Ludwig van Beethoven

Sextet for 2 horns & string quartet in E flat major, Op. 81b

    Description by James Reel

    This composition is something of a chamber concerto for two horns with accompanying strings; the string quartet rarely comes forward with interesting material, except to give the horn players an occasional rest during transitions. Those horn parts, on the other hand, are quite taxing, full of hunting calls and fanfares. The first movement, Allegro con brio, is a sonata form built on conventional eighteenth-century-style themes. What's interesting here is the development, which allows the horns several lyrical passages as relief from their more intricate, percolating and burbling material. In the Adagio, a pastoral image, possibly that of a tranquil forest scene is described by a warm, extended theme uttered by the horns and repeated by the strings. This theme forms the movement's outer sections; in the middle is a sweet, slow duet for the horns with minimal accompaniment. The third and final movement is a rondo (\Allegro) abounding in hunting calls and close harmony; the movement calls to mind the cheerful rondo-finales of Mozart's horn concertos, although Beethoven's writing tends to be less exuberant than Mozart's.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro con brio
    2. Adagio
    3. Rondo, Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2012 Sony Classical 88697962622
    2012 Albany Music Distribution TROY 1325
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 MDG 30105942
    2011 Capriccio Records C 5059
    2010 Decca
    2010 Denon Records
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 EMI Classics 3777672
    2007 EMI Classics 87739
    2007 Supraphon SU39022
    2006 Philips 000664502
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92294
    2006 Edition HERA 2119
    2005 Hyperion 55189
    2005 Angel Records 72643
    2004 ASV 4002
    2002 Forlane 16827
    2001 BBC Legends 4066
    1999 EMI Classics 572822
    1997 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 772-2GCB6
    1997 Arte Nova 74321 43302-2
    1997 Berlin Classics 0091332
    1995 Naxos 8 553090
    1993 Hyperion 66513
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 48076
    1993 Supraphon 3907
    1993 Crystal Records Dist. 512
    1990 Philips 426091
    Cascade Records 2259
    Deutsche Grammophon 439852
    Brilliant 93525/19
    Denon Records 75373
    MusicMasters 67123
    Brilliant Classics 92294/6
    Collins Records 1071
    Supraphon 103907