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Hyperion Records

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Photograph by Derek Forss.
Track(s) taken from CDA66682
Recording details: March 1992
Unknown, Unknown
Produced by Roy Mowatt
Engineered by Keith Warren
Release date: May 1993
Total duration: 18 minutes 0 seconds

'Virile, colourful performances… sharply responsive to the music's robust earthiness and gleeful unpredictability' (Gramophone)

'Assolutamente magnifica' (Musica, Italy)

String Quartet in B flat major, Op 33 No 4
'Russian' Quartet No 4

Allegro moderato  [7'04]
Largo  [4'03]
Presto  [4'22]

Other recordings available for download
The London Haydn Quartet
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Of all the Op 33 quartets, No 4 in B flat major is probably the least played, perhaps because the puckish first movement, beginning as if in the middle of a phrase, is less varied in texture than the other opening movements of Op 33. The development consists largely of modulating sequences for the first violin above repetitions of a nagging three-note figure derived from the end of the main theme. But the music is full of Haydnesque wit and élan, not least when the moment of recapitulation again takes the listener unawares. The Scherzo—for once a minuet in all but name—is the most regular and courtly of the dance movements in Op 33. Its enigmatic B flat minor trio hints at the melody of the main section in shadowy outline.

The jewel of the quartet is the rapt E flat major Largo, with its soaring violin cantilena and gorgeous remote modulations. More than any other slow movement in Op 33, the music looks ahead fifteen years to the profound meditations in Haydn’s Op 76 quartets. Sentiment is gleefully banished in the finale, a whirlwind rondo that varies its catchy contredanse theme on each return. In the second episode, in G minor, Haydn mines his favourite Hungarian gypsy vein, as he had done in the ‘Bird’. Again the movement disintegrates into slapstick. After a distended, spidery version of the theme and a failed attempt to ‘normalize’ it, Haydn cuts his losses and exits with an absurd simplification of the tune, played pizzicato. Back in the 1760s, po-faced critics from Berlin and Hamburg had taken Haydn to task for ‘debasing the art with comic fooling’. Two decades later he was still at it.

from notes by Richard Wigmore İ 2013

Other albums featuring this work
'Haydn: String Quartets Op 33' (CDA67955)
Haydn: String Quartets Op 33
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00 CDA67955  2CDs for the price of 1   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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