August  Walter

August Walter (1821-1896)

Nationality: German | Swiss
Born: August 12, 1821, Stuttgart
Died: January 22, 1896 (age 74)

Octet, Op. 7

(for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and bass)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Scherzo. Allegro
IV. Finale. Vivace
Composed: 1849 (age 27-28)
Revised: 1863 (age 41-42)
Duration: 29 minutes (approximately)
1 recording
Consortium Classicum

From Silvertrust:

August Walter's Octet in B flat Major, Opus 7 for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass, exists in three versions, the last of which was published by Kistner in 1880. Originally completed in 1849, Walter revisited it in 1863. The score to this revised edition can be found in the library of the University of Basel. While there certainly was no standard instrumentation for an octet of strings and winds, most are for a battery of five strings—2 violins, viola, cello and bass—and three wind instruments, most often flute or clarinet, horn and bassoon. Walter’s choice of four strings and four winds, if not unique, is certainly rare and not to be found in any of the better known octets, few that there are. While most German composers by mid 19th century were in the thrall of Mendelssohn and Schumann, Walter’s Octet looks back to the Vienna Classics and the early Romantics. In the engaging Allegro moderato, which opens the work, we hear echoes of Beethoven’s Op.20 Septet. It is full of forward motion and joie d’vivre. Next comes a Scherzo which shows the influence of Spohr, but is better written without the excessive chromaticism and incessant use of trills. There are two contrasting trios. A gorgeous slow movement, Andante, full of emotion, follows. There are fine opportunities for all of the instruments. The effective finale, Vivace, also shows the energy and style of Spohr, but again without the chromaticism and use of trills.

August Walter (1821-1896) was born in the German city of Stuttgart. There he studied violin with the well known soloist Bernhard Molique. He moved to Vienna in 1842 to study composition with the famous teacher Simon Sechter. In 1846, he obtained a position as conductor of the Basel Choral Society and supplemented his income as a private music teacher. He did not write a great deal, only about 20 works, including an overture, some songs, three string quartets, dedicated to Louis Spohr, his teacher’s teacher, and a symphony.

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