Hyperion Records

Octet in C minor, Op 15a

'Mendelssohn & Bargiel: Octets' (CDH55043)
Mendelssohn & Bargiel: Octets
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55043  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Adagio – Allegro appassionato
Track 5 on CDH55043 [18'20] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Andante sostenuto – Allegro
Track 6 on CDH55043 [7'16] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Allegro
Track 7 on CDH55043 [8'05] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Octet in C minor, Op 15a
While he was still at the Conservatoire Bargiel had a considerable success with his Octet for strings, which was performed at one of the public examinations. This was published in 1877 by the Leipzig firm of Breitkopf & Härtel as his Opus 15a. (Its companion piece, Opus 15b, was Bargiel’s first String Quartet, in A minor.) The Octet is in three movements, the second acting as a combined slow movement and scherzo. Although the adolescent Sturm und Drang of the first and last movements and the hymn-Iike piety of the opening of the second are undeniably dated, the work has a sincerity and enthusiasm which should endear it to both players and listeners. It is dedicated to Ludwig Norman.

In 1850 Bargiel returned to Berlin and soon gained a reputation as both a teacher and a composer. In 1859 he became Professor of Theory at the Cologne Conservatoire and then in 1865 Kapellmeister and Director of the institute of the Maatschappij tot Bevordering van Toonkunst in Rotterdam. Joseph Joachim appointed him Professor of Composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik in 1874 and the following year he became a member of the senate of the Academy of Arts. During his lifetime his music was widely performed. His overtures Prometheus and Medea were heard at the Crystal Palace in the 1860s and were highly thought of. Wilhelm Altmann, writing of Bargiel in 1928 in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, points out that ‘it is evident from his works that he was an adherent of Robert Schumann’ and suggests that ‘his chamber music, though it sounds extremely well, has been undeservedly neglected of late’. (Hopefully, this recording of the Octet should help to change that state of affairs.) Woldemar Bargiel died on 23 February 1897.

from notes by Peter Avis © 2000

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