Beethoven Octet for Winds - Wednesday's Free Download from Ensemble Monterey
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Dear Ensemble Monterey Friends - During the classical era, roughly 1700 - 1827, there was sadly no electricity and hence no boom boxes. If you wanted background music it had to be live. Fortunately, if you were rich, musicians worked for very little. So it was that any respectable noble boasted a small orchestra for entertainment purposes. If you were a major noble and had to show off you would super-size your orchestra to include a group of 8 woodwind players. Usually 2 oboes (who also doubled on flute), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons and 2 horns (better know as "French" horns). When the royal boss wanted outdoor music these woodwind players got the job because string instruments go silent when their rosin melts and their delicate wood cracks in the sun. As a result we have a very rich tradition of wind octet music from the likes of Mozart, Haydn and many others. Beethoven got in the act early in his career by writing this octet at the age of 23 in 1793 while he was still in Bonn. The octet was probably written at the request of Beethoven's boss, the Elector Maximilian Franz. While Max undoubtedly expected forgettable background music, this octet displays all the impetuous, vivacious nature for which he would later become so well-known. It is also a virtuoso workout for all the players. We have performed this piece several times, most recently in our 2016 - 2017 season. Enjoy!
Had enough "classical" music? Be sure to come back Friday for some musical humor!
Yours in Music - John Anderson