Author Topic: Haydn: String Quartets  (Read 24250 times)

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Offline Jo498

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2014, 02:18:57 AM »
To be honest it may be years since I listened to the Jerusalem album and I seem to recall that I might have found them a little "too smooth" (like I tend to find some of the Leipzig and the Auryn) in the one with 76/5. But I certainly liked their first one (wiht fifths, lark and 77/1) and the 33/3 in the 2nd one.
I am not all that picky (although it might seem otherwise), e.g. I will only realize rather gross faults in intonation and precision, it's been too long that I sang a little in choir and dabbled with a clarinet, I am not really a musician.
By now have quite a few decent recordings of Haydn, I think. But *great* ones (of which there are many for Beethoven, late Schubert etc.) are not common. And Haydn does really seem difficult. One danger is prettifying, another is exaggerating contrasts, another is routine (all but unavoidable in projects with dozens of pieces, so maybe the Leipzig approach has advantages) etc. Of course all this might also apply to some extent to Mozart and Beethoven. But there are so many recordings of the latter that some are bound to get almost everything right.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2014, 09:12:50 AM »
For me the JQ are shallow, once you've heard them a couple of times, once in fact,  there's no point going back. Perfectly anodine to hear, of course.

Too much emphasis on beauty of sound, that's the fundamental problem.

Just compare what they do in op 77 /1 with a really great performance (Pro Arte, Tatrai, Ulbrich)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 09:15:07 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Sammy

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2014, 09:56:54 AM »
I'd like to mention the Salomon Qt. recordings on Hyperion.  Although likely hard to find these days, I consider these period instrument performances the best on record.  Fortunately, I acquired them when first released.

Offline Old Listener

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2014, 10:48:09 AM »
For me the JQ are shallow, once you've heard them a couple of times, once in fact,  there's no point going back. Perfectly anodine to hear, of course.

Too much emphasis on beauty of sound, that's the fundamental problem.

Just compare what they do in op 77 /1 with a really great performance (Pro Arte, Tatrai, Ulbrich)

Which J are you referring to?  Janacek, Jerusalem?

Offline Jo498

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2014, 10:56:37 AM »
I think Jerusalem Quartet, because it fits to some extent. They are sounding seductively beautiful. Admittedly, I only have their 2 Haydn discs and the BBC Magazine one (with Haydn op.76/4, LvBs 18/6 and Shostys #8 - their first recordings?) and it's been I while I listened to them and I might have been seduced by their beautiful sounds. But I think their qualities are not exhausted by that.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2014, 11:05:09 AM »
For me the JQ are shallow, once you've heard them a couple of times, once in fact,  there's no point going back. Perfectly anodine to hear, of course.

Too much emphasis on beauty of sound, that's the fundamental problem.

Just compare what they do in op 77 /1 with a really great performance (Pro Arte, Tatrai, Ulbrich)

What we want in string quartet playing is ugliness of sound? Because beauty equals shallowness? (You're a Robert Layton disciple, aren't you.)

 ;D :laugh: ;D

Actually, the Jerusalem's 77/1 is the greatest version on modern instruments.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2014, 11:17:11 AM »
What we want in string quartet playing is ugliness of sound?

No

Because beauty equals shallowness?

No


 (You're a Robert Layton disciple, aren't you.)

No

 ;D :laugh: ;D

No

Actually, the Jerusalem's 77/1 is the greatest version on modern instruments.

No

Mandryka
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Offline amw

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2014, 12:32:17 PM »
The Leipzig Quartet actually has a 7th volume of Haydn quartets out now, containing op. 42, 77 and 103. So I guess they are still recording Haydn, & perhaps there's hope for some of the more neglected works.

(I am sure if it's beauty of tone you want they put the Jerusalem in the shade ;))

Leaving aside 'smooth' Haydn for a while, I'm curious to know more about the Salomon Quartet's interpretations, for those who've heard them. From the 1-minute sound samples on Hyperion's website, they seem like a period-instrument version of the Buchbergers, if slightly less wilful. (Currently pretty cheap too, though nowhere near Brilliant levels.)

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2014, 05:36:15 PM »
The Leipzig Quartet actually has a 7th volume of Haydn quartets out now, containing op. 42, 77 and 103. So I guess they are still recording Haydn......

I wish they'd get around to recording the other half of the op.50! >:( The first half they recorded is stellar. :)


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2014, 01:05:07 PM »
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?

Another wonderful Pro Arte one is op 74/2, I forgot about it yesterday.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 01:22:57 PM by Mandryka »
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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2014, 05:12:33 PM »
Mandryka, what Pro Arte editions do you know ? Which is better, soundwise ?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2014, 09:33:48 PM »
Mandryka, what Pro Arte editions do you know ? Which is better, soundwise ?

I'm using spotify.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2014, 12:01:34 AM »
Which one is on spotify?
In rec.music.classical.recordings there was consensus that Pristine was better than Testament was better than the dubious CDs from "strings" or whatever grey label. Pristine has two choices of quality (mp3 and FLAC) and one several complete movements online free as "teasers".
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2014, 07:20:07 AM »
I think Jerusalem Quartet, because it fits to some extent. They are sounding seductively beautiful. Admittedly, I only have their 2 Haydn discs and the BBC Magazine one (with Haydn op.76/4, LvBs 18/6 and Shostys #8 - their first recordings?) and it's been I while I listened to them and I might have been seduced by their beautiful sounds. But I think their qualities are not exhausted by that.

Seduced by their beautiful sounds!? Sounds great to me.   Presumably they won't give me VD or steal my retirement money or blackmail me to my wife, so I find it hard to see the downside.  Why "seduced" and not "moved" or "impressed"? 
 
 I'm  planning on getting the new Festetics box soon, but this comment, combined with Sarge's (actually I trust Sarge in most things, and that should have been enough on its own) has convinced me I have to get a hold of this tantalizingly evil Jerusalem Quartet. I will surrender and let them have their way with me.  I sincerely hope they corrupt me in whatever way beautiful Haydn music can corrupt... 
It's all good...

Offline Jo498

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2014, 09:27:17 AM »
I was merely taking up the idea that there was something dubious (like implying shallowness) about beautiful sounds. If you are rather new to Haydn's quartets I think the two anthology discs with the Jerusalem are a very good introduction, whereas one can get lost or bored with a huge box like the Festetics. And while I am happy to have several vols. of the Festetics I think their sound and style can be a liability for some listeners.
Other good recital discs would be with the Schuppanzigh Quartet (period instruments but technically more accomplished and livelier than Festetics).
The Leipzig and Auryn are also sounding very beautiful but both are expensive and you would have to get more discs if you want to sample more than one opus.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2014, 09:59:08 AM »
Look, I know a couple of people (not people who post here) who are much more serious about Haydn quartets than me, they've heard more Haydn than me, they rate his music more highly than I do. And they both love JQ. Although, as per usual, they're quite reticent about what they see in the music making, I think that they're especially appreciated if you like a basically upbeat style and if you appreciate good string playing. You know, suck it and see.

By the way, both the guys I'm thinking of appreciate the Tatrai and Pro Arte much more than JQ, so I guess we're not really so far apart really.

I just noticed that an old set has just made it for the first time off LP - The Schneider Quartet.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 10:02:50 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2014, 10:14:43 AM »
I'd like to mention the Salomon Qt. recordings on Hyperion.  Although likely hard to find these days, I consider these period instrument performances the best on record.  Fortunately, I acquired them when first released.

The Salomen Quartet are still available easily from Hyperion. I listened to op 77/1 - is that a good place to dip in? Is there anything you think shows them at their best Don?
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2014, 10:21:11 AM »
I figure this belongs here as well (posted this earlier today in new releases)

Schneider Quartet

So - this seems to be a "legendary" recording that finally has been issued on cd by Music & Arts. What is your impressions of these recordings? (I guess only LP collectors have them)

From the Music&Arts web site:
"CD-1281(15) The String Quartets of Joseph Haydn- The Schneider Quartet. Historic Haydn Society Recordings.
In response to numerous inquiries from collectors all over the globe, Music & Arts takes great pleasure in announcing the release in a boxed set of 15 CDs all the Haydn Society recordings of the Haydn Quartets with the Schneider Quartet. Restored from the original Haydn Society master tapes and LP sources in 2013 by Lani Spahr. New liner notes by Tully Potter. Original LP liner notes by Karl Geiringer and Marion M. Scott available as a free download!"



Original Liner Notes (very interesting)!






Sample (LP):
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/4cyfgCTj-pg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/4cyfgCTj-pg</a>
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 10:34:48 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2014, 10:48:03 AM »


It seems like the reissue of the Schneider recordings can be linked to Lawrence Austin's efforts at "Vinyl Fatigue". This is a fantastic blog!

In my data mining on the web I also came across a wonderful essay about Haydn's string quartets (op 76) that may be of interest to readers of this thread. The latter half of the essay has some interesting commentary about recordings of Haydn's SQs.  I certainly enjoyed it!  :)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 10:58:14 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Sammy

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2014, 10:50:55 AM »
The Salomen Quartet are still available easily from Hyperion. I listened to op 77/1 - is that a good place to dip in? Is there anything you think shows them at their best Don?

I've been listening to their Op. 20 for dozens of hours in the past few months - I'd start there.