Sonata for Four Horns

From Wind Repertory Project
Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith

'This work may be found under its title in German, Sonate für vier Hörner

General Info

Year: 1952 / 2003
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schott Music Distribution
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €29.00; (digital) - €22.99   |   Score Only (print) - €17.500; (digital) - €13.99


1. Fugato: Sehr langsam (Very slow)
2. Lebhaft (Lively)
3. Variations on "I Sound My Horn"


Full Score
Horn in F I-II-III-IV


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Sonata for Four Horns was first premiered in Vienna in June of 1953 by members of the Vienna Symphony. The opening Fugato features each horn slowly playing the theme by turn and weaving their way in and out of dissonances and consonances, a trademark of Hindemith’s music that is heard throughout the entire sonata. The second movement is a dialogue between the horns with two motifs sometimes heard separately and other times heard together.

The third and final movement, Ich Schell mein Horn, is variations on an old German folk song Ich Schell mein Horn ins Jammertal (I Sound my Horn in the Valley of Sorrow). This song is attributed to Ulrich von Wurttemburg, an amateur musician and huntsman. The movement begins marked “Stately”. It changes, however, with a scherzando where Hindemith uses the horns in pairs to create a dialogue. Another variation recalls the hunting horn tradition of Germany with its 6/8 meter evoking the tone and mood of the original poem. This variation also reflects Hindemith’s first inspiration for the work -- the Salzburg hornists who decided to play hunting calls to wake up the sleeping composer in his train car!

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 31 May 2015

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Indiana: 071 - FRENCH HORN QUARTETS
  • Texas: French Horn Quartet Class 1


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Miami (Ohio) University Wind Ensemble (Thomas Sherwood, conductor) - 16 March 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Hindemith, P. (1952). Sonate für vier Hörner (1952) [score]. Schott: Mainz, Germany.
  • Perusal score