It was a performance of Siegfried Idyll by Wagner in its original 13-instrument version that first gave rise to the idea of Orpheus Principals. Written as a present for his wife following the birth of their second son, Wagner gave the premiere of this Idyll with 13 musicians performing up the staircase to Cosima’s bedroom as she awoke on Christmas morning 1869. In this programme we present this iconic piece alongside the Sinfonietta that Britten wrote aged just 18, his first published composition, Op. 1, whilst a student at the Royal College of Music, dedicated to his teacher Frank Bridge. We conclude with Louis Spohr’s Grand Nonetto in F major, a showcase of writing for all nine instruments, was so popular that it solidified the nonet form and inspired all subsequent nonets.