The Sextet came about due to Copland's frustration that his Short Symphony was considered too difficult. By arranging it for fewer instruments, he hoped for more performance possibilities. As he predicted, the terrors of both versions have worn off for players as well as listeners. The Sextet is highly admired by chamber music players and it is considered one of the composer's finest accomplishments. Taking a long view of history, Copland said, "One learns to have patience."
-Vivian Perlis, 1998