This is the last of five major works by Schubert featured in this Festival. It was commissioned by a clarinettist and is clearly Schubert’s answer to Beethoven’s Septet that it surpasses in every way. In terms of sheer scale, the Octet far surpasses its predecessor and it constituted Schubert’s most substantial completed chamber work, even begging comparison with the size of his C major Symphony. Indeed, Schubert considered the composition of the Octet and the two Quartets as part of a wider strategy to pave the way to composing a Grand Symphony to match Beethoven. In those days all Vienna was full of the imminent premiere of the Choral Symphony.