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Track(s) taken from CDA67611

String Quartet in B flat major, Op 9 No 5

c1769; recorded from the 1790 Longman and Broderip edition

The London Haydn Quartet
Recording details: February 2007
St Paul's Church, Deptford, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: October 2007
Total duration: 25 minutes 37 seconds

Cover artwork: Vauxhall Gardens: The Grand Walk with the Orchestra Playing by Samuel Wale (1721-1786)
Museum of London / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'I quickly warmed to the pure, glowing sound of gut strings played perfectly in tune, and to the ensemble's delicacy of nuance and sensitivity to harmonic colour, treating the listener as a privileged eavesdropper … Catherine Manson is a graceful and nimble leader … the results are delightfully witty and spirited. Recorded in the warm, sympatheic acoustic of St Paul's Deptford, these performances should win new friends for an undeservedly neglected set' (Gramophone)

'A sonority that seems brighter and less astringent than that produced by 'period' ensembles, but one that is still far closer to what we assume to be the timbre of an eighteenth-century quartet … Hyperion's sound is ideal: close, clear and free of harshness and any intrusive breathing. In short, this is an interesting and possibly controversial release, but one that shows The London Haydn Quartet to be thoughtful, provocative and technically accomplished' (International Record Review)

'Without a doubt one of the all-time great Haydn quartet recordings … the original instrument London Haydn Quartet play Op 9 with such deep feeling, dynamic subtlety and phrasal sensitivity that even the simplest of ideas become things of wonder. Passages of generic cadencing and decoration that often pass by unacknowledged by other ensembles sound utterly magical here, the enhanced expressive flexibility of gut strings revelled in to the full' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The London Haydn Quartet plays lovely period instruments in a gentle manner, emphasizing the beauty of the music—highly evocative' (Fanfare, USA)

'On this superb double disc set from Hyperion, the London Haydn Quartet's playing of the set is intense, passionate and revelatory. It is difficult to imagine finer interpretations of these occasionally formulaic but always melodically colourful works. The quartet—comprising Catherine Manson and Margaret Faultless on violin, James Boyd on viola and Jonathan Cohen on cello—play on gut strings with classical bows. There is to be found none of the reserve or prissiness that can sometimes characterise period performance. The sound here is bright, resonant and gritty, the lack of vibrato adding a spicy, piquant tang to the ensemble timbre. The bowing is confident; tempi are firm and steady, yet subtle inflections and rhythmic manipulations crank up the drama to breaking point' (MusicOHM.com)
In Nos 5 and 6 Haydn abandons the serious, weighty Moderatos of the first four quartets for lighter, popular-style opening movements. The B flat quartet, No 5, begins with a set of variations on a rather homely Poco adagio theme. Following a long-established convention, the ornamental figuration becomes progressively more brilliant in the first three variations, while the final variation brings back the tune in its original simplicity. Only in the elegant dialogue textures of variation two is the first violin’s hegemony briefly challenged. The minuet, kick-started by a typically Austrian gruppetto figure familiar from the minuets of several late Haydn symphonies (most famously the ‘Drum Roll’, No 103), is the most bucolically lusty in Op 9. In the Cantabile largo Haydn exploits the rich, warm colourings characteristic of the key of E flat, and gives the three lower instruments a far more interesting time than in the other Op 9 slow movements. The exposition of the Presto finale—the quartet’s only movement in sonata form—ends quizzically on a dominant seventh chord. Haydn repeats this effect at the end of the recapitulation, necessitating a resolving coda that wittily alludes to the development before fading away pianissimo.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2007

Dans les nos5 et 6, Haydn abandonne les sérieux et pesants Moderatos des quatre premiers quatuors pour des mouvements d’ouverture plus légers, de style populaire. Le quatuor en si bémol (no5) affiche d’abord une série de variations sur un thème Poco adagio sans prétention. Suivant une convention instaurée de longue date, la figuration ornementale se fait de plus en plus brillante dans les trois premières variations, tandis que la dernière voit la mélodie renouer avec sa simplicité originelle. L’hégémonie du premier violon n’est brièvement mise en cause que dans les élégantes textures dialogantes de la deuxième variation. Le menuet—lancé par une figure de gruppetto typiquement autrichienne, chère aux menuets de plusieurs symphonies tardives de Haydn (l’exemple le plus fameux est la Symphonie «Le roulement de timbales», no103)—est le mouvement le plus bucoliquement robuste de tout l’op.9. Dans le Cantabile largo, Haydn exploite les riches et chaudes couleurs caractéristiques du ton de mi bémol et confie aux trois instruments graves un rôle bien plus intéressant que celui qui leur est dévolu dans les autres mouvements lents de l’op.9. L’exposition du finale Presto—le seul mouvement de forme sonate du quatuor—s’achève, narquoise, sur un accord de septième de dominante. Haydn renouvelle cet effet à la fin de la réexposition, induisant une coda de résolution qui se réfère, avec beaucoup d’esprit, au développement, avant de s’effacer pianissimo.

extrait des notes rédigées par Richard Wigmore © 2007
Français: Hypérion

In Nr. 5 und 6 gibt Haydn die seriösen, gewichtigen Moderatos der ersten vier Quartette zu Gunsten unbeschwerterer Anfangssätze in populärerem Stil auf. Das B-Dur-Quartett Nr. 5 beginnt mit einer Variationenfolge über ein eher biederes Poco adagio-Thema. Mit traditioneller Konvention werden die Verzierungen in den ersten drei Variationen zusehends brillanter, während die letzte Variation die Melodie in ihrer originalen Schlichtheit zurückbringt. Nur in den eleganten Dialogen der zweiten Variation wird die Vorherrschaft der ersten Geige kurz herausgefordert. Das Menuett, das von einer typisch österreichischen Gruppetto-Figur in Gang gebracht wird, wie sie aus den Menuetten mehrerer späterer Haydn-Symphonien vertraut sind (besonders der berühmten Symphonie „mit dem Trommelwirbel“, Nr. 103), ist das bukolisch-gelüstigste im op. 9. Im Cantabile largo nutzt Haydn die reichen, warmen Farben aus, die für die Tonart Es-Dur charakteristisch sind, und gibt den drei tieferen Instrumenten wesentlich Interessanteres zu tun als in den anderen langsamen Sätzen im op. 9. Die Exposition im Presto-Finale—dem einzigen Satz des Quartetts in Sonatenform—schließt zweifelnd auf einen Dominantseptakkord. Haydn wiederholt diesen Effekt am Ende der Reprise, was eine auflösende Coda erfordert, die gewitzt auf die Durchführung anspielt, bevor sie pianissimo ins Nichts verschwindet.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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