Passing the Torch: Music for Winds, with MCM Winds
The Beethoven Octet is a key work in the small wind ensemble repertoire.
Beethoven Octet in E-flat Major Op. 103
Raff Sinfonietta for 10 wind instruments, Op. 188
The Beethoven Octet is a key work in the small wind ensemble repertoire. Though it was composed in 1793 (and reworked in 1795 to become his first String Quartet, Op. 4), the Octet itself was published posthumously in 1834 which accounts for its high opus number. It is part of a tradition of Harmoniemusik which was popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries as background music at dinners and social events.
Joachim Raff’s Sinfonietta, composed 80 years later in 1873, was intended to take this tradition of writing for smaller wind groups popularised by Mozart’s Serenadesand continued with the Octet of Beethoven and turn it into something even more impressive: Thus, the work is written for a fully doubled wind quintet. The Sinfonietta was composed during “the cultural high point” of Raff’s life and the piece attained significant popularity at the time of its composition. Though Raff’s music was widely known and admired in his time (even surpassing Brahms in popularity!) it is now rarely performed.
The MCM Winds is a staff / student ensemble, featuring leading wind faculty members from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, David Griffiths, Derek Jones, Lyndon Watts and Carla Blackwood, performing alongside the talented students of the MCM.