Brahms - String Sextet No. 1 (Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra)

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Brahms: String Sextet No. 1, Op. 18 - Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra - Live Concert HD

The Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra performs the 'String Sextet No. 1, Op. 18' by Johannes Brahms in The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Recording: The Sunday Morning Concert of Sunday the 13th of October 2019, live in The Concertgebouw Amsterdam.


The String Sextet No. 1 in Bb major, Op. 18, was composed in 1860 by Johannes Brahms and premiered in Hanover by an ensemble led by Joseph Joachim. It was published in 1862 by the firm of Fritz Simrock.

The sextet is scored for two violins, two violas, and two cellos.

The sextet has four movements:

Allegro ma non troppo, in 3/4 time
Andante, ma moderato, in D minor and 2/4 time (and in variation form)
Scherzo: Allegro molto in F major and 3/4, with a central Animato trio section
Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso, in 2/4

The outlines of the main themes of the first movement and finale are similar (the first four notes of the cello theme of the first movement are almost identical with those of notes two to five of the finale, and there are other similarities more easily heard).

In the same year of its composition, Brahms transcribed the second movement for solo piano, dedicating the arrangement to Clara Schumann.

There are earlier string sextets by Luigi Boccherini (two sets of six each). However, between Boccherini and Brahms, very few for string instruments without piano seem to have been written or published, whereas within the decades following Brahms's two examples, a number of composers, including AntonĂ­n Dvorak, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Joachim Raff, Max Reger, Arnold Schoenberg, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, all wrote string sextets.
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