Hyperion Records

String Quartet in A major, Op 20 No 6
composer
1772; Sun Quartet No 6

Recordings
'Haydn: String Quartets Op 20' (CDA67877)
Haydn: String Quartets Op 20
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67877  2CDs for the price of 1  
'Haydn: Sun Quartets Nos 4, 5 & 6' (CDA66622)
Haydn: Sun Quartets Nos 4, 5 & 6
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66622  Archive Service  
Details
Movement 1: Allegro di molto e scherzando
Track 9 on CDA67877 CD2 [7'50] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 9 on CDA66622 [8'56] Archive Service
Movement 2: Adagio cantabile
Track 10 on CDA67877 CD2 [6'22] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 10 on CDA66622 [5'59] Archive Service
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegretto
Track 11 on CDA67877 CD2 [2'31] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 11 on CDA66622 [2'21] Archive Service
Movement 4: Fuga a 3 soggetti: Allegro
Track 12 on CDA66622 [3'03] Archive Service
Movement 4: Fuga a 3 soggetto: Allegro
Track 12 on CDA67877 CD2 [3'14] 2CDs for the price of 1

String Quartet in A major, Op 20 No 6
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The final quartets of Haydn’s Op 9 and Op 17 sets both open with a buoyant, alfresco movement in 6/8 ‘hunting’ rhythm. In Op 20, No 6 in A major follows suit with an irrepressible movement that outdoes its predecessors in wit and harmonic sleight-of-hand, as when the ‘second subject’ deflects from E minor to D major before working round to the anticipated key of E major. At the end of the exposition and recapitulation Haydn again evokes musette drones, with the leader playing in double stopping. The composer marked the movement scherzando, as he might well have done the dancing final fugue on three subjects. The music’s comic verve—matched among fugues only by the rollicking finale of Verdi’s Falstaff—reaches its acme when Haydn gleefully turns the principal theme on its head: the technique is ‘learned’, the effect anything but.

The middle movements of No 6 are, by Haydn’s standards, relatively well behaved. Reverting to the style of the slow movements of Op 9 and Op 17, the E major Adagio cantabile is a soulful aria for first violin, expressively embellished when the first section is repeated, and enriched by dark glints of viola colour. With its gracious succession of four-bar phrases (with the opening phrase repeated to round off the movement—one of Haydn’s beginning-as-ending puns), the minuet is the only one in Op 20 that might, just, be danced. The beautiful, veiled trio is, like that in No 1, literally a trio, though here it is the second violin who is silent while the other three instruments play sotto voce on their lowest string.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67877 disc 2 track 10
Adagio cantabile
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-11-87722
Duration
6'22
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 2 Track 10
    Release date: September 2011
    2CDs for the price of 1
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