Haydn’s remarkable Opus 20 quartets are rightfully regarded as landmarks in the history of the string quartet. Throughout the six contrasting quartets the composer employs compositional techniques that were to shape and define the genre. We witness a deviation in style from the lightness and wit of his previous quartets to a mood of emotional intensity and darker musical imagery.
The six Opus 20 works are all individually exquisite masterpieces and demonstrate a composer at the height of creative maturity. They display an astonishing consistency of excellence and a huge variety of form and style, contrasting dynamics and relentless energy. Increasingly polyphonic textures are infused with a sense of drama, and the cello is often freed from its basso continuo roots to a position of prominence.
The London Haydn Quartet is the ideal advocate for these works and gives elegant, radiant and exhilaratingly assured performances.