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Track(s) taken from CDA67611

String Quartet in G major, Op 9 No 3

composer
c1769; recorded from the 1790 Longman and Broderip edition

The London Haydn Quartet
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

Cover artwork: Vauxhall Gardens: The Grand Walk with the Orchestra Playing by Samuel Wale (1721-1786)
Museum of London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Moderato  [7'06]
2
Menuetto  [2'53]
3
Largo  [6'07]
4
Presto  [3'33]

Reviews

'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)
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

Plus que tout autre mouvement de l’op.9, l’Moderato initial du quatuor en sol majeur (no3) a souvent des allures de brillant concerto pour violon, mais réduit pour des forces de chambre. C’est seulement à la fin du développement que les instruments graves quittent leur rôle accompagnant pour faire jeu égal dans un passage en contrepoint très serré. Le menuet s’appuie sur une écriture dépouillée, à deux parties, où les premier et second violons jouent en octaves—une texture «primitive», quasi rustique, empruntée aux quatuors des opp.1 et 2. Puis Haydn se livre à des jeux rythmiques dans le trio, le premier violon insistant sur le mètre binaire avec, en fond, la mesure ternaire très souvent accentuée des instruments graves. Dans son BBC Music Guide consacré aux quatuors de Haydn (1966), Rosemary Hughes loue, à juste titre, la «noble gravité» du Largo, marqué par un thème éloquent, solennellement coloré par la corde de sol du violon, et par une langoureuse figuration en triolets. S’il s’agit là d’un des plus beaux mouvements lents de tout l’op.9, le finale, lui, est sans contredit le plus spirituel. Haydn manipule les deux «segments» du thème principal «folklorisant» de bien des manières inattendues et entame la réexposition dans un mi mineur imprévu pour glisser rapidement à sol mineur, comme si de rien n’était.

extrait des notes rédigées par Richard Wigmore © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Mehr als alle anderen Sätze im op. 9, klingt das einleitende Moderato des G-Dur-Quartetts, Nr. 3, oft wie ein brillantes Violinkonzert, das auf kammermusikalische Kräfte reduziert wurde. Erst am Ende der Durchführung befreien sich die tieferen Instrumente aus ihrer begleitenden Rolle und werden in einer Passage eng geführten Kontrapunkts zu gleichberechtigten Partnern. Das Menuett verlässt sich auf karge Zweistimmigkeit, und erste und zweite Violine spielen in Oktaven—ein Überbleibsel aus der „primitiven“, quasi rustikalen Schreibweise der Quartette op. 1 und 2. Im Trio treibt Haydn dann rhythmische Possen, indem die erste Geige mit ihrem Zweiertakt gegen den wiederholt akzentuierten Dreiertakt der Unterstimmen insistiert. Rosemary Hughes lobt in ihrem BBC-Musikführer von 1966 zu Recht die „noble Seriosität“ des Largos, das durch sein eloquentes Thema auf der G-Saite der Violine und seine träumerischen Triolenfiguren dunkel eingefärbt wird. Dies ist einer der schönsten langsamen Sätze im op. 9, und das Finale ist bestimmt das geistreichste. Haydn manipuliert die beiden „Glieder“ des volkstümlichen Hauptthemas auf allerlei unerwartete Weise und beginnt die Reprise spontan in e-Moll bevor er, als ob nichts passiert wäre, schnell nach G-Dur schlüpft.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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