Octet (Mendelssohn)

Octet (Mendelssohn)

Octet (Mendelssohn)

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Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20 was composed in the autumn of 1825 (completed on October 15) , when the composer was aged 16. He wrote it as a birthday gift for his friend and violin teacher Eduard Rietz (born October 17, 1802); it was slightly revised in 1832 before the first public performance on 30 January 1836 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. It was followed in 1826 by the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream.


The work comprises four movements:
  1. Allegro moderato ma con fuoco
  2. Andante
  3. Scherzo
  4. Presto

A typical performance of the work lasts around thirty minutes, with the first movement usually comprising roughly half of this.

The scherzo, later scored for orchestra as a replacement for the minuet in the composer's First Symphony at its premiere, is believed to have been inspired by a section of Goethe's Faust entitled "Walpurgis Night's Dream." from a concert at the Kennedy Center Fragments of this movement recur in the finale, as a precursor to the "cyclic" technique employed by later 19th-century composers. The entire work is also notable for its extended use of counterpoint, with the finale, in...
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