacci Sequence is a versatile chamber ensemble based in the United Kingdom, and since 1994 it has been the artist in residence at Kingston University. The group consists of musicians of international stature who are well-versed in the chamber repertoire, and the personnel shifts according to the needs of a given work. In the case of Franz Schubert's Octet in F major, D. 803, the instrumentation of clarinet, bassoon, horn, and string quintet (which includes a double bass) is not a conventional grouping, yet Fibonacci is flexible enough to fill the parts with performers who sound attuned to each other, as if they had played together for years. This is essential in playing the Octet, which from the start poses a critical problem of balance. The strings outnumber the winds, but the special richness and power of the clarinet and the horn are enough to force the quintet to push its dynamics to compensate and assert its thinner timbres to even out the textures. The group seems to account for this in most passages, and the blend of the parts is attractive, though even an ensemble as skilled as Fibonacci can't always account for the acoustics. If there is a feature of this recording on Deux-Elles that jeopardizes enjoyment of the music, it is the roominess of the recording space that puts a lot of distance between the instruments and works against the whole. Even so, this is a worthwhile recording of an engaged performance that bears repeated listening for its expressiveness and technical polish.

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