It is hardly surprising that Beethoven did not write any more chamber music for winds after 1800. Following the change to middle-class musical culture, demand declined for buoyant serenades and divertimenti intended for court circles – a genre that Beethoven had reservations about as it was. Composed in 1795 with no known occasion in mind, his Sextet op. 81b is thus all the more remarkable, standing out on account of the unusual virtuosity of the horn parts.
Henle's edition is the first to provide the bass part as originally intended by Beethoven: for cello supported by a double bass. in addition to the original horn parts in E-flat, it also contains transposed parts in F.