Ludwig van Beethoven

Sextet for 2 clarinets, 2 horns & 2 bassoons in E flat major, Op. 71

    Description by Michael Jameson

    Beethoven's Wind Sextet carries the rather misleading opus number of 71. Though this seems to suggest a date of composition contemporary with the titanic works of the composer's middle period, the work was actually written in 1796 and remained unperformed for nearly a decade. By the time he contemplated publishing the work in 1810, Beethoven informed his publishers Breitkopf & Härtel that he had written the work "in a single night." That claim, however, should perhaps be discounted, for it is well known that Beethoven did not share Mozart's gift of spontaneous inspiration, and that he almost invariably refined and reworked pieces, often over a period of years. No sketches for the Sextet survive.

    The sextet consists of four movements, all of them falling into established Viennese Classical patterns but having the young composer's distinctively sharper edge. It owes a good deal to Mozart's well-known wind serenades. The work begins with an Adagio introduction in 4/4 time, followed by a vigorous triple-meter Allegro. Next comes a reflective Adagio, in which Beethoven explores the instruments' darkest, most serious registers. (It is revealing in this context to compare the wind textures Beethoven employs here to those in Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music, K. 479a.) The third movement is a characteristic Viennese Minuet, marked Quasi allegretto), followed by a bracing, effervescent Rondo finale, marked (Allegro).


    1. Adagio - Allegro
    2. Adagio
    3. Menuetto. Quasi allegretto
    4. Rondo. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Linn CKD 572
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 MDG
    2012 Sony Classical 88697962622
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Tudor Records 7146
    2011 Amon Ra / Saydisc CDSAR 26
    2010 Divox 70503
    2009 Meridian Records 84549
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Ricercar 287
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 CPO 777011
    2006 COE Records 807
    2004 Alpha Productions / Glossa GCD 920606
    2003 AIX Entertainment 1341
    2001 Boston Records 1060
    2000 Ricercar 092078
    2000 Meridian Records 84412
    1999 CPO CPO999 658-2
    1999 Arts Music 47550
    1998 Ricercar 206712
    1997 CPO 999439
    1997 Berlin Classics 0091862
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 779-2GCB2
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53367
    1992 ASV CDDCA807
    Cascade Records 2265
    Deutsche Grammophon 439852
    Brilliant 93525/15
    Amado Classics 03037
    SIMT 001
    Supraphon 111445
    Rotag Productions 82131
    ASV 413