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

Recordings
'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
'Haydn: String Quartets Opp 33/4-6 & 42' (CDA66682)
Haydn: String Quartets Opp 33/4-6 & 42
Details
Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Track 5 on CDA67955 CD1 [7'46] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 1 on CDA66682 [7'04] Archive Service
Movement 2: Scherzo: Allegretto
Track 6 on CDA67955 CD1 [3'23] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 2 on CDA66682 [2'31] Archive Service
Movement 3: Largo
Track 7 on CDA67955 CD1 [4'28] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 3 on CDA66682 [4'03] Archive Service
Movement 4: Presto
Track 8 on CDA67955 CD1 [4'24] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 4 on CDA66682 [4'22] Archive Service

String Quartet in B flat major, Op 33 No 4
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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 © 2013

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67955 disc 1 track 8
Presto
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-13-95508
Duration
4'24
Recording date
30 June 2012
Recording venue
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Philip Hobbs
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs & Robert Cammidge
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: String Quartets Op 33 (CDA67955)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: June 2013
    2CDs for the price of 1
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