Octet in F Major, Op.34
For String Quartet, Bass, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon
“Hugo Kaun’s noteworthy Octet in F Major for 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon appeared in 1892. It is in one long (our soundbite presents about a third of it) and finely constructed movement with frequent changes of rhythm. Though it is a chamber work, at times it approaches the aura of a symphonic tone poem. In it, one hears deep feelings of an intense struggle, of impending death and of grief. But to be sure, there are also sunny episodes which are interspersed between the darker sections. After a slow introduction, the quicker main theme makes its appearance. Particularly impressive is the funeral march which follows. The Octet is magnificently constructed, with clear technique and is not at all hard to play....It is difficult to understand why it so seldom appears on concert programs for it is well-written and combines euphony with dramatic force."---the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook and in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.
Hugo Kaun (1863-1932) was born in Berlin and received his musical education there, studying composition with Friedrich Kiel at the Royal Prussian Academy of Music. In 1887, he moved to the United States and settled in the city of Milwaukee where he lived for 13 years. Milwaukee had a large German-American population and Kaun taught at the Milwaukee Conservatory. He acquired quite a reputation as a composer as several of his works were premiered by the Chicago Symphony under the direction of his friend Theodore Thomas who had founded the orchestra. He returned to Berlin in 1900, where he remained for the rest of his life, teaching and composing. His style is late romantic and shows the influences of Brahms, Bruckner and Wagner. He wrote a fair amount of chamber music, including 4 string quartets, a string quintet, two piano trios, a piano quintet and this octet
Kaun's Octet is for the same combination as the Schubert Octet and makes a perfect choice when an evening for this specific ensemble is planned. We also offer the Thieriot Octet also for this exact combination.