Hyperion Records

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
Buy by post £10.50 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
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66682  Archive Service  
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 CDA66682 track 3
Largo
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-93-68203
Duration
4'03
Recording date
13 March 1992
Recording venue
Recording producer
Roy Mowatt
Recording engineer
Keith Warren
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: String Quartets Opp 33/4-6 & 42 (CDA66682)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: May 1993
    Archive Service
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