In classical music, a string sextet is a composition written for six string instruments, or a group of six musicians who perform such a composition. Most string sextets have been written for an ensemble consisting of two violins, two violas, and two cellos.
Among the earliest works in this form are the nine string sextets Op. 23 by Luigi Boccherini, written in 1776. Other notable string sextets include the String Sextets Op. 18 and 36 by Brahms, Dvořák's Op. 48, Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence , Op. 70, Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht , Op. 4, Erich Wolfgang Korngold Op. 10, Erwin Schulhoff's String Sextet of 1924, and Charles Wuorinen's String Sextet of 1989.
More unusual combinations for a string sextet:
The term string quartet can refer to either a type of musical composition or a group of four people who play them. Many composers from the mid-18th century onwards wrote string quartets. The associated musical ensemble consists of two violinists, a violist, and a cellist.
A string quintet is a musical composition for five string players. As an extension to the string quartet, a string quintet includes a fifth string instrument, usually a second viola or a second cello, or occasionally a double bass.
A string orchestra is an orchestra consisting solely of a string section made up of the bowed strings used in Western Classical music. The instruments of such an orchestra are most often the following: the violin, which is divided into first and second violin players, the viola, the cello, and usually, but not always, the double bass.
Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini was an Italian composer and cellist of the Classical era whose music retained a courtly and galante style even while he matured somewhat apart from the major European musical centres. He is best known for a minuet from his String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5, and the Cello Concerto in B flat major. The latter work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grützmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version.
Reinhold Moritzevich Glière, was a Russian Imperial and Soviet composer of German and Polish descent. In 1938, he was awarded the title of People's Artist of RSFSR (1935), and People's Artist of USSR (1938).
A piano sextet is a composition for piano and five other musical instruments, or a group of six musicians who perform such works. There is no standard grouping of instruments with that name, and compared to the string quartet or piano quintet literature, relatively few such compositions exist. The best-known piano sextet is probably the Sextet by Poulenc, one of the pinnacles of the wind and piano repertoire. Chausson's Concert is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of French strings and piano chamber music literature.
David Geringas is a Lithuanian cellist and conductor who studied under Mstislav Rostropovich. In 1970 he won the gold medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He also plays the baryton, a rare instrument associated with music of Joseph Haydn.
Bernhard Heinrich Romberg was a German cellist and composer.
Antonín Vranický, Germanized as Anton Wranitzky, and also seen as Wranizky, was a Czech violinist and composer of the 18th century. He was the half brother of Pavel Vranický.
Eduard Franck was a German composer, pianist and music pedagogue.
Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński was a Polish pianist and composer. He was the son of Ignacy Dobrzyński, the brother of Edward Dobrzyński, and the father of Bronisław Dobrzyński.
The Spencer Dyke Quartet was a string quartet active in England through the 1920s. It was formed in 1918 and its personnel remained unchanged until August 1927 when Bernard Shore became the violist and Tate Gilder the second violin.It is best remembered now for a series of pioneering chamber music recordings made for the National Gramophonic Society. At the time of the recordings, the Quartet members were Edwin Spencer Dyke, Edwin Quaife, Ernest Tomlinson (viola) and Bertie Patterson Parker cello. Bernard Shore played viola in the last two recordings only.
The string quintet normally comprises the four instruments of the standard string quartet, plus one additional instrument. This additional instrument may be a viola, cello or double bass. Of these three different combinations, the string quintet with a second viola has the widest repertoire and may be referred to as the standard string quintet. The other two combinations have far fewer important works, though the combination with two cellos includes the string quintet by Schubert, which is widely considered the greatest of all string quintets.
The String Sextet No. 1 in B♭ major, Op. 18, was composed in 1860 by Johannes Brahms and premiered 20 October that year in Hanover by an ensemble led by Joseph Joachim. It was published in 1862 by the firm of Fritz Simrock.
Percy Hilder Miles was an English composer, violinist and academic. For most of his career he was Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music. Among his students at was the composer Rebecca Clarke, and among Miles' associates was Lionel Tertis.
Among the repertoire for the standard string sextet are the following works:
René de Boisdeffre was a French composer. He is the author of some 60 pieces of chamber music as well as a few pieces for piano and vocal music. General de Boisdeffre was his cousin.