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Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major for Op. 20 for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass, written in 1799, was performed for the first time in 1800, and in 1802 its music sheet was published. The score contains the notation: "Der Kaiserin Maria Theresia gewidmet", or translated, "Dedicated to the Empress Maria Theresa.”
The overall layout resembles a serenade and is in fact more or less the same as that of Mozart’s string trio. K. 563 in the same key, but Beethoven expands the form by the addition of substantial introductions to the first and last movements and by changing the second minuet to a scherzo. The main theme of the third movement had already been used in Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 20 (Op. 49 No. 2) , which was an earlier work despite its higher opus number. The finale features a violin cadenza.
The scoring of the Septet for a single clarinet, horn and bassoon (rather than for pairs of these wind instruments) was innovative. So was the unusually prominent role of the clairnet, as important as the violin, quite innovative.
The Septet was one of Beethoven's most successful and popular works and circulated in many editions and arrangements for different forces. In about 1803 Beethoven himself arranged the work as a Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello, and piano, and this version was published as his Op. 38 in 1805 in Vienna. Beethoven dedicated the Trio Op. 38 to Professor Johann Adam Schmidt (1759–1809), a German-Austrian surgeon and ophthalmologist, and a personal physician of Beethoven, whom he attended to from 1801 until 1809.
Conductor Arturo Toscanini rearranged the string section of the Septet so that it could be played by the full string section of the orchestra, but he did not change the rest of the scoring. He recorded the Septet for RCA Victor with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on November 26, 1951, in Carnegie Hall.
Barış Yalçınkaya, Clairnet
Sertaç Çevikkol, Bassoon
Altuğ Tekin, French Horn
Nilgün Yüksel, Violin
Emir Kemancı, Viola
Yılmaz Bişer, Violincello
Deniz Yurdakul, Double Bass
L. V. Beethoven Septet Op.20 E flat Major
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