"It is hard to believe how the addition of a single viola suddenly alters the effect of the string instruments as expressed in the quartet, and how the character of the quintet is so very different from that of the quartet. Middle sounds have more force and vitality; the individual voices combine and gain force; if it is four individuals that you have heard in the quartet, now it seems you have a crowd before you."
A Special Repertoire
Over the course of the 19th century, all major chamber music ensembles developed alongside the bourgeoisie. Public performances of chamber music became increasingly frequent and larger in scale. Consequently, expectations changed and orchestral sound effects found their way into chamber music.
Composers began writing chamber music, often thinking in symphonic categories and shifting the emphasis of their compositions as compared to creations for string quartets.
A larger ensemble offers many more possibilities of combining different instruments and supporting the effect of the music with a versatile "sound direction". A quartet offers eleven different ways of grouping the instruments. In the sextet 64 different groupings can be formed. In the octet, the number is 252!
When smaller sections are formed, the essence of chamber music comes more to the fore. Larger individual sections evoke an orchestral sound. It is the vibrant sound variability that allows large chamber music ensembles to achieve its characteristic and distinctive effect.
It represents a fascinating and unique repertoire of music history and creates remarkable experiences for concert audiences. For the musicians, a unique playing experience arises and for composers inspiration unfolds.
Writing an octet is not a compulsory exercise. The composer chooses a special instrumentation in line with a unique inspiration. The big bang phenomenon of Mendelssohn's String Octet Op. 20 is the most famous example. The 16-year-old Mendelssohn, without the possibility of following any example, created perhaps the most multifaceted piece of string chamber music ever composed. The sound visions of the young George Enescu also found their most memorable manifestation in his string octet. Max Bruch chose the string octet ensemble with a double bass for his last composition, which can be regarded as his noble musical testament. We constantly come across outstanding chamber music compositions also and especially by lesser known composers.
The large instrumentation also poses a great challenge to the ensemble.
Referring to the string quintet, the composer and music theorist Johann Mattheson said: "Where many talk, nobody hears clearly".
But when the musicians succeed in continuously and abruptly changing roles, our experience becomes magnificent: chamber music with orchestral sound splendour!
|Kalevi Aho (*1949)||String Quintet „Hommage à Schubert“|
|Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)||Quintet in C major for three violins, viola and violoncello|
|Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)||La Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid, G. 324|
|Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)||String Quintet in G major, Op. 111|
|Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)||String Quintet Op. 77 in
String Quintet Op. 97 in E-flat major
|Alexander Glasunow (1865-1936)||String Quintet Op. 39 in
|Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1794-1868)||String Quintet in C minor|
|Hans Kößler (1853-1926)||String Quintet in D minor|
|Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)||String Quintet H. 164|
|Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847)||String Quintet Op. 87 in
B flat major
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)||String Quintet No. 2 in
C major, KV 515
|Pehr Henrik Nordgren (1944-2008)||String Quintet op. 110|
|Georges Onslow (1784-1853)||Quintet for two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass Op. 33 in B flat major
Quintet for two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass Op. 74 in E minor
|Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831)||String Quintet in G minor, Ben 272
String Quintet in G major, Ben 287
|Einojuhani Rautavaara (*1928)||String Quintet „Les cieux inconnus“|
|Franz Schubert (1797-1828)||String Quintet in C major,
Overture for String Quintet in C minor, D 8
|Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942)||Two movements for String Quintet in D minor|
|Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)||String Sextet in E flat major, Op. 13/1
String Sextet in C Major, Op.
|Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)||String Sextet in D minor|
|Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)||String Sextet No. 1 in
B flat major, Op. 18
|Alexei Davidov (1867-1940)||String Sextet Op. 12 in
E flat major
|Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)||Suite for 2 String Trios "The Echo"|
|Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)||String Sextet Op. 10 in
|Hans Kößler (1853-1926)||String Sextet in F minor|
|Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)||String Sextet H 224|
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)||"Grande Sestetto Concertante" in E-flat major, KV 364|
|Joachim Raff (1822-1882)||String Sextet Op. 178 in
|Nikolai Andrejewitsch Rimski-Korsakow (1844-1908)||String Sextet in A Major|
|Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)||String Sextet Op. 4 “Verklärte Nacht“|
|Richard Strauss (1864-1949)||Sextet from "Capriccio",
|Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky (1840-1893)||String Sextet Op. 70 in
D minor "Souvenir de Florence"
|String Octet and Double Quartet|
|Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)||Adagio and fugue for two String Quartets in C major, Op. 17|
|Max Bruch (1838-1920)||Concerto for String Octet in B flat major, op. posth.|
|George Enescu (1881-1955)||String Octet Op. 7 in
|Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890)||String Octet Op. 17 in
|Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847)||String Octet Op. 20 in
|Andreas Romberg (1767-1821)||Double Quartet in D minor, Op. posth.|
|Dmitri Dmitrijewitsch Schostakowitsch (1906-1975)||Two pieces for String Octet Op. 11|
|Louis Spohr (1784-1859)||Double Quartet Op. 136 in G minor|
|Olli Mustonen (*1967)||String Nonet No. 2 (2000)|
|Nicolai von Wilm (1834-1911)||String Nonet Op. 150 in
|Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)||Piano Quintet No. 2 in
A major, Op. 81
|Carl Frühling (1868-1937)||Piano Quintet Op. 30 in
F sharp minor
|Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)||Quintet for piano, violin, viola, violoncello and double bass in E flat minor, Op. 87|
|Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)||1st Chamber Symphony
Op. 9 (Piano Quintet version by Anton von Webern)
|Franz Schubert (1797-1828)||Piano Quintet for violin, viola, violoncello and double bass in A major, D 667 "Trout Quintet"|
|Robert Schumann (1810-1856)||Piano Quintet Op. 44 in
E flat major
|Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)||Piano Quintet in C minor|
|Bruno Walter (1876-1962)||Piano Quintet|
|Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)||Jew's harp concert in
Quartets for violin, viola, cello and double bass,
Op. 20 No. 5 in C major and No. 6 in D major
|J. S. Bach (1685-1750)||Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048|
|Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)||Guitar Quintet G. 448 "Fandango"|
|Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)||Clarinet Quintet Op. 115 in B minor|
|Julius Bürger (1897-1995)||Symphonic Scherzo
Adagio for strings
|Friedrich Cerha (*1926)||Night Pieces for 2 violins, viola and double bass|
|Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)||Miniatures for String Trio Op. 75a|
|François de Fossa (1775-1849)||Quartet Op. 19 No. 3 for guitar and string trio|
|Pavel Haas (1899-1944)||Study for String Orchestra|
|Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)||Divertimento in D for guitar, violin, viola and cello,
HOB III: 8
|Louise Héritte-Viardot (1841-1918)||Piano Quartet Op. 9 in
A major "In Summer"
|Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)||Idyll for Strings|
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)||Clarinet Quintet in A major, KV 581
Concertante for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, violoncello and double bass, KV 452
|Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)||Las Cuatro Estaciones porteñas
Histoire du Tango
|Max Reger (1873-1916)||Clarinet Quintet Op. 146 in A major|
|Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)||String Sonata No. 1|
|Franz Schubert (1797-1828)||Octet for clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass in F major, D. 803 / Op. 166|
|Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)||„Le quattro stagioni“ op. 8|
|Egon Wellesz (1885-1974)||Octet for clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass, Op. 67|
"Where many talk, nobody hears clearly." – Johann Mattheson