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Hyperion Records

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Vauxhall Gardens: The Grand Walk with the Orchestra Playing by Samuel Wale (1721-1786)
Museum of London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67611
Recording details: February 2007
St Paul's Church, Deptford, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: October 2007
Total duration: 19 minutes 39 seconds

'I quickly warmed to the pure, glowing sound of gut strings played perfectly in tune, and to the ensemble's delicacy of nuance and sensitivity to harmonic colour, treating the listener as a privileged eavesdropper … Catherine Manson is a graceful and nimble leader … the results are delightfully witty and spirited. Recorded in the warm, sympatheic acoustic of St Paul's Deptford, these performances should win new friends for an undeservedly neglected set' (Gramophone)

'A sonority that seems brighter and less astringent than that produced by 'period' ensembles, but one that is still far closer to what we assume to be the timbre of an eighteenth-century quartet … Hyperion's sound is ideal: close, clear and free of harshness and any intrusive breathing. In short, this is an interesting and possibly controversial release, but one that shows The London Haydn Quartet to be thoughtful, provocative and technically accomplished' (International Record Review)

'Without a doubt one of the all-time great Haydn quartet recordings … the original instrument London Haydn Quartet play Op 9 with such deep feeling, dynamic subtlety and phrasal sensitivity that even the simplest of ideas become things of wonder. Passages of generic cadencing and decoration that often pass by unacknowledged by other ensembles sound utterly magical here, the enhanced expressive flexibility of gut strings revelled in to the full' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The London Haydn Quartet plays lovely period instruments in a gentle manner, emphasizing the beauty of the music—highly evocative' (Fanfare, USA)

'On this superb double disc set from Hyperion, the London Haydn Quartet's playing of the set is intense, passionate and revelatory. It is difficult to imagine finer interpretations of these occasionally formulaic but always melodically colourful works. The quartet—comprising Catherine Manson and Margaret Faultless on violin, James Boyd on viola and Jonathan Cohen on cello—play on gut strings with classical bows. There is to be found none of the reserve or prissiness that can sometimes characterise period performance. The sound here is bright, resonant and gritty, the lack of vibrato adding a spicy, piquant tang to the ensemble timbre. The bowing is confident; tempi are firm and steady, yet subtle inflections and rhythmic manipulations crank up the drama to breaking point' (MusicOHM.com)

String Quartet in G major, Op 9 No 3
composer
c1769; recorded from the 1790 Longman and Broderip edition

Moderato  [7'06]
Menuetto  [2'53]
Largo  [6'07]
Presto  [3'33]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
More than any other movement in Op 9, the opening Moderato of the G major quartet, No 3, often sounds like a brilliant violin concerto scaled down for chamber forces. Only at the end of the development do the lower instruments emerge from their accompanying role and become equal partners in a passage of close-knit counterpoint. The minuet trades on bare two-part writing, with the first and second violins playing in octaves, a ‘primitive’, quasi-rustic texture carried over from the Opp 1 and 2 quartets. Haydn then plays rhythmic games in the trio, with the first violin insisting on duple metre against the repeatedly accented triple time of the lower instruments. In her 1966 BBC Music Guide to the Haydn quartets Rosemary Hughes rightly praised the ‘noble seriousness’ of the Largo, with its eloquent theme gravely coloured by the violin’s G string and its dreamy triplet figuration. If this is one of the most beautiful slow movements in Op 9, the finale is surely the wittiest. Haydn manipulates the two ‘limbs’ of the folk-like main theme in all sorts of unexpected ways, and starts the recapitulation in the unscripted key of E minor before quickly slipping to G major as if nothing had happened.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007

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