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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDS44001/3
Recording details: December 1986
Seldon Hall, Haberdashers' Aske's School, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Thomas Daye
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1988
Total duration: 35 minutes 26 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 A major 'The Drum', K464
'Haydn' Quartet No 5

Allegro  [7'36]
Menuetto  [5'44]
Andante  [12'34]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
K464 seems to have caused Mozart problems. As in K458, he abandoned his original finale after having got some way into the movement (170 bars this time); more­over the autograph is full of cancellations and rewritings. This was Beethoven’s favourite of the ‘Haydn’ set: he would probably have been particularly struck by the richly inventive variations of the Andante, and the virtual monothematicism of the finale (thematically this is the most economical of the ‘Haydn’ Quartets). K464 opens with an A major sonata allegro, combining thematic grace with power and developmental ingenuity. The tiny codetta at the end of the exposition gains a splendidly forthright answering phrase at the close of the movement, a touch of humour that for some reason baffled the musicologist Hans Keller.

The Minuet is longer, and harmonically more adven­tu­rous than that of K458. Its almost exclusive concentration on two short motives would have appealed strongly to Beethoven, as would the telling inclusion of a bar of silence just after the first repeat. Abrupt dynamic con­trasts characterize the E major Trio, lending piquancy to what would otherwise have been a disarmingly simple tune.

Mozart casts his slow movement in the form of a set of variations, based on an amiable 2/4 theme that might equally well have occurred to Haydn himself; however, as the movement progresses it rises to quite unexpected heights of eloquence. The ‘drum tap’ figures in the final variation (taken up by viola and violins in the coda) have led to K464 being christened ‘The Drum’, though for some reason this nickname has never caught on in Britain.

The finale of K464 is based almost entirely on one theme, but the variety of textures and harmony that Mozart conjures from it is quite remark­able. The coda builds to a forceful climax, then falls to a delightfully conclusive pianissimo.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 1991

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