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Track(s) taken from CDA67722

String Quartet in G major, Op 17 No 5

1771; recorded from the London edition published by Welcker circa 1774

The London Haydn Quartet
Recording details: August 2008
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 2009
Total duration: 21 minutes 56 seconds

Cover artwork: The Thames and the Tower of London supposedly on the King's Birthday (detail) (1771) by Samuel Scott (c1702-1772)
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, USA / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'These musicians arrest attention by the variety of their bowing and articulation. They lean into notes, swelling and contracting the sound … to heighten the potential for expression … a very imaginative interpretation' (Gramophone)

'Those who want a 'period' performance should not hesitate—they are unlikely to hear any better of its kind. Articulation is light, precise yet full of nuance; vibrato is scarcely detectable yet intonation is immaculate; the whole texture shines' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Playing with gut strings and classical bows, the London Haydn Quartet bring both freshness and depth to the six works that the composer wrote at Esterhazy in 1771' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Gut strings sometimes mean sour intonation, but not with this superb British group. Formed out of love for Haydn, they explore his repertoire with a light touch and kaleidoscopic colours. This second Hyperion survey brings the six Op 17 quartets … crammed with subtle pleasures. A set to bring long-lasting pleasure' (The Times)

'This splendid recording … Catherine Manson brings a nice rubato to the violin's flight in the first movement of Quartet No 5, and makes the most of the operatic recitative in the Adagio' (Classic FM Magazine)

'These superb LHQ performances set the standard for Haydn interpretation, yet the two CDs are available for the price of one' (MusicWeb International)
The sturdy opening of the G major quartet, No 5, with its flicking ‘Scotch snap’ rhythms, points the way to the more egalitarian textures of the famous Op 20 set by quickly involving all four instruments in the motivic interplay. Then, near the end of the exposition, Haydn gives Tomasini his head in a bravura passage of double-stopping. To offset the expansive development, ending with a quasi-improvisatory passage for solo first violin, the recapitulation drastically compresses the events of the exposition. The tangy minuet, full of metrically disruptive canonic imitations, encloses an inscrutable G minor trio that leads back without a break into the minuet. G minor is also the key of the Adagio, where the first violin impersonates an imploring opera seria heroine in alternating arioso and recitative, the latter uncannily foreshadowing the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Haydn exploits the catchy theme of the finale, given a gentle rhythmic ‘kick’ by the viola, with impish wit, right through to the conspiratorial pianissimo ending.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Avec ses vacillants «rythmes lombards», la robuste ouverture du quatuor en sol majeur, no 5, pave la voie aux textures plus égalitaires du fameux corpus op. 20 en impliquant rapidement les quatre instruments dans le jeu motivique. Puis, vers la fin de l’exposition, Haydn lâche la bride à Tomasini dans un passage de bravoure en doubles cordes. Pour compenser le développement expansif, qui s’achève sur une quasi improvisation du premier violon, la réexposition comprime drastiquement les événements de l’exposition. Le menuet corsé, gorgé d’imitations canoniques métriquement perturbatrices, renferme un insondable trio en sol mineur qui ramène sans transition au menuet. Sol mineur est aussi la tonalité de l’Adagio, où le premier violon se prend pour une implorante héroïne d’opera seria alternant arioso et récitatif, lequel préfigure étrangement le finale de la Symphonie no 9 de Beethoven. Haydn exploite le thème accrocheur du finale, avec un doux «kick» rythmique à l’alto, à la verve espiègle, jusqu’à la conspiratrice conclusion pianissimo.

extrait des notes rédigées par Richard Wigmore © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Der solide Anfang des G-Dur-Quartetts, Nr. 5 mit seinem schnalzenden „Scotch snap“ oder lombardischen Rhythmus weist den Weg zu den egalitäreren Texturen der berühmten Sammlung op. 20, indem alle vier Instrumente schnell am motivischen Wechselspiel beteiligt werden. Gegen Ende der Exposition gibt Haydn dann in einer bravurösen Doppelgriffpassage Tomasini nach. Zum Ausgleich für die expansive Durchführung, die mit einer quasi improvisatorischen Passage für Solovioline endet, verdichtet die Reprise die Vorgänge der Exposition. Das herbe Menuett voll metrisch zerrissener kanonischer Imitationen umschließt ein unergründliches g-Moll-Trio, das ohne Unterbrechung zum Menuett zurückführt. G-Moll ist auch die Tonart für das Adagio, wo die erste Violine mit abwechselndem Arioso und Rezitativ eine flehende Opernheldin verkörpert—Letzteres weist frappierend auf das Finale von Beethovens Neunter Symphonie voraus. Haydn nutzt das eingängige Thema des Finales, das einen sanften rhythmischen Anstoß von der Bratsche erhält, bis zum konspiratorischen Pianissimo-Schluss mit schelmischem Witz.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2009
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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