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Hyperion Records

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The Thames and the Tower of London supposedly on the King's Birthday (detail) (1771) by Samuel Scott (c1702-1772)
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, USA / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67722
Recording details: August 2008
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 2009
Total duration: 18 minutes 35 seconds

String Quartet in D major, Op 17 No 6
1771; recorded from the London edition published by Welcker circa 1774

Presto  [6'24]
Largo  [5'29]
Finale: Allegro  [3'59]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Like its predecessor in Op 9 No 6, the 6/8 first movement of the D major quartet, No 6, conjures up the chase, though with an added harmonic adventurousness (the ‘second subject’ slips via A minor to C major) and quicksilver variety of texture. Haydn would fruitfully mine this vein again the following year in the opening movement of Op 20 No 6. After this delightful, capricious Presto, the minuet, with its frequent pedal points, is the most sedate in Op 17. The Largo, opening with a long-held note, a favourite gambit in opera seria arias, is another showcase for Tomasini, with an improvised cadenza at the end. Conversely, of all the movements in Op 17, the finale, with its chuckling, quickfire exchanges, is the most consistently democratic in texture, and hardly suffers by comparison with its counterpart in Op 20 No 4. There is also a foretaste of the famous ‘Frog’ Quartet, Op 50 No 6, in the first violin’s gypsy-flavoured bariolage—rapid repetitions of the same note played alternately on open and fingered strings. The pianissimo ending, isolating and inverting a two-note figure from the theme, is one of the most nonchalantly witty in all Haydn.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

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