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Haydn: String Quartets

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Jo498:
I didn't find a general thread, only on op.76 (and two "polls" pitting Haydn vs. Mozart and Beethoven, respectively), so I'll start this rather than polluting other threads.
It has been a while that I listened (and sometimes bought) extensively (around the "Haydn year" 2009), so most of this is based on recollections not on recent listening and usually not on exact A-B-comparisons. But I just list a few discs I find recommendable and sometimes comment briefly.

op.1 Petersen/Capriccio Almost by default as this is the only recording outside complete cycles. Admittedly I only know the Angeles (and a few single ones), but the Petersens play this with such verve and variety that one might forget the rather slight character of the music.
op.2 Only know the Angeles from the complete set, but they are pretty good here (as in all the early ones).
op.3 is very probably not by Haydn and I do not know all the pieces (the Kodaly did them, but I have only one of the discs). The famous "Serenade" op.3/5 was recorded by many famous ensembles; a very nice one is contained in the Janacek Quartet Box by Polygram/DG

op.9 Now we get to the first 4 standard movement pieces. Again, these are not often recorded outside complete sets. The Angeles is again pretty good. For a more weighty (sometimes slow) alternative I like Festetics/Arcana (there may be an older Festetics recording which I do not know). The Buchberger sounds a little rough, but lively.
op.17 See op.9 ;) except that I have not heard the Buchbergers here

op.20 Now we are getting to the undisputedly great pieces which are more frequently recorded. The Angeles is decent, but not varied enough, a little on the "light and pretty side". The Hagen Quartet did a very good recording on modern instruments. I also have the "classic" Tatrai from the '60s, but not listened enough to that one. In the "HIP" department I prefer Mosaiques to Festetics (who are not pleasant sounding and rather sluggish at times). I was not impressed by the Kodaly/Naxos in 4-6 (too harmless and too slow)

op.33 Another cornerstone, often called the beginning of the mature classical style. I accumulated 6+ recordings. There is a very fierce and sometimes scratchy recording by the Apponyi Quartet (which are the first chairs of the Freiburger Barockorchester); the young Spanish Cuarteto Casals is even faster in some movements, actually a little to breathless for me. OTOH there is an older recording by the Viennese Weller Quartet which may be a little to genial and I was slightly disappointed by the Auryn (despite gorgeous sound), they never really let it rip. Als have the Buchberger and Angeles, but do not remember too much about them. So I do not really have a favorite... I do in the most famous op.33/3, a live recording by the Smetana Quartet (aura/ermitage) and there is also a good one on a Recital with the Jerusalem.

op.42 pass

op.50 The fleet Amati/Divox on modern instruments and Festetics/Arcana with a darkish, serious interpretation on old instruments.
(I have never heard the famous Tokyo as it has been oop for ages and gave away the Nomos/cpo, although the latter is quite good, if a little dry)

op.54 These are not so well served, unfortunately. I find the Festetics uneven (too heavy and slow in the first one, much better in the second one). One of the best may be Juilliard (which I have as LP transfers) that has never been on CD; I don't remember to much about the Angeles and the Endellion.
op.55 I think I liked Festetics better here than in op.54. If one can live with Brainin's vibrato and mannerism, the Amadeus is also quite good in op.54/55 IIRC.

op.64 a wonderful set, but again, except for the ubiquitous #5 not so well-served. One of the best is still the mysterious "Caspar da Salo" on cheapo labels like PILZ. The Festetics did them twice, but the earlier one sounds rather dry and the latter is often rather slow. Angeles is quite good. I got one half of Mosaiques, but never really around to comparing them with Festetics. A good 4-6 with the Orlando may be found cheaply with luck.

op.71 an opus I do not know all that well, for no particular reason... The Griller Qt is often recommended. It is certainly very lively, but sometimes a little messy, too
op.74 see op.71, except that there are of course, lots of recordings of the "Rider"

op.76 certainly the one best served on disc. I have probably heard fewer recordings in comparison to some others. Mosaiques is very good here, on modern Instruments Carmina or the "classic" Tatrai. And probably many others.

op.77 Mosaiques again for HIP, maybe the Amati on modern instruments, but this is again an opus where I never really did comparisons.

good recitals:
Hagen/DG with op.1/1, 64/5 and 74/3
Jerusalem/harmonia mundi with op.77/1, 64/5 and 76/2, and maybe even more interesting op.20/5, 33/3 and 76/5

The new erato:
I have the Juillard op 54 on a LP, haven't heard them for years, but they were the one's responsible for turning me on to Haydn.

Daverz:

--- Quote from: Jo498 on September 25, 2014, 08:44:05 AM ---op.50 The fleet Amati/Divox on modern instruments and Festetics/Arcana with a darkish, serious interpretation on old instruments.
(I have never heard the famous Tokyo as it has been oop for ages

--- End quote ---

Available from Arkivmusic.

Mandryka:

--- Quote from: Jo498 on September 25, 2014, 08:44:05 AM ---I didn't find a general thread, only on op.76 (and two "polls" pitting Haydn vs. Mozart and Beethoven, respectively), so I'll start this rather than polluting other threads.
It has been a while that I listened (and sometimes bought) extensively (around the "Haydn year" 2009), so most of this is based on recollections not on recent listening and usually not on exact A-B-comparisons. But I just list a few discs I find recommendable and sometimes comment briefly.

op.1 Petersen/Capriccio Almost by default as this is the only recording outside complete cycles. Admittedly I only know the Angeles (and a few single ones), but the Petersens play this with such verve and variety that one might forget the rather slight character of the music.
op.2 Only know the Angeles from the complete set, but they are pretty good here (as in all the early ones).
op.3 is very probably not by Haydn and I do not know all the pieces (the Kodaly did them, but I have only one of the discs). The famous "Serenade" op.3/5 was recorded by many famous ensembles; a very nice one is contained in the Janacek Quartet Box by Polygram/DG

op.9 Now we get to the first 4 standard movement pieces. Again, these are not often recorded outside complete sets. The Angeles is again pretty good. For a more weighty (sometimes slow) alternative I like Festetics/Arcana (there may be an older Festetics recording which I do not know). The Buchberger sounds a little rough, but lively.
op.17 See op.9 ;) except that I have not heard the Buchbergers here

op.20 Now we are getting to the undisputedly great pieces which are more frequently recorded. The Angeles is decent, but not varied enough, a little on the "light and pretty side". The Hagen Quartet did a very good recording on modern instruments. I also have the "classic" Tatrai from the '60s, but not listened enough to that one. In the "HIP" department I prefer Mosaiques to Festetics (who are not pleasant sounding and rather sluggish at times). I was not impressed by the Kodaly/Naxos in 4-6 (too harmless and too slow)

op.33 Another cornerstone, often called the beginning of the mature classical style. I accumulated 6+ recordings. There is a very fierce and sometimes scratchy recording by the Apponyi Quartet (which are the first chairs of the Freiburger Barockorchester); the young Spanish Cuarteto Casals is even faster in some movements, actually a little to breathless for me. OTOH there is an older recording by the Viennese Weller Quartet which may be a little to genial and I was slightly disappointed by the Auryn (despite gorgeous sound), they never really let it rip. Als have the Buchberger and Angeles, but do not remember too much about them. So I do not really have a favorite... I do in the most famous op.33/3, a live recording by the Smetana Quartet (aura/ermitage) and there is also a good one on a Recital with the Jerusalem.

op.42 pass

op.50 The fleet Amati/Divox on modern instruments and Festetics/Arcana with a darkish, serious interpretation on old instruments.
(I have never heard the famous Tokyo as it has been oop for ages and gave away the Nomos/cpo, although the latter is quite good, if a little dry)

op.54 These are not so well served, unfortunately. I find the Festetics uneven (too heavy and slow in the first one, much better in the second one). One of the best may be Juilliard (which I have as LP transfers) that has never been on CD; I don't remember to much about the Angeles and the Endellion.
op.55 I think I liked Festetics better here than in op.54. If one can live with Brainin's vibrato and mannerism, the Amadeus is also quite good in op.54/55 IIRC.

op.64 a wonderful set, but again, except for the ubiquitous #5 not so well-served. One of the best is still the mysterious "Caspar da Salo" on cheapo labels like PILZ. The Festetics did them twice, but the earlier one sounds rather dry and the latter is often rather slow. Angeles is quite good. I got one half of Mosaiques, but never really around to comparing them with Festetics. A good 4-6 with the Orlando may be found cheaply with luck.

op.71 an opus I do not know all that well, for no particular reason... The Griller Qt is often recommended. It is certainly very lively, but sometimes a little messy, too
op.74 see op.71, except that there are of course, lots of recordings of the "Rider"

op.76 certainly the one best served on disc. I have probably heard fewer recordings in comparison to some others. Mosaiques is very good here, on modern Instruments Carmina or the "classic" Tatrai. And probably many others.

op.77 Mosaiques again for HIP, maybe the Amati on modern instruments, but this is again an opus where I never really did comparisons.

good recitals:
Hagen/DG with op.1/1, 64/5 and 74/3
Jerusalem/harmonia mundi with op.77/1, 64/5 and 76/2, and maybe even more interesting op.20/5, 33/3 and 76/5

--- End quote ---

The BIG thing which is missing from this are the Pro Arte Quartet recordings, some of the best Haydn ever recorded.

Jo498:
I am aware of the Pro Arte. Problem is: a) historical sound and b) the presumeably best sounding remaster is a comparably expensive download from Pristine of 8 single "discs" (always mixing works between early/middle/late), each at 7 EUR or even 9 for FLACs. I listened to some of the examples and admittedly I am not yet sure what's so extremely great about them apart from liveliness, lean sound and, especially considering the vintage, decent transparency.
I do no think I am going to pay  ~ EUR 60 for mere downloads to get the whole lot. Are there any numbers particularly well done by the Pro Arte?

As I am working my way through the huge "Haydn's House" Thread (now on p.131 of 400+) I'd like to comment on some SQ comments there.
There seems to be some confusion whether the Buchberger Quartet plays on old instruments. They don't. They may have fleet tempi and adopted some HIP manners (I do not really think so from the two sets I have heard), but they are not a HIP Ensemble.
I am also puzzled by some controversies regarding the Festetics and the Mosaiques quartet as the only HIP groups to have recorded a considerably body of Haydn. While the QM is more lush sounding and probably more secure in intonation, they are both clearly on the rather slow side (especially in faster movements), more detail than long lines and rather "warm" and earthy sounding. Although I could only compare them in some of op.64 and op.20 from these experiences I think the QM is preferable. However, they only did (except maybe op.64) the opus numbers (20,33 and op.76/77) where there are good alternatives on modern instruments, so for me (so far) the Festetics are indispensable in e.g. op.9,17 or 50.

While I like it and find it a welcome contrast, I do not share the full enthusiasm the Apponyi's (and Casals) op.33 have received. They are a little too far in the hectic and breathless direction for me.
Probably the most convincing HIP recordings I have heard is (so far only one disc of the three, but I will get at least another one) is the Schuppanzigh Quartet. They are much leaner and quicker than QF and QM, but not as thin and scratchy sounding as the Apponyi, and combine fiery playing with attention to detail.

Admittedly, I had not even known about the newish "London Haydn Quartet" on hyperion before I read about them in GMG. As to be expected ;) there seems some controvery about their qualities compared to the Festetics. I wonder how people regard their series now that a few more vols. are out?



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