Monday, 4 August 2008

137. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - "Haydn" Quartets (1782-5)


Title: Die "Haydn" Quartette
Performers: Hagen Quartett
Year: 1995-2001
Length: 3 CDs, around 3 hours, a bit less.


Now I will ask the list on the book a question: Why make people get a 7 CD box of all of Mozart's quartets when all we need is to get the 3 CD pack that has the Haydn Quartets by the same performers in the same recording but for much cheaper? Because you fucked up, that's why.

So if the above picture is different from that in the book, it is because I am a friend of your pockets. Now these are lovely string quartets, 6 of them, each better than the other, from the catchy Hunt quartet to the crazily innovative Dissonance quartet.

It is this Dissonance quartet that is the big stand out here, it sounds very modern indeed, particularly the opening of the first movement, and if this recording was only that opening it would already be great. But it isn't and you get 5 other concerts, which constitute probably the best String quartets by Mozart. Indispensable.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Mozart’s published dedication page (Sept. 1, 1785):

To my dear friend Haydn,

A father who had resolved to send his children out into the great world took it to be his duty to confide them to the protection and guidance of a very celebrated Man, especially when the latter by good fortune was at the same time his best Friend. Here they are then, O great Man and dearest Friend, these six children of mine. They are, it is true, the fruit of a long and laborious endevour, yet the hope inspired in my by several Friends that it may be at least partly compensated encourages me, and I flatter myself that this offspring will serve to afford me solace one day. You, yourself, dearest friend, told me of your satisfaction with them during your last Visit to this Capital. It is this indulgence above all which urges me to commend them to you and encourages me to hope that they will not seem to you altogether unworthy of your favour. May it therefore please you to receive them kindly and to be their Father, Guide and Friend! From this moment I resign to you all my rights in them, begging you however to look indulgently upon the defects which the partiality of a Father’s eye may have concealed from me, and in spite of them to continue in your generous Friendship for him who so greatly values it, in expectation of which I am, with all of my Heart, my dearest Friend, your most Sincere Friend,

W.A. Mozart

Haydn first heard the quartets at two gatherings at Mozart's home, 15 January and 12 February, 1785 (on these occasions he apparently just listened, rather than playing a part himself). After hearing them all, Haydn made a now-famous remark to Mozart's father Leopold, who was visiting from Salzburg: "Before God, and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste, and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition." The comment was preserved in a letter Leopold wrote 16 February to his daughter Nannerl.

The dissonance:

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