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String Quartet in G minor, Op 20 No 3
composer
1772; Sun Quartet No 3

Recordings
'Haydn: String Quartets Op 20' (CDA67877)
Haydn: String Quartets Op 20
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'Haydn: Sun Quartets Nos 1, 2 & 3' (CDA66621)
Haydn: Sun Quartets Nos 1, 2 & 3
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Details
Movement 1: Allegro con spirito
Track 9 on CDA67877 CD1 [8'37] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 9 on CDA66621 [6'56] Archive Service
Movement 2: Menuetto: Allegretto
Track 10 on CDA67877 CD1 [5'20] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 10 on CDA66621 [4'08] Archive Service
Movement 3: Poco adagio
Track 11 on CDA67877 CD1 [7'36] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 11 on CDA66621 [10'04] Archive Service
Movement 4: Allegro molto
Track 12 on CDA67877 CD1 [5'19] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 12 on CDA66621 [6'03] Archive Service

String Quartet in G minor, Op 20 No 3
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Reflecting the preoccupation with the minor mode in Haydn’s so-called Sturm und Drang symphonies of the years around 1770, the Op 20 set, uniquely, contains two minor-keyed quartets. They could hardly be more strongly contrasted. The outer movements of No 3 in G minor are astringent, nervy, sometimes bizarrely elliptical. In the opening Allegro con spirito, whose eccentric main theme (in an eccentric texture, with viola doubling first violin at the octave) comprises a four-bar plus a three-bar phrase, Haydn veers abruptly between hectic desperation and recurrent buffo-like fragments whose effect is mocking, even sinister, rather than jolly. In the exposition and development a little wriggling unison figure, like a stage aside, adds a touch of grotesquerie. The music’s waywardness reaches its climax in the recapitulation, which drastically reworks the events of the exposition and expands a brief snatch of violin recitative into an almost hysterical cri de cœur.

The desolate minuet, its unease enhanced by the pervasive five-bar phrases, is relieved by its exquisite, lulling E flat major trio. Both minuet and trio fade away strangely on the brink of C minor, an effect that Haydn replicates in the unsettling pianissimo close of the finale. Though written against the background of sonata form, the Poco adagio, in G major, is essentially a fantasy on a single ardent melody. (A rare surviving sketch for Op 20 reveals that Haydn originally conceived the melody for cello rather than first violin.) Each of its reappearances is characterized by an evocative new sonority, typical of the composer’s heightened sensitivity to tone colour throughout the Op 20 quartets.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67877 disc 1 track 10
Menuetto: Allegretto
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-11-87710
Duration
5'20
Recording date
10 September 2010
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Simon Kiln
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: String Quartets Op 20 (CDA67877)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 2011
    2CDs for the price of 1
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