Hyperion Records

String Quartet in C minor, Op 17 No 4
composer
1771; recorded from the London edition published by Welcker circa 1774

Recordings
'Haydn: String Quartets Op 17' (CDA67722)
Haydn: String Quartets Op 17
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Details
Movement 1: Moderato
Track 1 on CDA67722 CD1 [8'52] 2CDs for the price of 1
Movement 2: Menuetto – Trio
Track 2 on CDA67722 CD1 [4'22] 2CDs for the price of 1
Movement 3: Adagio cantabile
Track 3 on CDA67722 CD1 [6'44] 2CDs for the price of 1
Movement 4: Allegro
Track 4 on CDA67722 CD1 [5'34] 2CDs for the price of 1

String Quartet in C minor, Op 17 No 4  

String Quartet in C minor, Op 17 No 4
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Like Op 9, Op 17 includes one work in the minor key. Haydn’s minor-mode works from the years around 1770 are famed for their rhetorical intensity, sometimes turbulent, sometimes—as in the opening Moderato of Op 17 No 4—mingling agitation with pathos. The movement grows from a rising three-note motif that fleetingly suggests E flat major rather than C minor. Each time it recurs the motif pivots the music in unexpected directions. Haydn twice delays the anticipated start of the recapitulation, initially in a passage of ethereal canonic imitation, with the lower instruments following the first violin at a bar’s distance. The coda brings a last-second glint of C major, though minor-keyed tensions are never truly resolved. It is only with the sonorous minuet, founded on the cello’s deep C string, that C major is firmly established. But C minor returns in the syncopated, contrapuntal trio, with its wailing dissonances. In the Adagio, in E flat, Haydn adopts the ‘varied reprise’ form of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (second son of J S), repeating the opening section with florid embellishments from the leader. Opening with a crabbed, angular four-note motif that suggests (and later receives) strenuous contrapuntal treatment, the finale matches the first movement in concentrated power, right through to a coda that softens momentarily into A flat major over a cello pedal—a haunting moment—before the peremptory C minor close.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67722 disc 1 track 1
Moderato
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-09-72201
Duration
8'52
Recording date
11 August 2008
Recording venue
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: String Quartets Op 17 (CDA67722)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: June 2009
    2CDs for the price of 1
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