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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDS44001/3
Recording details: September 1985
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Thomas Daye
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: June 1987
Total duration: 28 minutes 30 seconds

'Admirers of the Salomon Quartet's 'authentic' approach to Mozart will be glad to learn that their versions of the 'Haydn' Quartets … are now available in a 3-CD boxed set at a slightly reduced price' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'They strike me as the musical equivalent of a breath of fresh spring air' (The Records and Recording)

String Quartet in G major, K387
'Haydn' Quartet No 1

Molto allegro  [5'44]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the opening of the G major Quartet, K387, a fine resolute tune is presented by the first violin with strong support from the lower voices, but by bar five Mozart seems concerned to develop a more egalitarian approach—the little one-bar answering phrase is heard first on the viola, then on the second violin, and finally on the first violin where it is sub­sequently decorated and expanded. The opening theme is then presented in canon between the two violins, as if Mozart were eager to demonstrate that even this is suitable material for discourse.

What is remarkable, however, is that this vivacious and spontaneous-sounding music gives only the minutest hint of the immense effort which went into its composition. The witty and genial Minuet, with its darker G minor Trio, and especially the wonderful C major Andante, could have been written with the same fluency as the Don Giovanni Overture—allegedly composed in a single night. The listener could be forgiven for failing to notice that the finale is actually a remarkable technical achievement. Here Mozart gives us not a straightforward fugue but a tautly argued sonata allegro in which an almost liturgical fugal style is juxtaposed with passages of simple tune-plus-accompaniment—with irresistibly comic effect. Perhaps the most delightful moment of all occurs at the very end: a piano reprise of the opening fugal subject runs into a simple homophonic cadence; after so much contrapuntal disputation the four voices have managed to conclude in quiet accord.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1991

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