When Dvořák wrote his Serenade for 10 winds and 2 lower strings in January 1878, the heyday of the great wind serenades and “Harmoniemusik” wind ensembles was already long gone. He was probably inspired by hearing Mozart’s Gran Partita shortly beforehand in Vienna. It was during the second half of the 18th century that serenades and divertimentos represented the favourite pop music of the aristocracy and middle class, and Beethoven’s Septet sums up this frothiest of musical entertainments. Much to Beethoven’s chagrin, its relentless popularity tended to eclipse some of his greater achievements. He ranted and railed when the work continued to overshadow his truly great masterpieces until his dying day. However, the numerous reincarnations of the Septet bear eloquent witness to the work’s hit-parade status among amateur musicians of the time.


Works and composers

Dvořák Wind Serenade in D Minor Op.44
Beethoven Septet in E-flat Major Op.20