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Ludwig van Beethoven's devotion to wind musical instruments dates already from his young life in Bonn, as proved from the correspondence between his teacher Josef Haydn and the Elector of Bonn Maximilian Franz: here the composition of his Parthia dans un concert, or wind Octet op. 103 is mentioned as a work written before his arrival in Vienna and therefore as the earliest piece he wrote for winds. The remarkable Rondino for the same instruments, using the recently invented mutes for the horns, might have been part of the same Parthia in an earlier version.
Once in Vienna, Beethoven was impressed by an ensemble consisting of just 2 oboes and cor anglais and wrote for them the extended and virtuosic Terzetto op. 87 in 1794 and the Variations on Mozart's Don Giovanni in 1796. Also from 1796, a quintet with the unusual scoring of one oboe, three horns and bassoon survives incomplete.
The picture of Beethoven's output for winds wouldn't be complete without his military music, commissioned around the year 1810. According to the Austrian tradition, with remote Turkish influence – the so-called janissary music – the scoring here includes also trumpets, contrabassoon and a rich variety of drum instruments such as a bass drum, side drum, triangle, cymbals and Turkish crescent.
– Alfredo Bernardini