For this 2014 Outhere release of Franz Schubert's Octet in F major, D. 803, the Edding String Quartet is joined by members of the Northernlight chamber ensemble, and the collaboration yields a particularly jubilant performance. The eight musicians interact with a conversant intimacy that shows great sympathy for the music and a natural ease with each other, yet the group produces a big, buoyant sound that suits Schubert's nearly symphonic conception. Not only is the Octet extraordinary for its six-movement structure and expansive time frame of close to an hour, it is also a marvel for its quasi-orchestral writing, a quality it shares with Beethoven's Septet in E flat major, the work that inspired it. The Edding String Quartet fills out the rest of the program with the Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703, one of the great fragments in Schubert's oeuvre. Yet its moods of urgency and brooding pensiveness stand in sharp contrast with the sunny Octet, and its place at the end of the CD has a deflating effect on the recording's largely cheerful mood. The recording is crisp and clean, and the ensemble makes the most of the resonant studio acoustics.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Octet in F major, D. 803|