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String Quartet in G minor 'Rider', Op 74 No 3
1793; Apponyi Quartet No 6

'Haydn: String Quartets Op 74' (CDA67781)
Haydn: String Quartets Op 74
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'Haydn: String Quartets Opp 74/2 & 74/3' (CDA66124)
Haydn: String Quartets Opp 74/2 & 74/3
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66124  Archive Service  
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 9 on CDA67781 [5'19]
Track 5 on CDA66124 [8'08] Archive Service
Movement 2: Largo assai
Track 10 on CDA67781 [6'04]
Track 6 on CDA66124 [7'21] Archive Service
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio
Track 11 on CDA67781 [3'10]
Track 7 on CDA66124 [4'08] Archive Service
Movement 4: Allegro con brio
Track 12 on CDA67781 [5'47]
Track 8 on CDA66124 [5'53] Archive Service

String Quartet in G minor 'Rider', Op 74 No 3
The most famous among Haydn’s six quartets of 1793 is the last, in G minor, whose ‘bouncing’ finale theme has given rise to its nickname of the ‘Rider’. This time, the quartet’s opening bars are even more deeply integrated with the main body of the movement than had been the case in Op 74 No 2, despite the fact that Haydn is careful to stress their introductory character by following them with a silence of nearly three bars. Not only is the opening heard again when the exposition is repeated, which was not the case in Op 74 No 2, but its material, with its characteristic acciaccaturas (‘crushed’ notes played almost simultaneously with the adjacent main note) forms the springboard for the first half of the central development section. To add to the ambiguity of Haydn’s initial gesture, the movement’s main theme consists essentially of an accelerated version of the quasi-introduction’s melodic shape, with the cello’s contribution significantly consisting of nothing more than a repetition of the notes D and E flat. The climax of the movement—the bars immediately preceding the recapitulation—is formed by a fortissimo hammering out of the same two notes.

The slow movement is in a distant and ethereal E major, though Haydn has softened the blow by ending the first movement in G major. The great trouvaille of this Largo assai is the sudden explosion in its eighth bar on a wholly unexpected chord. In the reprise Haydn manages to cap this moment by filling in the chord with a rapid violin arpeggio; and the theme’s second half is similarly intensified by means of a ‘shuddering’ effect on all four instruments.

Just as the first movement had ended in the major, so Haydn places his minuet in G major, reserving the minor mode for the trio—a reversal of their expected roles. The finale is to end in the major, too, though the continual syncopation of its coda does little to allay the tension of this violent piece. Nor can its renewed emphasis on the notes D and E flat be coincidental—particularly when, as in the first movement, they are hurled forth in a fortissimo outburst at the climax of the development section.

from notes by Misha Donat © 2011

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Details for CDA66124 track 5
Recording date
19 November 1983
Recording venue
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: String Quartets Opp 74/2 & 74/3 (CDA66124)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: January 1987
    Archive Service
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