Mendelssohn: Octet in E Flat Major, Op. 20 transcribed for full orchestra by Yoon Jae Lee, Full Score

Transcription for full orchestra by Yoon Jae Lee

By: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
For: Orchestra
page one of Mendelssohn: Octet in E Flat Major, Op. 20 transcribed for full orchestra by Yoon Jae Lee, Full Score

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Mendelssohn: Octet in E Flat Major, Op. 20 transcribed for full orchestra by Yoon Jae Lee, Full Score


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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Year of composition
Yoon Jae Lee
Difficult (Grades 7+)
30 minutes
Classical music
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Instrumentation: 2. 2. 2. 2 - 2. 2. 0. 0 - tp - str

This transcription of Mendelssohn's octet for full orchestra was made in 2009 to honor the composer's 200th anniversary. With careful study of his orchestral works, Maestro Lee has emulated Mendelssohn's own orchestral language creating a new symphonic work in the spirit and style of the composer. This transcription has been performed by the Baltimore & Phoenix Symphony Orchestras. The 3rd movement incorporates the composer's own orchestral transcription of the scherzo made in 1829 as a substitute movement for the third movement of his First Symphony. Performance material available for hire. Please email for all rental inquiries. Performance: Perusal score:

Reviews: "This version, by Yoon Jae Lee, incorporated winds and brass — intelligently." David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

I first became acquainted with Mendelssohn’s Octet when I was ten years old. It immediately made a lasting impression on me and my enthusiasm for the Octet has never waned since that time. Being an amateur string player, I would read the Octet with my friends whenever I could get a chance but I knew that participating in a professional performance of this great masterpiece would not be possible. As my interest in orchestration and arranging grew, the thought of transcribing the Octet for full orchestra came to my mind. I knew that the Octet is often played as a work for string orchestra with multiple players on each part along with an added contrabass part. However, I began to take the full orchestra idea more seriously when I learned that Mendelssohn had already orchestrated the scherzo as a substitute movement for the Minuetto of his First Symphony for its London premiere in 1829. Mendelssohn also orchestrated his String Symphony No. 8 in D Major so these facts convinced me that orchestrating the other movements was possible. The final straw came when I discovered that Mendelssohn wrote in his autograph manuscript the note mentioned above, “The Octet must be played by all instruments in symphonic orchestral style. Pianos and fortes must be strictly observed and more strongly emphasized than is usual in pieces of this character.” As the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn’s birth approached, I began to study his early orchestral works in hopes of using them as a guide to orchestrating the remaining movements of the Octet. As this is my first attempt at a project of this nature and scope, I cannot say that I have fully succeeded in creating an orchestration that is completely satisfactory. However, knowing that Mendelssohn (like Bruckner and Mahler) continually revised his works after their premieres, I feel that I can improve upon the “1st version” of my transcription just as Mendelssohn himself did for his compositions by becoming more intimately familiar with Mendelssohn’s compositional and orchestration styles.

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