Tuesday, 14 October 2008

176. Joseph Haydn - String Quartets op.76 (1797)


Title: The Complete String Quartets
Performers: The Angeles Quartet
Year: 1994-99
Length: 2 hours (2 CDs off the 21 CD set)


These are some great string quartets by Haydn, pretty much the best collection of string quartets we've had here. Again, much like the Symphony, Haydn is seen as the father of the String Quartet and here he brings it to a great level of perfection.

Thankfully other equally skilled composers in the string quartet division are coming up soon in the Romantic era (Beethoven and then Schubert) but for the best of Classical age string quartets it is hard to beat this.

The greatest highlight here is the third quartet, the slow movement using the tune that has become famous as the German national anthem, but the first movement is equally impressive with a decidedly folksy tune to it. The folksyness of Haydn is one of my favourite things about him, he was not afraid to learn from the people, and just makes for some jaunty, sing-alongable tracks.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Although the quartets were completed by 1797, shown by accounts of visitors hearing them performed in early 1797, they were not published until 1799. Correspondence between Haydn and his publishers reveal that there was confusion regarding the release of his quartets; the composer promised the London publishing house of Messrs. Longman Clementi & Co. first publishing rights, but a lack of communication with the firm led Haydn to worry that a Vienna publication might accidentally release the complete set of quartets first, causing him to lose money from London.

These quartets are among Haydn's most ambitious chamber works. They deviate more than previous quartets from the expected sonata form, and Haydn emphasized thematic continuity, seamlessly and continually passing motives from one instrument to another (Grave 312).

Deutschland Deutschland Uber Alles, heh Second movement of the third quartet:

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