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Hyperion Records

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View of St Dunstan's in Fleet Street by Samuel Scott (c1702-1772)
Private Collection / Photo © Rafael Valls Gallery, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67955
Recording details: June 2012
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs & Robert Cammidge
Release date: June 2013
Total duration: 20 minutes 20 seconds

'The lovely plangency of gut strings … the many examples of Haydn's wit are laid out with an audible twinkle in the eye. The musicians know how to have gentle fun together—and they seem happy to welcome interested listeners in to share it with them' (Gramophone)

'As in their previous releases, these four players led by Catherine Manson deliver an amazing precision of intonation and articulation' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Lucky Haydn, lucky Haydn lovers … great clarity to textures and there are many exquisitely shaded ends to phrases among the innumerable brilliant moments' (Early Music Review)

'The LHQ are gradually working their way through the mature Haydn quartets, and proving ideal companions in this eventful music … they revel in Haydn's ever-inventive scherzos and zany prestos, with dazzling playing from their leader, Catherine Manson, in the 'Joke' and 'Bird' quartets. Available in a two-for-one deal, this delectable set is a bargain, too' (The Sunday Times)

'These refined performances profile the music’s conversational sophistication and its sheer fluency, underscoring Haydn's gift for civility and wit' (Financial Times)

String Quartet in D major, Op 33 No 6
composer
'Russian' Quartet No 6; the Schmitt Edition (Amsterdam, 1782) presents the inner movements in reversed order and uses different tempo markings than other editions

Vivace assai  [7'09]
Scherzo: Allegro  [3'09]
Adagio  [4'38]
Andante  [5'24]

Other recordings available for download
Salomon Quartet
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The opening Vivace assai of No 6 in D major also evidently appealed to Mozart, who echoed its mingled alfresco exuberance and quicksilver motivic development in his ‘Hunt’ Quartet, K458. This is the most puckishly inventive of all Haydn’s hunting movements, truly democratic in texture (in contrast to the first-violin-dominated No 4), with a sense of delighted colloquy as the players second or undercut each other’s ideas. Haydn blurs the division between development and recapitulation via a breathtaking excursion into remote keys: not for the only time in these quartets, wit is transfigured to poetry.

Subversive comedy continues in the Scherzo, with its crazy offbeat accents and imitative entries: in a game of musical chairs, the viola ends up stranded with the opening motif. The trio restores rhythmic decorum, beginning as a lolloping cello solo before morphing into a canonic duet for first violin and viola. As in Op 33 No 5, the slow movement is usually placed second, but in Schmitt’s Amsterdam edition comes third. Again it is in the tonic minor key, with something of a Baroque flavour. But the texture is more varied and complex than in No 5. Above the opening theme, gravely intoned by second violin and viola, the first violin’s sustained high A recreates the vocal technique of messa di voce (literally ‘placing the voice’), involving a perfectly controlled gradual swelling and ebbing of the tone, and indispensable to any eighteenth-century singer’s armoury.

As in No 5, Haydn offsets a fast first movement with a relaxed variation finale. This is the earliest example in his quartets of his favourite ‘double variation’ form, with alternating sections of major and minor. The D minor theme, initiated by the cello, is a classic instance of the free, informal counterpoint that is one of the glories of Op 33.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2013


Other albums featuring this work
'Haydn: String Quartets Opp 33/4-6 & 42' (CDA66682)
Haydn: String Quartets Opp 33/4-6 & 42

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