This is the budget or mid-price reissue of a recording made in the Fall of 1987 and apparently released only in the first months of 1989. It is excellent, with good to remarkable tone production from all the players, at the service of a fine musical conception: brisk and strongly accented in the outer movements, very expansive in tempo in the sublime "Adagio" (2nd movement), in which Karl Leister's hushed pianissimos do marvels, and very contrasted in the theme and variations (4th movement). Among the versions recorded roughly at the same time, I find it better than Kremer and band on DG (Schubert: Octet), otherwise outstanding but marred by a plodding finale, the Academy of Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields (their second version on Chandos: Schubert: Octet in F major, D. 803), overly resonant in acoustics and a bit too expansive, or even the fine Chilingirian Quartet, on the British mid-price label EMI Eminence - apparently not listed on this website, but you can sometimes find it on its British sister company. For more detailed comments see my review of the original release: Schubert Octet in F Major Berliner Solisten.
By the way: by some mysterious and dumbfounding quirky workings of the all-embracing "system" that defies my understanding, this review of the Berliner Ensemble automatically gets published also under ASIN:B000003VKC, which is the Octet played by the Stamitz Ensemble. None of my pleas have succeeded in getting it fixed. So if you have clicked on this Stamitz Ensemble recording and are reading this review - don't trust it! I have NOT heard this particular recording and cannot comment upon it. Go to Franz Schubert: Octet in F Major, D.803 instead.