Octet (2002)

Andante Cantabile


Scherzetto: Moderato


Finale: Allegro Appassionata


Premiere Performance: 23 January 2003
Palladium Theater, Encore Series
Florida Orchestra Chamber Players
Demarre McGill, flute; Brian Moorhead, clarinet; Mark Sforzini, bassoon; James Wilson, horn;
Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; Ben Markwell, viola; James Connors, cello; Dee Moses, bass

Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass

Duration: 22 minutes

Commissioned by Ray and Nancy Murray
Performed in 2003 also at Tampa Theatre, and for the Inaugural Performance for the Murray Studio Theater at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. Octet was subsequently performed on the Florida Orchestra Masterworks Series in April 2004 and at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado. Performances have also taken place at the University of South Florida and at the Palladium Theater by FloriMezzo.


Orchestra performs colleague’s melodious work
St. Petersburg Times John Fleming

“Sforzini, who has had two other pieces played by the orchestra, is an unabashed melodist, building his Octet around what he calls the “song of the meadow”.  It’s a serene, joyful tune in D major traded among a wind quartet and string quartet in many variations over three movements.”

“The Octet is very much an orchestra player’s work, passing around the instrumental spotlight in democratic fashion. It’s not without complexity and a certain droll unpredictability… but it never strays far from the main theme, which has the lilt of a Viennese Waltz with just a touch of decay to keep the material from becoming saccharine.  The program note likens it to the chamber music of Poulenc, and that seems about right.  The influence of a Beethoven Septet is also felt.   The orchestra principals, who premiered the 22-minute Octet in a 2003 chamber music performance, were at their best in the third movement sonata, bringing a flair to the infectious melody.”


Bassoonist’s New Work Stands Up to Beethoven
by Kurt Loft, Tampa Tribune

“The 22-minute Octet is in three movements and keeps listeners involved through a creative development of sunny D major themes, rich textures and colors, and a transparency that lets each instrument blend but stand on its own.”

“…kudos to the composer for a work full of fresh lyricism and a mature sense of form.”


Sense of joy pervades new theater’s opening
by John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times

“The theater is named for Ray Murray, a businessman and former chairman of the Florida Orchestra, and his wife, Nancy.  For the occasion, the Murrays commissioned an octet by composer Mark Sforzini, principal bassoon of the orchestra, who performed the work along with seven of his first-chair colleagues. Sforzini likened aspects of his three-movement 21-minute work to “the song of the meadow,” or to a mountain hike, and it did have a lovely serenity and sense of joy, with a prominent, lively part for the orchestra’s excellent concertmaster, Amy Schwartz Moretti.”


Follow the money trail
by John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times

“The best new music [2003] was heard in Mark Sforzini’s Octet, premiered by orchestra’s principals in the Palladium Theater’s exemplary Encore Series…”