Beethoven: Sparks of Joy — the 1795 Horn Sextet
Though published in 1810, the Horn Sextet was composed some time around 1795, when Beethoven was a newcomer to Vienna and popular taste was dominated by Haydn and the recently-deceased Mozart. Scored for two horns, two violins, viola and cello, the horn parts are so demanding that Beethoven probably composed with specific players in mind (one possibility being his Bonn publisher Simrock, who was a talented amateur horn player).
It’s performed here by members of the National Symphony Orchestra. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]