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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 44 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' (

String Quartet in A major, Op 9 No 6
c1769; recorded from the 1790 Longman and Broderip edition

Presto  [5'19]
Menuetto  [4'30]
Adagio  [8'29]
Allegro  [1'26]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
With its bounding opening Presto in 6/8 time and featherweight finale, the A major quartet that rounds off the Op 9 set is something of a jeu d’esprit. Hunting calls and musette drones give the first movement a delightful alfresco flavour. While the minuet is the most leisurely and galant of the six, the trio, in A minor, is the most sophisticated, quirkily irregular in its phrasing, and teasing the listener with silence and unexpected turns of harmony. The Adagio, a graceful bel canto aria underpinned by murmuring triplets, is yet another vehicle for Tomasini to display his sweet tone and refined taste. For his envoi Haydn writes a fleeting, frolicking Presto in binary dance form, plus a disproportionately long coda (21 bars out of a total of 53) that comically protracts the final cadence.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007

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