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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Jo498 on September 25, 2014, 08:44:05 AM

Title: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: 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

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 25, 2014, 09:10:17 AM
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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Daverz on September 25, 2014, 02:06:20 PM
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

Available from Arkivmusic.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on September 25, 2014, 08:35:08 PM
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 BIG thing which is missing from this are the Pro Arte Quartet recordings, some of the best Haydn ever recorded.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 01, 2014, 04:42:17 AM
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?



Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Daverz on December 01, 2014, 09:03:07 AM
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.

Compared to the Mosaiques and Festetics Quartets, the Buchbergers sound rather austere and plain, which is perhaps why they are mistaken for playing on "original" instruments.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 01, 2014, 11:10:09 AM
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?

Try Pro Arte op 64/6 or op 77/1 to start with maybe. Or maybe their op 50s. I think op 33 is a tough nut to crack, and I share your reservations. No one has made me love op 33, though Weller come close.  I agree with you about QM over Festetics in op 20 and I can see why you may prefer them in op 64. But they wouldn't be a choice for me in either of those sets of quartets.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 01, 2014, 12:33:58 PM
Thanks for the lead.
As I probably mentioned somewhere I love the Smetana (live) and Jerusalem in op.33/3 and I find a lot to like about the Apponyi and Casals although both tend to be somewhat hyperkinetic, missing the leisurely charm of some movements. I'd have to re-listen to Weller and Auryn but they may be not energetic enough (at least that's what I remember). And apart from #3 op.33 will overall not be my favorite opus, but it's great music nevertheless.

My choice for op.20 altogether would probably be the Hagen, but I like to have also one historical instrument recording for each opus.
My overall choice for op.64 is probably still the dark horse "Caspar da Salo" (whoever actually plays on these discs). Of course there are plenty of choices for the "Lark" but not much for the rest (and I really like the b minor, B flat major and E flat major pieces from this opus). I might at some stage give op.64 with the Auryns a try...
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 01, 2014, 01:11:34 PM
The Leipzig Quartet has six extremely fine Haydn recitals on MDG, containing Op. 51 and works from Op. 20, 33, 50, 64 and 76.

The London Haydn Quartet is competitive with the Mosaïques in Op. 33, but not so much Op. 20, which is too slow (regardless of whether or not this represents Haydn's true intentions). They are probably the best choice available for Op. 9 and 17.

The Buchbergers offer interesting 'alternative' readings in all quartets and reasonably good primary readings in the under-recorded Op. 54/55. And it's Brilliant, so dead cheap. I like the Takacs Quartet in general, as well. Also 2nding the recommendations for the Hagen and Schuppanzigh Quartets (+ Nomos Op. 50 which I am quite fond of).
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 01, 2014, 01:44:18 PM
Thanks for the lead.
As I probably mentioned somewhere I love the Smetana (live) and Jerusalem in op.33/3 and I find a lot to like about the Apponyi and Casals although both tend to be somewhat hyperkinetic, missing the leisurely charm of some movements. I'd have to re-listen to Weller and Auryn but they may be not energetic enough (at least that's what I remember). And apart from #3 op.33 will overall not be my favorite opus, but it's great music nevertheless.

My choice for op.20 altogether would probably be the Hagen, but I like to have also one historical instrument recording for each opus.
My overall choice for op.64 is probably still the dark horse "Caspar da Salo" (whoever actually plays on these discs). Of course there are plenty of choices for the "Lark" but not much for the rest (and I really like the b minor, B flat major and E flat major pieces from this opus). I might at some stage give op.64 with the Auryns a try...

I heard the Hagen play 33/2 in a concert very well. You may be interested to try the two op 33 that the Janacek Quartet recorded - I'd be curious about what you think, though I know that you will not find it energetic enough. It may have compensating virtues though.  I like what they do a lot - they are my favourite ensemble so I'm a sucker for mostly everything they recorded.

I wonder what the Haydn people here think Haydn was up to with op 33. I mean is he doing anything exciting and bold? Is op 33 top drawer Haydn?

For op 20 I prefer Tatrai and Ulrich to Hagen. The PI thing with Haydn hasn't effected my listening much - in Mozart more so.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 01, 2014, 02:11:49 PM
I actually have the Janacek DG box. I didn't mentioned it, because while beautifully played they are only two. And I find them rather slowish, especially the first movement of 33/3.

op.33 clearly is top drawer, #3 is for me one of the best Haydn quartets and its first movement one of the best sonata allegro movements from his oeuvre But they are almost all very terse/condensed pieces and they are emotionally rather neutral (even the b minor), unless comical. Very far from the often highly emotional op.20. And op.50 is often comparably concentrated and intellectual, but somewhat more expansive.

Right now checking the online bits of op.9 with the "new london". This is really slow in the first movements, but comparably flowing in the adagios (they wake up for the finales, though). Not sure if I'll be happier with them than with the Festetics. The latter also sound more "gritty". The New London seem somewhat detached emotionally, but of course, this is just the one minute examples from the online shop. I might get this or op.17, but before I will listen to the ones I have (I do not know the op.9/17 all as well as some others). It's certainly not something that cries "buy me" like the Schuppanzigh.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: MickeyBoy on December 01, 2014, 05:08:18 PM
Enthusiastic review of the Festetics set:

http://cdhotlist.com/



Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 01, 2014, 06:39:10 PM
Enthusiastic review of the Festetics set:

http://cdhotlist.com/

Hi, Mick!

I'm already a fan! Interested to see what some of our other members think of that review. :D

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 01, 2014, 06:41:44 PM

I wonder what the Haydn people here think Haydn was up to with op 33. I mean is he doing anything exciting and bold? Is op 33 top drawer Haydn?

Depends what excites you, I guess.

Opus 33 (http://www.fjhaydn.com/my-blog/2014/12/1781-the-music-part-2-.html)

Read down to the bottom for some more musicologically oriented material, as opposed to historical. :)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 01, 2014, 10:25:01 PM
I actually have the Janacek DG box. I didn't mentioned it, because while beautifully played they are only two. And I find them rather slowish, especially the first movement of 33/3.

op.33 clearly is top drawer, #3 is for me one of the best Haydn quartets and its first movement one of the best sonata allegro movements from his oeuvre But they are almost all very terse/condensed pieces and they are emotionally rather neutral (even the b minor), unless comical. Very far from the often highly emotional op.20. And op.50 is often comparably concentrated and intellectual, but somewhat more expansive.

Right now checking the online bits of op.9 with the "new london". This is really slow in the first movements, but comparably flowing in the adagios (they wake up for the finales, though). Not sure if I'll be happier with them than with the Festetics. The latter also sound more "gritty". The New London seem somewhat detached emotionally, but of course, this is just the one minute examples from the online shop. I might get this or op.17, but before I will listen to the ones I have (I do not know the op.9/17 all as well as some others). It's certainly not something that cries "buy me" like the Schuppanzigh.

Yes I knew you would say that about the Janacek Quartet's Haydn. The thing I remember most about how the Hagen played The Joke in concert was precisely how emotionally interesting they made it, particularly the skow movement of course. So it can be done!

Anyone heard The Lindsays do op 33? I just played their slow movement of The Joke and it's very tender and moving and concentrated. This could be THE ONE!
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 02, 2014, 09:09:40 AM
The Leipzig Quartet has six extremely fine Haydn recitals on MDG, containing Op. 51 and works from Op. 20, 33, 50, 64 and 76.
They seem to be doing half of each opus. Listening to the online bits they remind me a little of the Auryns. Very beautiful well-balanced sound, but they could go a little more rustic or explosive at times, I guess. E.g. in the first forte statement after the tentative beginning of op.33/1.

But why ALWAYS op.76/2-4 (my fav is #5) and the 7 last words?!? I think the 7LW has been recorded more often than any complete opus except op.76 and 77. Sure, it is a cool piece, but not even a real string quartet.
I also think I'll refuse to buy another quartet recital disc with the "Lark"...

Quote
The Buchbergers offer interesting 'alternative' readings in all quartets and reasonably good primary readings in the under-recorded Op. 54/55. And it's Brilliant, so dead cheap.
I probably should do a survey of my op.54/55 (Angeles, Festetics, Amadeus, as well as Endellion in op.54, Smithsonians in op.54/1+2 (annoyingly lacking #3, a 42 min. disc from the late 80s) and Panocha's op.55) and get the Buchberger as well. I find it puzzling that these pieces seem to fall by the wayside or that many ensembles only record one half, they are among the most original ones.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 02, 2014, 09:20:05 AM
They seem to be doing half of each opus. Listening to the online bits they remind me a little of the Auryns. Very beautiful well-balanced sound, but they could go a little more rustic or explosive at times, I guess. E.g. in the first forte statement after the tentative beginning of op.33/1.

But why ALWAYS op.76/2-4 (my fav is #5) and the 7 last words?!? I think the 7LW has been recorded more often than any complete opus except op.76 and 77. Sure, it is a cool piece, but not even a real string quartet.
I also think I'll refuse to buy another quartet recital disc with the "Lark"...
I probably should do a survey of my op.54/55 (Angeles, Festetics, Amadeus, as well as Endellion in op.54, Smithsonians in op.54/1+2 (annoyingly lacking #3, a 42 min. disc from the late 80s) and Panocha's op.55) and get the Buchberger as well. I find it puzzling that these pieces seem to fall by the wayside or that many ensembles only record one half, they are among the most original ones.

The essential op 54s are Juilliard and maybe Linday.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 02, 2014, 10:38:56 AM
The essential op 54s are Juilliard and maybe Linday.

And the Endellion and the Ysaye.



Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 02, 2014, 02:39:14 PM
They seem to be doing half of each opus. Listening to the online bits they remind me a little of the Auryns. Very beautiful well-balanced sound, but they could go a little more rustic or explosive at times, I guess. E.g. in the first forte statement after the tentative beginning of op.33/1.
MDG is making them record everything while they're still at their peak. I'd prefer it if they went back to record the missing ones (agree on 76/5) but no idea if there are more Haydn recordings planned or they're busy learning some other corner of the standard rep that's already been recorded several hundred times.

As a rule they play Haydn as though he were Mozart, an approach which in this case works quite well for me (but then I have alternatives). Volume 2 is probably my favourite.

Quote
I probably should do a survey of my op.54/55 (Angeles, Festetics, Amadeus, as well as Endellion in op.54, Smithsonians in op.54/1+2 (annoyingly lacking #3, a 42 min. disc from the late 80s) and Panocha's op.55) and get the Buchberger as well. I find it puzzling that these pieces seem to fall by the wayside or that many ensembles only record one half, they are among the most original ones.
Indeed. The Salomon Quartet has also recorded 54/55 (downloads currently discounted, though for some reason 54 is £6 and 55 is £4...)

For me the main problem with the Buchbergers is Hubert Buchberger. He has lots of interesting ideas and is the leader of the quartet, so we can't get rid of him, but his intonation at times is just far enough off to annoy me. Apparently without being noticeable to most other people. I can look past it, but if you have perfect pitch, I suspect you won't be able to so easily.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 02, 2014, 02:48:27 PM
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
I listened to 40 seconds of the 'Largo cantabile e mesto'. Not exactly what I am looking for. (The rest of the album might be perfect though >.>)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Old Listener 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?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: amw 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.)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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. :)


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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.

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 04, 2014, 05:12:33 PM
Mandryka, what Pro Arte editions do you know ? Which is better, soundwise ?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 04, 2014, 09:33:48 PM
Mandryka, what Pro Arte editions do you know ? Which is better, soundwise ?

I'm using spotify.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 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".
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mookalafalas 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... 
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Moonfish on December 05, 2014, 10:21:11 AM
I figure this belongs here as well  (posted this earlier today in new releases) (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11592.msg851852.html#msg851852)

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!"



(http://www.musicandarts.com/linernotes/files/CD-1281-thumb.jpg) (http://www.musicandarts.com/linernotes/files/TheStringQuartetsofJosephHaydn-TheHaydnSocietyLPLinerNotes.pdf) Original Liner Notes (very interesting)! (http://www.musicandarts.com/linernotes/files/TheStringQuartetsofJosephHaydn-TheHaydnSocietyLPLinerNotes.pdf)




(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81v2Z1dvEeL._SL1500_.jpg)

Sample (LP):
https://www.youtube.com/v/4cyfgCTj-pg
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Moonfish on December 05, 2014, 10:48:03 AM
(http://www.musicandarts.com/cdimages/201304-3.png)

It seems like the reissue of the Schneider recordings can be linked to Lawrence Austin's efforts at "Vinyl Fatigue" (http://vinylfatigue.blogspot.com/2011/03/haydnschneider-quartet-links-removed.html). This is a fantastic blog (http://vinylfatigue.blogspot.com/)!

In my data mining on the web I also came across a wonderful essay about Haydn's string quartets (op 76) (http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics4/haydnquartets.html) 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!  :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Sammy 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.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on December 05, 2014, 04:13:25 PM
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.

I like the Jerusalem Quartet because they play Haydn as solidly Haydn.  That said, I like everything they have put out (and I think I have it all, including stuff from before they signed with Harmonia Mundi), so perhaps I am a little biased.   Also, I would point to their Shostakovich recordings as the JQ recordings to get first.  It would be a great thing if they ever completed the cycle. My preference in Haydn is actually Mosaiques.

On another tangent, is there any word on when the next installment of the London Haydn Quartet will be released?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mookalafalas on December 05, 2014, 05:14:23 PM
I think that they're especially appreciated if you like a basically upbeat style and if you appreciate good string playing.
  Haydn was an upbeat guy, and even his masses tend to sound improbably festive, so this sounds reasonable to me.  I know you like more heft and range in interpretations.  I wonder if you have heard any of the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet's Haydn discs on Westminster? I like those a lot, and think they have more depth and power than other versions I have heard (although that recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am far from a specialist).
 
  Thinking about your initial criticism of the JQ, after remembering back to my first response to the Mosaiques it makes much more sense to me. Several of our members swear by the Mosaiques. but after having enjoyed the rough-and-ready rowdiness of the Buchbergers, I was initially appalled by their incredibly clean and polished playing. It struck me as beyond erudite--perfect--but somehow just by-the-numbers.  When I listen I picture them playing in a beautiful museum, with track-lighting, impeccably dressed in ties and tailored suits, with neatly trimmed van-dyke beards...and no expressions on their faces whatsoever.

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'm very curious to hear both of those, but am allergic to paying so much for single discs of an unknown quantity. A local shop has the Tatrai, so I may give them a whirl.

 
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on December 05, 2014, 05:19:40 PM
LOL!

I like QM precisely because I find them rough and ready,  while the one Buchberger recording I have is for me too much of a museum piece.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Daverz on December 05, 2014, 06:35:52 PM
  Thinking about your initial criticism of the JQ, after remembering back to my first response to the Mosaiques it makes much more sense to me. Several of our members swear by the Mosaiques. but after having enjoyed the rough-and-ready rowdiness of the Buchbergers, I was initially appalled by their incredibly clean and polished playing. It struck me as beyond erudite--perfect--but somehow just by-the-numbers.  When I listen I picture them playing in a beautiful museum, with track-lighting, impeccably dressed in ties and tailored suits, with neatly trimmed van-dyke beards...and no expressions on their faces whatsoever.

Which quartets?  I've amassed a large collection of Haydn quartets because I'm not often happy with how these works are played.  The Mosaïques are often my first choice in the quartets that they recorded.

But I don't hear them as "rough and ready"' either, if that describes a sloppy approach like the Lindsays.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 05, 2014, 06:46:51 PM
The Mosaïques are exceptional in opus 20 (32... whatever) in particular. I think their recording of those works is the best of the many available. They play with real depth of feeling beneath the certain degree of surface polish (which in any case I think is nowhere near the level of surface beauty attained by Auryn and Leipzig—I have not found the JQ as 'beautiful' actually, but I'm less into vibrato and that kind of thing).

I want to say they were also very good in opus 64 but don't remember right now. Opus 20's my favourite in general, I don't listen to the others as often.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 05, 2014, 07:32:14 PM
Maybe we need a blind listening to resolve the differences...:) Hint, hint....
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mookalafalas on December 05, 2014, 07:52:07 PM
Maybe we need a blind listening to resolve the differences...:) Hint, hint....

 Actually, there was a blind listening of Haydn quartets some time ago (a couple of years? Someone cited it when I bought the Buchberger set to "let me know" they had been found wanting during the listening test).
 
Daverz, the Mosaiques that I found so dry and polished on first listening was Opus 76. 
  However, that was on first listening after having spent a lot of time with the Buchbergers.  The contrast between the two is strong, but my opinion of the Mosaiques has risen considerably during the interim. 
  I just have two discs of the Festetics, but really love those two (a happy medium between the Buchbergers and Mosaiques as far as my tastes are concerned).
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Moonfish on December 05, 2014, 08:06:51 PM
Actually, there was a blind listening of Haydn quartets some time ago (a couple of years? Someone cited it when I bought the Buchberger set to "let me know" they had been found wanting during the listening test).
 
Daverz, the Mosaiques that I found so dry and polished on first listening was Opus 76. 
  However, that was on first listening after having spent a lot of time with the Buchbergers.  The contrast between the two is strong, but my opinion of the Mosaiques has risen considerably during the interim. 
  I just have two discs of the Festetics, but really love those two (a happy medium between the Buchbergers and Mosaiques as far as my tastes are concerned).

Hmm, I think the Buchbergers have a richer sound and timbre (which appeals to my ears) compared to the Mosaiques. I know the consensus seems to lean towards Mosaiques so my opinion is somewhat heretic. Besides, like most music appreciation it is a very subjective arena. We will all have different impressions and attachments to these amazing quartets.  :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 05, 2014, 11:17:03 PM
  Haydn was an upbeat guy, and even his masses tend to sound improbably festive, so this sounds reasonable to me.  I know you like more heft and range in interpretations.  I wonder if you have heard any of the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet's Haydn discs on Westminster? I like those a lot, and think they have more depth and power than other versions I have heard (although that recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am far from a specialist).
 
  Thinking about your initial criticism of the JQ, after remembering back to my first response to the Mosaiques it makes much more sense to me. Several of our members swear by the Mosaiques. but after having enjoyed the rough-and-ready rowdiness of the Buchbergers, I was initially appalled by their incredibly clean and polished playing. It struck me as beyond erudite--perfect--but somehow just by-the-numbers.  When I listen I picture them playing in a beautiful museum, with track-lighting, impeccably dressed in ties and tailored suits, with neatly trimmed van-dyke beards...and no expressions on their faces whatsoever.
  I'm very curious to hear both of those, but am allergic to paying so much for single discs of an unknown quantity. A local shop has the Tatrai, so I may give them a whirl.

 

Never enjoyed the schmaltzy and kitsch Vienna Kozerthaus (in anything.) The Haydn performances that I like tend to downplay the cheerful and consoling side to the music. I think that there was a story about Haydn's easygoing and optimistic personality promulgated after his death by his estate and by his official hagiographers, a story which has worked to damage performances of his most interesting music subsequently.

When I said that the fundamental problem with JQ was about emphasis on beauty (or something), what I meant was that there's a way of playing Haydn quartets which bring out other things at the expense of ravishing tone and impeccable ensemble. Things like tense and complex inter-voice relationships, and even strange quasi-expressionist emotions and unexpected mood swings. As I type I'm listening to a live op 20/4 from the Lindsays which is like this. I find this type of performance more rewarding to hear.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 05, 2014, 11:41:41 PM
I've been listening to their Op. 20 for dozens of hours in the past few months - I'd start there.

Thanks. You're great to know for finding this sort of thing - it's exactly the type of recording I associate with you.

I've just listened to op 20/2. Standage's wiry tone is not unattractive for me. Nor is the serious style - which I find very listenable. There's a sort of tough poetry there. The phrasing stops the slowish tempos from being turgid- reminds me of Tatrai a bit, the phrasing that is.

The dynamics may be a problem (do they ever play quietly?)

Op 20/3 sounds interesting too.

A friend of mine calls this way of doing Haydn - aggressive, serious, low on charm and sparkle- "Vampyre Haydn." The opposite of "Champagne Haydn." Brueggen started to play some excellent Vampyre Haydn. I'm glad to have found these recordings.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 06, 2014, 03:12:08 AM
I didn't even know the Salomon Quartet had recorded so much Haydn. As I recall noone at rec.music.classical.recordings ever liked the ensemble (the few who liked PI at all preferred Mosaiques or sometimes Festetics), so I didn't bother and at the time when I started to get seriously interested in this music (around 2000) they were neither cheap nor easily available.

I agree to some extent with Mandryka that it can be a very one-sided approach to stress the happy and cheerful side of Haydn. Although I also remember that I was not quite as fond of their 2nd disc I just disagree that this is a proper characterization of the Jerusalem. In the google archives there is a comparison of several interpretations the first movement of op.64/5 by Lena and she argues that the Jerusalem bring out a certain feature, a layering/building up of some motive better than many other recordings.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mookalafalas on December 06, 2014, 06:23:53 AM
I think that there was a story about Haydn's easygoing and optimistic personality promulgated after his death by his estate and by his official hagiographers, a story which has worked to damage performances of his most interesting music subsequently.

Without actually looking very hard, his friend Dies wrote that he had a "happy and naturally cheerful temperament".  Haydn himself wrote that "God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully." Maybe he was just making that up to damage his posthumous musical reputation? 
   
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 06, 2014, 09:19:05 AM
I think that there was a story about Haydn's easygoing and optimistic personality promulgated after his death by his estate and by his official hagiographers, a story which has worked to damage performances of his most interesting music subsequently.

A cursory glance at something as elementary at Schonberg's Lives of the Great Composers paints a portrait of Haydn as a genuinely genteel soul. The chapter on Haydn starts on p.81.


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 06, 2014, 09:21:27 AM
A cursory glance at something as elementary at Schonberg's Lives of the Great Composers paints a portrait of Haydn as a genuinely genteel soul. The chapter on Haydn starts on p.81.

I know.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 06, 2014, 09:24:53 AM
I didn't even know the Salomon Quartet had recorded so much Haydn. As I recall noone at rec.music.classical.recordings ever liked the ensemble (the few who liked PI at all preferred Mosaiques or sometimes Festetics), so I didn't bother and at the time when I started to get seriously interested in this music (around 2000) they were neither cheap nor easily available.

I agree to some extent with Mandryka that it can be a very one-sided approach to stress the happy and cheerful side of Haydn. Although I also remember that I was not quite as fond of their 2nd disc I just disagree that this is a proper characterization of the Jerusalem. In the google archives there is a comparison of several interpretations the first movement of op.64/5 by Lena and she argues that the Jerusalem bring out a certain feature, a layering/building up of some motive better than many other recordings.

I think the two op 20s by the Salomon quartet that I've heard are for people who have a special taste for tough performance. If you like Weinberger playing the 6 part Ricercar from Opfer you may enjoy the Salomon op 20/3.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Wakefield on December 06, 2014, 09:30:53 AM
Never enjoyed the schmaltzy and kitsch Vienna Kozerthaus (in anything.) The Haydn performances that I like tend to downplay the cheerful and consoling side to the music. I think that there was a story about Haydn's easygoing and optimistic personality promulgated after his death by his estate and by his official hagiographers, a story which has worked to damage performances of his most interesting music subsequently.

In short, you prefer your Haydn seen through the Beethoven's eyeglass lenses.  8) >:D
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 06, 2014, 09:49:43 AM
In short, you prefer your Haydn seen through the Beethoven's eyeglass lenses.  8) >:D

I think Haydn's posthumous PR machine was trying to widen the gap between Beethoven and Haydn. And Beethoven's PR machine encouraged the story.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Sammy on December 06, 2014, 10:43:57 AM
Thanks. You're great to know for finding this sort of thing - it's exactly the type of recording I associate with you.

I've just listened to op 20/2. Standage's wiry tone is not unattractive for me. Nor is the serious style - which I find very listenable. There's a sort of tough poetry there. The phrasing stops the slowish tempos from being turgid- reminds me of Tatrai a bit, the phrasing that is.

The dynamics may be a problem (do they ever play quietly?)

Op 20/3 sounds interesting too.

A friend of mine calls this way of doing Haydn - aggressive, serious, low on charm and sparkle- "Vampyre Haydn." The opposite of "Champagne Haydn." Brueggen started to play some excellent Vampyre Haydn. I'm glad to have found these recordings.

You seem to know my tastes pretty well.  For me, the Salomon Qt. is appropriately aggressive, serious and with enough charm to satisfy me.  I'm aware that compared to most listeners, I like my music serious and with minimal humor.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 06, 2014, 11:02:12 AM
A cursory glance at something as elementary at Schonberg's Lives of the Great Composers paints a portrait of Haydn as a genuinely genteel soul. The chapter on Haydn starts on p.81.

I've always said Schönberg was full of Scheiß, and this proves it. The 19th century trashed Haydn so badly, I don't believe a single thing written between his death and Donald Tovey in 1925 or so. Most of the rest is condescending bullshit. >:(

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 06, 2014, 07:58:12 PM
I've always said Schönberg was full of Scheiß, and this proves it. The 19th century trashed Haydn so badly, I don't believe a single thing written between his death and Donald Tovey in 1925 or so. Most of the rest is condescending bullshit. >:(

I'm sorry, Gurn, I'm not following this. What beef do you have with Harold C. Schonberg (no umlaut)?

What's wrong with Haydn (or anybody) being described as an equable type? And being described thusly what does this have to do with the 19th c.?

Also, Schonberg first published his book in 1970, so this would seem to fall outside of your critical zone. So why the hammer?


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mookalafalas on December 06, 2014, 08:09:25 PM
I'm sorry, Gurn, I'm not following this. What beef do you have with Harold C. Schonberg (no umlaut)?

What's wrong with Haydn (or anybody) being described as an equable type? And being described thusly what does this have to do with the 19th c.?

Also, Schonberg first published his book in 1970, so this would seem to fall outside of your critical zone. So why the hammer?

  +1.  I don't question Gurn's Hayn cred, but I was scratching my head over that post as well.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 06, 2014, 08:17:38 PM
I'm sorry, Gurn, I'm not following this. What beef do you have with Harold C. Schonberg (no umlaut)?

What's wrong with Haydn (or anybody) being described as an equable type? And being described thusly what does this have to do with the 19th c.?

Also, Schonberg first published his book in 1970, so this would seem to fall outside of your critical zone. So why the hammer?

Sorry to you and Harold; I was distracted and misread the original post.

It was a commonplace of the 19th century to describe Haydn as a sort of genial bumbler as a way to discredit him. It is an interesting subject which always pisses me off.

Sorry, Harold. :)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 07, 2014, 01:24:15 AM
The earliest Haydn biographies (Griesinger, Dies) make Haydn sound like a very well balanced kind of guy, modest, funny, kind. This is quite a contrast to the image of Beethoven touted by his image makers. I believe that the Haydn stereotype has worked to devalue his music.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Que on December 07, 2014, 03:41:44 AM
Sorry to you and Harold; I was distracted and misread the original post.

It was a commonplace of the 19th century to describe Haydn as a sort of genial bumbler as a way to discredit him. It is an interesting subject which always pisses me off.

Sorry, Harold. :)

8)

I still enjoyed your little rant... :D

Q
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 07, 2014, 06:14:51 AM
The earliest Haydn biographies (Griesinger, Dies) make Haydn sound like a very well balanced kind of guy, modest, funny, kind. This is quite a contrast to the image of Beethoven touted by his image makers. I believe that the Haydn stereotype has worked to devalue his music.

Absolutely correct. Even the term (which I never use) 'Papa Haydn' was turned from being a gesture of respect from his friends and students (such as Mozart who used it reverently) to one of belittlement. Much better to be a revolutionary god than a harmless old fogey, yes? ::)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 07, 2014, 06:15:24 AM
I still enjoyed your little rant... :D

Q

:D  Me too.

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Wakefield on December 07, 2014, 06:25:51 AM
The earliest Haydn biographies (Griesinger, Dies) make Haydn sound like a very well balanced kind of guy, modest, funny, kind. This is quite a contrast to the image of Beethoven touted by his image makers. I believe that the Haydn stereotype has worked to devalue his music.

To be honest, I don't see any drama on this description. On the contrary, I would love to be that kind of person. Obviously, when you use the word "stereotype" you're suggesting a false image; but actually, I can testify in front of any court, this kind of people exist. I have seen them, not every day, but I know some of them... and Haydn is an extraordinarily apt candidate to fit into this description. 

Bad humour is extraordinarily overrated as a sign of genius. :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 07, 2014, 06:43:23 AM
To be honest, I don't see any drama on this description. On the contrary, I would love to be that kind of person. Obviously, when you use the word "stereotype" you're suggesting a false image; but actually, I can testify in front of any court, this kind of people exist. I have seen them, not every day, but I know some of them... and Haydn is an extraordinarily apt candidate to fit into this description. 

Bad humour is extraordinarily overrated as a sign of genius. :)

Well he's not around any more, Haydn.

We know that there's all sorts of smoke and mirrors that musicians can get up to to make what they're playing sound more full of tensions, more full of complex emotions, more affectively contrasted, more turbulent etc. And we know that there's a straight way of playing Haydn where the musicians don't do this and the result is pretty level headed and well-balanced, pretty upbeat and consoling -- The Beaux Arts Trio would be a good example. As opposed to Trio 415.  I could think of examples from the quartets I'm sure -- Hagen vs Mosaiques maybe.

The reason the Beaux Arts Trio tradition of Haydn performance has been so prevalent is due, I suspect, at least in part, to the papa image presented by his early biographers -- an image encouraged in the Beethoven reception history because it makes Beethoven sound a more original, more visionary, greater, better poet. While Haydn just wrote some diverting, entertaining tunes and investigated some new forms and that sort of technical stuff. Haydn becomes only slightly more important to poetry and art than Dvorak.

By the way, if you hadn't already guessed, I like to hear the more expressive way. That's why I say the performance tradition has worked against Haydn, making him seem a shallower and more spritually irrelevant and anodyne artist than Beethoven and even Mozart (in the last 10 quartets, for example.)  But you know,  à chacun ses mauvais goûts.

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 07, 2014, 09:15:48 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".

The transfers on Enterprise, the sound's perfectly listenable. I'm listening to their op 50/6 now, The Frog. A peerless performance, you could not get further away from papa.

Haydn épate les bourgeois.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 07, 2014, 08:03:03 PM
To be honest, I don't see any drama on this description. On the contrary, I would love to be that kind of person. Obviously, when you use the word "stereotype" you're suggesting a false image; but actually, I can testify in front of any court, this kind of people exist. I have seen them, not every day, but I know some of them... and Haydn is an extraordinarily apt candidate to fit into this description. 

Bad humour is extraordinarily overrated as a sign of genius. :)

+1. Well said. :)


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 08, 2014, 02:00:00 AM
Whatever the reasons for traditional images or distorted pictures of Haydn and his music, do you really find that most or a lot of interpretations of the string quartets follow such a "prettified" or harmless funny uncle view of Haydn's music? While I can agree that there are a few that do not realize the full potential I cannot see that e.g. the Mosaiques are prettifying the music.
And I seem to remember that for me the downside of the Festetics was rather seriousness, sometimes combined with unpleasant sound and lack of brillance/lightness in movements that obviously seem to demand the latter. E.g. I found their op.54/1 which has some of the most brilliant and "outgoing" outer movements rather lackluster while they are far more successful in the "darker" op.54/2.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 08, 2014, 08:23:42 AM
Whatever the reasons for traditional images or distorted pictures of Haydn and his music, do you really find that most or a lot of interpretations of the string quartets follow such a "prettified" or harmless funny uncle view of Haydn's music? While I can agree that there are a few that do not realize the full potential I cannot see that e.g. the Mosaiques are prettifying the music.
And I seem to remember that for me the downside of the Festetics was rather seriousness, sometimes combined with unpleasant sound and lack of brillance/lightness in movements that obviously seem to demand the latter. E.g. I found their op.54/1 which has some of the most brilliant and "outgoing" outer movements rather lackluster while they are far more successful in the "darker" op.54/2.

Not pretty, but courtly, genteel. Festetics probably don't do this though, I agree.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 08, 2014, 09:34:07 AM
Not pretty, but courtly, genteel.

I fail to see how this is a hindrance to Haydn appreciation. What exactly is the argument, here?

If Haydn's performances aren't unbuttoned enough for someone that's one thing, but to say the music is being harpooned in a broader sense by "genteelness", well, that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Even so, unless a listener isn't even trying there are plenty of performances on record that don't fit into the "genteel" mould. Of the six groups I have in the quartets only the Kodaly might be considered on the "genteel" side, and even then I've seen them praised on this board by Gurn himself for their insight and high quality.

As far as I can tell the prevalence of "genteel" (in the sense that it's detrimental) quartet recordings is low. What stands out to me is the high quality of Haydn performances these days.     

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 08, 2014, 09:39:55 AM
I fail to see how this is a hindrance to Haydn appreciation. What exactly is the argument, here?

If Haydn's performances aren't unbuttoned enough for someone that's one thing, but to say the music is being harpooned in a broader sense by "genteelness", well, that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Even so, unless a listener isn't even trying there are plenty of performances on record that don't fit into the "genteel" mould. Of the six groups I have in the quartets only the Kodaly might be considered on the "genteel" side, and even then I've seen them praised on this board by Gurn himself for their insight and high quality.

As far as I can tell the prevalence of "genteel" (in the sense that it's detrimental) quartet recordings is low. What stands out to me is the high quality of Haydn performances these days.     

What about Mosaiques? Genteel in the sense of refined, polished, elegant. That sort of thing.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 08, 2014, 11:24:00 AM
I just want to point  out a set of quartets that i've started to explore and which I think is rather my cup of tea: The Eybler Quartet in op 33. I'm just posting this to see if anyone else has dipped into the set, to see if anyone else likes what they do.

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 08, 2014, 10:36:28 PM
What about Mosaiques? Genteel in the sense of refined, polished, elegant. That sort of thing.

I think they have polish of course but it's not an end in itself. I find the QM more interested in beating new pathways through the music than anything else. They conjure up more surprises in this music than any quartet I know. That's the mark of great music-making for me.

It's like being told a fanciful story by someone who has a mellifluous voice and who can word-paint like a Picasso versus having the same fanciful story belted out by a raging Mike Tyson. Each approach might have its partisans but I'll take the former any day. 
 

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 10, 2014, 10:07:14 AM
I picked up Vol 1 of the Testament transfers of the Pro Arte. I think the sound quality variable, at its best it is quite truthful, it's not a problem for me ever - I can always hear what they're doing.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 10, 2014, 10:41:27 AM
I think they have polish of course but it's not an end in itself. I find the QM more interested in beating new pathways through the music than anything else. They conjure up more surprises in this music than any quartet I know. That's the mark of great music-making for me.

What do you mean by 'surprises' and 'new pathways'?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 10, 2014, 10:46:21 PM
What do you mean by 'surprises' and 'new pathways'?

I can't really tell if you're looking for something in-depth or just a quickie description. So to spare everyone I'll just go quickie... :)

Musicians - in this case performers - come in all shapes and sizes. No secret. My preference is for performers who are more exploratory in their interpretations, who dig into the layers of the music and emphasize the details and quirks of the respective scores.

This is in contrast to performers who take a more aggressive approach and ratchet up the adrenaline. This approach has it fans obviously but I find it can actually be anti-climactic in the long run as too many highs dilute the overall tension. I prefer a good lead-in to the climaxes.

And the best lead-ins I know come from performers who know how to decorate the surroundings with all sorts of glitter/zaniness/contrasts/etc... But finding these elements isn't always a priority for some performers. Either that or they don't have the ability to actually place them (subjective).

Decorating like this is great but it wouldn't mean a thing without structure. Everything needs a place. Finding a creative foundation with which to build on is key. What that foundation is, and what type of decoration to use, is up to the performer(s).

And from here we get an interpretation...full of surprises...full of new pathways...to reach its ultimate goal. 

Dunno if this makes sense...it's late...off to bed...

 
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 11, 2014, 08:28:48 AM
I can't really tell if you're looking for something in-depth or just a quickie description. So to spare everyone I'll just go quickie... :)

Musicians - in this case performers - come in all shapes and sizes. No secret. My preference is for performers who are more exploratory in their interpretations, who dig into the layers of the music and emphasize the details and quirks of the respective scores.

This is in contrast to performers who take a more aggressive approach and ratchet up the adrenaline. This approach has it fans obviously but I find it can actually be anti-climactic in the long run as too many highs dilute the overall tension. I prefer a good lead-in to the climaxes.

And the best lead-ins I know come from performers who know how to decorate the surroundings with all sorts of glitter/zaniness/contrasts/etc... But finding these elements isn't always a priority for some performers. Either that or they don't have the ability to actually place them (subjective).

Decorating like this is great but it wouldn't mean a thing without structure. Everything needs a place. Finding a creative foundation with which to build on is key. What that foundation is, and what type of decoration to use, is up to the performer(s).

And from here we get an interpretation...full of surprises...full of new pathways...to reach its ultimate goal. 

Dunno if this makes sense...it's late...off to bed...

I would certainly appreciate an example or two of the Mosaiques doing this. Not the "good lead in" bit. I mean the surprises and pathways.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 11, 2014, 10:14:21 PM
I would certainly appreciate an example or two of the Mosaiques doing this. Not the "good lead in" bit. I mean the surprises and pathways.

Since I'm such a fan of their op.64 set I'll pick a couple of examples from there.

Op.64/1. This is an odd duck of a quartet. Each of the first three movements starts off thematically and rhythmically almost identical. So close in identity in fact that the breaks between each movement could be confused as simple false endings...something of a joke perpetrated on the inattentive, trickery to throw off the senses. 

But, no, they're real endings.

And so it goes, on into the third movement. The third movement begins perfectly in keeping with what has come before. No hiccups, no interruptions, no indication of straying from the beaten path.

That's the impression. And honestly by this point you'd be forgive for being lulled to right to sleep.

Except...right at about midpoint of the movement (3:27) a ripple in the musical fabric intrudes on the slumber. Just a ripple, though - no overthrow or usurping of the prevailing convention. Just a blip of an excursion by the first violin for a couple of measures. Then it's gone. Convention returns and the slumber resumes.

Then...at 4:02...there's another abrupt two or three measure announcement by...the cello...mirroring the first violin's earlier excursion. Once again the calm is broken by what appears to be a thematic anomaly. Totally irrational of course - considering the surroundings - but, wouldn't you know, not the least bit out of place! Then, calm again.   

Next...at 4:25...the violin slips in again and rustles the calm. What gives? Then, calm again. 4:54...the cello returns with...something resembling vigor but not quite. Finally, relative calm right up until the end of the movement...and it's over. 

Did all this "blipping the musical line" have a purpose? Not at first glance, since nothing seems to have come of it.

Enter the finale and suddenly the lights get turned on in this piece! Uncontrollable vigor, clipped phrases - where earlier such a thing would have been unthinkable - zany rhythms.......yes, wanton unpredictability becomes the norm. Like night and day this movement is from the rest of the piece.

Or is it?

Did we not get a glimpse of this movement starting at that 3:27 mark of the preceding movement? At the point where the first violin first peeked through the oppressive calm? Indeed we did.

With this revelation the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place with this work. It would seem, in the preceding third movement, that the first violin played antagonist against the calm for a single purpose: to give notice that something was about to follow. Not to give away any secrets, only to herald...something as yet unknown.

With the cello later adding its voice to the first violin in that movement, a doubling of antagonists could only mean one thing: there's something afoot. 

It's a perfectly played setup to foreshadow the unpredictability - and overall impressiveness - of that next and final movement. It's a stroke of genius by Haydn, perfectly in keeping with his penchant for surprises.

What I wonder though is just how many quartet ensembles encountering/performing this piece would be able to pick out such über subtleties in what appears to be barren, repetitive, "conventional" musical writing?

The way I see it, not many. A quartet ensemble without a natural inclination for probing for the subtleties of a score might not pay much heed at all to what is essentially heightened "micro-management" playing out in the scope of only a few bars.

And the further the ensemble is from the "micromanagement" type it follows then the further removed they are from reacting to such subtleties. The "adrenaline-type" ensembles, well, they'd probably fly right over such detail (no doubt without worry :)).

I suppose it could be argued that micromanagement of this sort isn't essential for the understanding of a piece such as this. I'd argue otherwise. To be deprived of the "build up", the "foreshadowing" of the last part of the third movement is to miss out entirely on a very important facet of this work: "empty" preamble (the first 3/4ths of the work) can and does have a purpose!! I feel I would be much the poorer without this insight into the mindset of Herr Haydn. 

Anyway, this is just my impression. Please no flaming. :)

It's late so I'll get to my second example soon.



 
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 12, 2014, 11:09:37 AM
My impression is that the moment at 3'27 in iii is no less clear in Caspar da Salo than with Mosaiques. Neither do I think that the contrast between iii and i, ii and iv is more pronounced with Mosaiques.

Why do you like op 64 so much?  Apart from op 64/6 and the ubiquitous Lark I've not given it much attention.

The Lark was the source of inspiration for Finnissy's second quartet you know.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Sammy on December 12, 2014, 01:40:25 PM
Why do you like op 64 so much?  Apart from op 64/6 and the ubiquitous Lark I've not given it much attention.

That surprises me.  I think all of Haydn's string quartets are wonderful and each deserves about equal attention.  Just one man's opinion. :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 12, 2014, 05:07:06 PM
My impression is that the moment at 3'27 in iii is no less clear in Caspar da Salo than with Mosaiques. Neither do I think that the contrast between iii and i, ii and iv is more pronounced with Mosaiques.

Well, you asked. It's not my job to make you happy.

Quote
Why do you like op 64 so much?  Apart from op 64/6 and the ubiquitous Lark I've not given it much attention.

Why shouldn't I like them?

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 12, 2014, 10:03:29 PM
Well, you asked. It's not my job to make you happy.


Oh but you do!

The question was whether the Mosaiques reveal new pathways etc. Derr.

That surprises me.  I think all of Haydn's string quartets are wonderful and each deserves about equal attention.  Just one man's opinion. :)

I'm less enthusiastic about Haydn than that.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 13, 2014, 03:39:57 AM
op.64,1 is an extremely witty piece. As Divertimentian pointed out, the first three movements start with very similar motives, there are hardly even contrast in tempo. The first movement has a fascination reprise/coda with a long section like a second development into the "flat" (A flat major, I think) region that achieves almost romantic sonorities. And the finale is just a fun ride.

I'd say one would underestimate some of Haydn's achievements if one rated op.1 as highly as op.9 and op.9 as highly as op.33. Although even the early divertimenti have some very enjoyable music and certainly op.9 and 17 are worthy of attention (to me this dozen is far more interesting than e.g. most early Mozart and Schubert).

op.64 is for me a rather "classical", relaxed opus. Not as densely concentrated as op.33 and 50 or as experimental and adventurous as op.54/55. But I like it a lot, e.g. the wonderful slow movement of the b minor quartet and the infectious first movement of the B flat major.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: 71 dB on May 25, 2017, 01:42:04 AM
I have never been a Haydn fanatic and never much explored the string quartets. Now I revisited what I have and to my surprise, I actually prefer Op. 64 by Kodaly to Op. 76 by Mosaïques. Kodaly sounds wonderfully warm compared to Mosaïques. You may say Kodaly is relaxed and slow and what not but so what? As if that can't be enjoyable?  0:)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on May 25, 2017, 03:38:11 AM
I have never been a Haydn fanatic and never much explored the string quartets. Now I revisited what I have and to my surprise, I actually prefer Op. 64 by Kodaly to Op. 76 by Mosaïques. Kodaly sounds wonderfully warm compared to Mosaïques. You may say Kodaly is relaxed and slow and what not but so what? As if that can't be enjoyable?  0:)

I started out with Kodaly's set and still enjoy them today. The whole point of having a different voice is that there is no such thing as a right voice. So if you enjoy their sound and style, then this is the right recording for you. Most importantly, Opus 64 is the peak of pure Viennese quartets. Haydn's style changed after that, but in 1789-90 he was pure Vienna Classical. Enjoy them!  :)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 25, 2017, 03:44:15 AM
I have never been a Haydn fanatic [...]

That could change, though  8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 25, 2017, 03:47:51 AM
I started out with Kodaly's set and still enjoy them today. The whole point of having a different voice is that there is no such thing as a right voice. So if you enjoy their sound and style, then this is the right recording for you. Most importantly, Opus 64 is the peak of pure Viennese quartets. Haydn's style changed after that, but in 1789-90 he was pure Vienna Classical. Enjoy them!  :)

8)
I've come to the conclusion, for group chamber pieces, that style and sound are the determinant for me. Of course, the playing has to be up to a certain level, but most of the top quartets (to stay relevant to this topic) meet that requirement, which includes most of the recorded repertoire as well. I don't think I can say the same about other genres within classical music (at least not as consistently as with chamber). And I'm not sure how applicable it is to other composers, but with Haydn it seems to be the absolute key moment.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on May 25, 2017, 05:35:29 AM
I've come to the conclusion, for group chamber pieces, that style and sound are the determinant for me. Of course, the playing has to be up to a certain level, but most of the top quartets (to stay relevant to this topic) meet that requirement, which includes most of the recorded repertoire as well. I don't think I can say the same about other genres within classical music (at least not as consistently as with chamber). And I'm not sure how applicable it is to other composers, but with Haydn it seems to be the absolute key moment.

Me too. That's why my preference is for the Festetics. who are loved by some and deplored by thousands. The sound and style are just what I want. In a very competitive recordings market, I can't see any company publishing a quartet group that can't play the music, so yes, as you say, most top groups meet that criterion.  :)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: George on August 24, 2017, 08:16:03 AM
Has anyone compared the sound on the old Pro Arte Testament CDs with the new Warner set?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51IGmvrR1PL.jpg)(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81C50-UsauL._SL500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 04, 2021, 06:25:59 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 9 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


I have been aware of this set and of its reputation for quite some time. Many people have spoken highly of it. I have only recently acquired the set and Op. 9 is my recent introduction into it.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 04, 2021, 06:38:33 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 9 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


I have been aware of this set and of its reputation for quite some time. Many people have spoken highly of it. I have only recently acquired the set and Op. 9 is my recent introduction into it.


Plunge right in!
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: George on September 04, 2021, 07:30:58 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 9 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


I have been aware of this set and of its reputation for quite some time. Many people have spoken highly of it. I have only recently acquired the set and Op. 9 is my recent introduction into it.

Congrats!!

I found a used copy myself a few years back and was so excited. Listening to it, I was even more excited. It's a tremendous set!
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 18, 2021, 03:49:02 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 17 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


My initial impression of this cycle thus far based on both Opp. 9 & 17 is that the presentations are rather on the robust side; not quite overtly forceful but certainly on the more assertive side. The music, however, is always engaging and the recorded sound is superlative if a bit on the forward side. Op. 17 No. 6 is a particularly engaging work.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 18, 2021, 04:17:45 PM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 17 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


My initial impression of this cycle thus far based on both Opp. 9 & 17 is that the presentations are rather on the robust side; not quite overtly forceful but certainly on the more assertive side. The music, however, is always engaging and the recorded sound is superlative if a bit on the forward side. Op. 17 No. 6 is a particularly engaging work.

That seems very fair to me. Another aspect which I really enjoy is the element of playfulness present in the earlier opera. It has been asserted that since all the early ones were not written for a purpose than Haydn's own use, he played them with his friends on their off-time. I get this feeling from the Festetics rather more than any other I've heard. Curious if you get that feeling too.  🧐

🤠😎
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 19, 2021, 12:58:55 AM
That seems very fair to me. Another aspect which I really enjoy is the element of playfulness present in the earlier opera. It has been asserted that since all the early ones were not written for a purpose than Haydn's own use, he played them with his friends on their off-time. I get this feeling from the Festetics rather more than any other I've heard. Curious if you get that feeling too.  🧐

🤠😎

I did not notice that aspect, to be honest.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 19, 2021, 04:53:33 AM
I think I agree with the description of Festetics being assertive.  Nothing about their recordings sound playful or casual IMO.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 19, 2021, 07:21:11 AM
I think I agree with the description of Festetics being assertive.  Nothing about their recordings sound playful or casual IMO.

Like Gurn, I hear a congenial, conversational mood. Which does not mean it isn't expressive and articulated.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on September 19, 2021, 09:02:54 AM
Like Gurn, I hear a congenial, conversational mood. Which does not mean it isn't expressive and articulated.

As far as I remember I’ve only listened to their op 50. My biggest beef is that they are not vivacious and alert and charming, they are the opposite of those things in fact.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 19, 2021, 09:12:35 AM
I thought there was the hypothesis that these quartets (opp. 9+17) might have been written for a quartet formed by musicians at the Esterhazy court, led by the virtuoso Tomasini, therefore the often quite demanding writing for the 1st violin (compared to the rest). So it would not have been private but court music like the symphonies of that time.

I'd describe the Festetics as "rustic"and often quite relaxed, sometimes also a bit serious. Elegant or charming they certainly are not.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 19, 2021, 01:23:30 PM
I thought there was the hypothesis that these quartets (opp. 9+17) might have been written for a quartet formed by musicians at the Esterhazy court, led by the virtuoso Tomasini, therefore the often quite demanding writing for the 1st violin (compared to the rest). So it would not have been private but court music like the symphonies of that time.

I'd describe the Festetics as "rustic"and often quite relaxed, sometimes also a bit serious. Elegant or charming they certainly are not.

No. not court music. In all the years Haydn worked for Esterházy, there is not a single mention in the extensive archives of string quartets (by any of the names they used for them a the time) being requested or played by or for the Prince. At the time of Opus 9-20 (1768-72), for example, official chamber music was 100% baryton music, mainly trios. But the string quartets were being used as 'workshop' pieces by Haydn as he was developing new rhythmic and harmonic schemes. The likelihood that they were being played by members of the orchestra is no great stretch, they were the only musicians around, and people like Luigi Tomasini and Joseph Weigl on cello were also Haydn's best friends, so their presence is both unavoidable and in fact, nearly mandatory. He was also prohibited by contract from selling them, so that possibility is off the table too. 

I agree with your assessment of the Festetics, in fact this is the factor which originally won me over. I would further point out that you should listen to their late Mozart if you haven't; it doesn't sound like their early Haydn.

Like Gurn, I hear a congenial, conversational mood. Which does not mean it isn't expressive and articulated.
As far as I remember I’ve only listened to their op 50. My biggest beef is that they are not vivacious and alert and charming, they are the opposite of those things in fact.

In the 3 early opuses they do, I think the big thing is an avoidance of sounding like a recital, which IMO is a disaster in Haydn and the primary reason I have rejected so many other recordings of all of the quartets over the years. You feel like you can hear the musicians thinking "OMG, it's Haydn, I can't screw up". Given the quality of the musicians (most likely) playing the originals, it's probably true that there were very few screwups, but if one of them did, I would wager it was cause for no more than a few chuckles all around, none more than from Haydn.


is a very fine look at the quartet in its native context. There are now a few places online where you can find it at no cost, even! Worth your while.  :)

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 19, 2021, 01:28:25 PM
No. not court music. In all the years Haydn worked for Esterházy, there is not a single mention in the extensive archives of string quartets (by any of the names they used for them a the time) being requested or played by or for the Prince. At the time of Opus 9-20 (1768-72), for example, official chamber music was 100% baryton music, mainly trios. But the string quartets were being used as 'workshop' pieces by Haydn as he was developing new rhythmic and harmonic schemes. The likelihood that they were being played by members of the orchestra is no great stretch, they were the only musicians around, and people like Luigi Tomasini and Joseph Weigl on cello were also Haydn's best friends, so their presence is both unavoidable and in fact, nearly mandatory. He was also prohibited by contract from selling them, so that possibility is off the table too. 


Very interesting and informative comments.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on September 19, 2021, 01:33:03 PM
Whenever I think of Festetics' cycle it's one of "perfect balance", I do hear the qualities that Gurn and Que speak of as well. I mainly use that description of balance as the Mosaiques which comprise the other recordings that I really like can be a bit too fleeting.

Anyway for something really different from Festetics and Mosaiques one of my favorite discoveries was Schneider Quartet: https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,30189.40.html

Stylistically more like Vegh or Budapest rather than modern.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2021, 04:33:55 AM
Mosaiques and Festetics don't sound similar in their approach to me at all.  Mosaiques sounds much more refined and elegant.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 20, 2021, 06:35:39 AM
The Mosaiques are more refined but like the Festetics are also often rather slow (in fast movements, both are often rather fleet in slow movements, I guess this is also a HIP thing) and overlap in having a certain warm "earthy" sound. (The trios with Cohen and 1/2 quatuor Mosaiques are even slower and warmer).
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Spotted Horses on September 20, 2021, 07:25:36 AM
My exposure to the Mosaiques has given the impression that their style is mild and precious, compared to the more outgoing, energetic Festetics. With regard to Haydn, I can't recall a recording of a Haydn string quartet that I found unacceptable. Nowadays I tend to alternate between the Festetetics and the Aeolian, which are not that dissimilar despite being HIP/PI and non-HIP/PI.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 20, 2021, 07:44:14 AM
Mosaiques and Festetics don't sound similar in their approach to me at all.  Mosaiques sounds much more refined and elegant.
Indeed. But the Festetics sounds jovial, rural and bucolic, qualities I associate with Haydn, and make me feel that this is the way Haydn would have performed and enjoyed them. I'm very glad both approaches are available.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 20, 2021, 08:00:49 AM
Indeed. But the Festetics sounds jovial, rural and bucolic, qualities I associate with Haydn, and make me feel that this is the way Haydn would have performed and enjoyed them. I'm very glad both approaches are available.

Those are all good words, I wish I had used some of them. :) As is Jo's 'rustic'. To say I prefer that style in Haydn because I believe it is more appropriate for his music doesn't mean I don't like the Mosaiques, I just think the perfection (as I think of it) which they espouse is not usually what I want to hear, at least in the early works.  This was a mistake which I think the LHQ made when they began their cycle. Their Op. 9 sounded like four people in starched tuxedos on stage playing the recital of their lives, thankfully they learned to lighten up down the road!

🤠😎
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 20, 2021, 08:17:17 AM
My quartet collection was already too saturated when the LHQ came around, 10 years earlier I'd probably have snapped them. Then they apparently had for op.9+17 the idea to play the "moderato" first movements really slowly whereas Festetics understood them more as leisurely (allegro) moderato, i.e. a bit relaxed but moving along and some other ensembles played them even faster, hardly different from normal Allegros, so I could not be bothered. Neither have I heard the older recordings with the Salomon Q on Hyperion.
My favorite HIP quartet Haydn are probably the anthologies with the Schuppanzigh Q (and Mosaiques opp. 76+77) but I find the Festetics certainly worthwhile and for op.9,17,50 better.
I never heard the Festetics in op.33,42,51,76,77, got rid of their op.20 in favor of Mosaiques and find op.54,55,64 a bit mixed (partly because I wish for more brilliance and elegance in some of op.54 and 64), don't remember much about op.71/74. (I collected them piecemeal ca. 2000-2009)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2021, 10:25:55 AM
Indeed. But the Festetics sounds jovial, rural and bucolic, qualities I associate with Haydn, and make me feel that this is the way Haydn would have performed and enjoyed them. I'm very glad both approaches are available.

Yes that is exactly how I hear them!
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2021, 10:27:34 AM
My quartet collection was already too saturated when the LHQ came around, 10 years earlier I'd probably have snapped them. Then they apparently had for op.9+17 the idea to play the "moderato" first movements really slowly whereas Festetics understood them more as leisurely (allegro) moderato, i.e. a bit relaxed but moving along and some other ensembles played them even faster, hardly different from normal Allegros, so I could not be bothered. Neither have I heard the older recordings with the Salomon Q on Hyperion.
My favorite HIP quartet Haydn are probably the anthologies with the Schuppanzigh Q (and Mosaiques opp. 76+77) but I find the Festetics certainly worthwhile and for op.9,17,50 better.
I never heard the Festetics in op.33,42,51,76,77, got rid of their op.20 in favor of Mosaiques and find op.54,55,64 a bit mixed (partly because I wish for more brilliance and elegance in some of op.54 and 64), don't remember much about op.71/74. (I collected them piecemeal ca. 2000-2009)

No London Haydn Quartet?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 20, 2021, 10:51:39 AM
As I said in the first sentence you quoted, I was already pretty much finished with collecting Haydn quartets when the LHQ started appearing and I didn't much like the samples of their first two or so volumes, so I never bothered with them.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2021, 01:22:21 PM
Okay, I didn't know what you were talking about since you used an acronym.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on September 20, 2021, 02:33:36 PM
Mosaiques and Festetics don't sound similar in their approach to me at all.  Mosaiques sounds much more refined and elegant.

Re-read my post, I never said they are similar in approach at all. They are both HIP and Schneider are not, that is where the similarities end and why I categorized them as people are often looking for either informed style or not.

I think Mosaiques' more "refined" sound work quite well in Haydn, it works far better here than in their late Beethoven quartets (still, I would love to have some period group complete a cycle). The cycle comes across as "Haydn light" in terms of phrasing, which I have no problem with. As I say in my post I still regard the cycle quite highly and among larger cycles, even if incomplete my ranking in terms of interpretation would be in descending order Festetics, Auryn, Mosaiques and Schneider. The last two roughly equal and more dependent on mood or opus number.

I might look to explore Leipzig's cycle but like Jo498 I feel like I've got an excellent survey of the various styles. Now if Petersen Quartett released more volumes I'd snap up all of them.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Daverz on September 20, 2021, 06:05:28 PM
Okay, I didn't know what you were talking about since you used an acronym.

LHQ = London Haydn Quartet

https://londonhaydnquartet.co.uk/
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 20, 2021, 10:47:42 PM
I kept the acronym from Gurn's post above. Although it looks a bit like Large Hadron Quollider. ;)

The Petersen Q. has not been in existence for several years (I think their last recordings are from around 2007, Franck and Shostakovich?, before Weigle left for the Artemis, and they had gone through some personnel changes on Vl. 2 and 'cello before that).
There was some kind of re-launch with the original Primaria, Ulrike Petersen, who had given them their name but is only on a few of their earliest recordings aroun 1990 and then left for family reasons, I think, but this apparently did not last very long and no recordings were made, I think. So there is only the op.1 that is not even counted among the quartets anymore in the new edition (it puts op.1+2 separate as "early divertimenti").
As the Leipzig SQ are expensive single issues, I am in no hurry.

The last Haydn recording I really wanted to get in proper form was the Juilliard's op.54 I finally got in their box with other 1960s recordings.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on September 21, 2021, 11:47:29 AM
I kept the acronym from Gurn's post above. Although it looks a bit like Large Hadron Quollider. ;)

The Petersen Q. has not been in existence for several years (I think their last recordings are from around 2007, Franck and Shostakovich?, before Weigle left for the Artemis, and they had gone through some personnel changes on Vl. 2 and 'cello before that).
There was some kind of re-launch with the original Primaria, Ulrike Petersen, who had given them their name but is only on a few of their earliest recordings aroun 1990 and then left for family reasons, I think, but this apparently did not last very long and no recordings were made, I think. So there is only the op.1 that is not even counted among the quartets anymore in the new edition (it puts op.1+2 separate as "early divertimenti").
As the Leipzig SQ are expensive single issues, I am in no hurry.

The last Haydn recording I really wanted to get in proper form was the Juilliard's op.54 I finally got in their box with other 1960s recordings.

I assumed Leipzig would have one of those usual budget MDG box sets but it appears like they aren't, consider me not in a hurry either then :) After sampling Auryn then promptly shelling out a not insignificant amount of money for all the volumes I don't think I could do that again. Petersen are quite special in Op. 1.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 21, 2021, 12:41:29 PM
Yes, they get as much out of op.1 as possible. op.1/3 with the "violin duet/echo" slow first movement is a piece I quite like. Except for op.1+2 and 42 I have at least three recordings of every Haydn quartet, of many five or more; almost 100 CDs altogether. It's enough for now.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 21, 2021, 09:55:17 PM
[...]
My favorite HIP quartet Haydn are probably the anthologies with the Schuppanzigh Q (and Mosaiques opp. 76+77) but I find the Festetics certainly worthwhile and for op.9,17,50 better.

Next to the Festetics my other favourite is the Schuppanzigh Qt, hat tip Gurn.
Perhaps cliché, but comparing their styles as Hungarian vs more mainstream Austro-German gives a fair idea. The Schuppanzigh unfortunately decided on an anthology instead of a complete cycle, and their recordings receive less attention than they deserve. The Mosaiques and the Londoners came first, and the OOP Festetics recordings were largely unknown until the complete set appeared.
I have hopes for a complete LvB cycle by the Schuppanzigh Qt!
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 21, 2021, 10:29:42 PM
No, the London Haydn is the latest of all.
Disregarding Collegium Aureum Quartet on LP I think the earliest HIP Haydn quartets were Salomon/Hyperion, Smithson/hm and some others, probably also Festetics/hungaroton.

Festetics had  few recordings already on hungaroton/harmonia mundi (I think op.9 and 64) before their Arcana recordings. I think the problem was that the founder/director of Arcana, Michel Bernstein, died 2006, so some of their recordings were not well distributed for some time (I actually grabbed two or three volumes cheaply around that time, but the apparently were leftovers). But ~2009 they reappeared (I bought another volume then)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Bernstein

Mosaiques was better distributed most of the time (not always, they were also on an earlier label of Bernstein's, Astree, and many of theirs are rare now as well, I think).

The problem with anthologies is also that they tend towards having mostly the same subset of pieces, I didn't get one volume of the Schuppanzigh because I didn't want another "Lark" quartet.

Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 22, 2021, 03:02:10 AM
Next to the Festetics my other favourite is the Schuppanzigh Qt, hat tip Gurn.

I'll have to give Schuppanzigh's Haydn a try then.  I also notice that they have also recorded Ries' string quartets.  I think I'll queue up one of those albums as well.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 22, 2021, 05:24:06 AM
I am of mixed feelings about anthologies. Some of my favorite performances are that way, but it's always been so traditional to listen to cycles and ones expectations lead that way. The one downside is, as Jo points out, there are some works that seem to show up in every series. Besides The Lark, Op 9#4 and The Rider are popular. In addition to the Schuppanzigh's, the Smithsons, and especially the Amsterdam Quartet are both quite satisfying.

🤠😎
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on September 22, 2021, 11:55:54 AM


Festetics had  few recordings already on hungaroton/harmonia mundi (I think op.9 and 64) before their Arcana recordings. I think the problem was that the founder/director of Arcana, Michel Bernstein, died 2006, so some of their recordings were not well distributed for some time (I actually grabbed two or three volumes cheaply around that time, but the apparently were leftovers). But ~2009 they reappeared (I bought another volume then)

Festetics also made an exceptional recording of Op. 51 Seven Last Words of Christ on Harmonia Mundi France. Among the roughly half dozen I've heard it's the most beautiful performance. I neglected this work for too long, the string quartet version is now one of my favorites from Haydn.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 22, 2021, 12:23:52 PM
I think the 7 LW were introuvable when I got the other (Arcana) Festetics issues, so I went with the Mosaiques in that case and I also have the Cherubini and the Amadeus Q. While it is a fascinating and unique work, it's not even the original version of that piece, and I never quite understood why it seems to be more often recorded than most real Haydn quartets and the original orchestral version.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on September 22, 2021, 12:51:20 PM
I think the 7 LW were introuvable when I got the other (Arcana) Festetics issues, so I went with the Mosaiques in that case and I also have the Cherubini and the Amadeus Q. While it is a fascinating and unique work, it's not even the original version of that piece, and I never quite understood why it seems to be more often recorded than most real Haydn quartets and the original orchestral version.

I would rank them as orchestral, string quartet and a very distant third the piano. I never bothered to hear it up until more recently; as you say not the original version, struck me as just a purely monetary commission (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and rarely do I hear string quartet reductions that are that interesting.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 22, 2021, 01:06:08 PM
I think the 7 LW were introuvable when I got the other (Arcana) Festetics issues, so I went with the Mosaiques in that case and I also have the Cherubini and the Amadeus Q. While it is a fascinating and unique work, it's not even the original version of that piece, and I never quite understood why it seems to be more often recorded than most real Haydn quartets and the original orchestral version.

Well, to be clear, the original version is by far my favorite, I prefer the Savall above all.

The Festetics on HM (Quintana) really is among the finest versions of this 7 part suite for string quartet. I was very pleased to be able to finally find a used copy a couple of years ago. As far as its popularity goes, it is true, it is the most played version of this work. I recall Landon speculating that it was easier to get a string quartet together than a chamber orchestra for private performances, which were really the far larger proportion of performances in those days. In point of fact, Haydn played it in  a quartet while he was in London. I can provide details if anyone wants them.

What I find irritating is that Hoboken created an entire section for "Works on or about the 7 Last Words', then he took up 7 spaces in Hob. III (50-56) putting this work there instead of in Hob XX. What was the point of that, I wonder? 

On the same line, I would love it if some of the more astute people here would take a quick look at this essay and tell me if you have ever run across any proof one way or the other on the premise I present here. It's self-explanatory.

7 Last Words for Keyboard (https://www.fjhaydn.com/my-blog/2015/06/1787-the-music-part-5-.html)

Just so you know, I don't mind being proved wrong, but just saying 'Landon says so...' isn't going to do it for me. He says so without a shred of documentary evidence, as you will see. But there may be something recent that I missed, especially if it's only in German, as so may things are.

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 22, 2021, 01:14:01 PM
I would rank them as orchestral, string quartet and a very distant third the piano. I never bothered to hear it up until more recently; as you say not the original version, struck me as just a purely monetary commission (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and rarely do I hear string quartet reductions that are that interesting.

The original of the 7 Last Words was bought and paid for by the monks in Spain, so Haydn couldn't sell it to Artaria for a while, as he wanted to do. But it had been played in Vienna before being sent off, and attracted enough attention that Artaria commissioned Haydn to write a quartet reduction for publication, which he promptly did. So yes, it was a monetary commission, although I would say 'well, that's what they were doing it for!'. So was the keyboard reduction. :)

I personally have enjoyed all 4 versions many times over. The chamber orchestra version is clearly my favorite, but that gives me no reason at all to dislike the others: the music is the music, no matter what it's played on. Although if you do want to come close to disliking it, listen to the keyboard reduction played on organ! :o :o

8)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 23, 2021, 02:02:53 AM
As for the piano score, it is not explicit that Haydn did not write it. But to me it also sounds more like as if someone else prepared it and Haydn reviewed the proofs and complimented Artaria who supposedly had organized the arrangement. What I take to be your interpretation that Haydn compliments them *only* on the engraving quality (and not on the quality of the setting for piano), is of course also possible but does not seem to me a more natural reading than the other possibility. I don't think the question who made the piano version can be decided on the basis of these letters.

Anyway, I am still quite surprised that apparenly both in the late 1780s and today a strange, unique and very long piece like the 7 Last Words seems to be one of Haydn's most popular.


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Brian on September 24, 2021, 10:32:28 AM
Alpha's Haydn series will soon be recording Vol. 15:
Kammerorchester Basel
Giovanni Antonini, Dirigent
Christian Tetzlaff, Violine

Joseph Haydn:
Sinfonie Nr. 62 in D-Dur
Konzert für Violine und Streicher A-Dur
Pause
Sinfonie Nr. 50 in C-Dur «Der Götterrath»
Sinfonie Nr. 85 in B-Dur «La Reine»

A concert photo in the announcement email shows that the violin and viola players are forced to stand up during the concert presentations of these programs. I hope they all have really good shoes.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 25, 2021, 05:17:04 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 20 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


These are, once again, robust presentations; very up front and uncompromising and consistent with the presentations of opp. 9 & 17 so far in this cycle.

I had a feeling of disquiet thus far, in the face of the reputation of this ensemble in this music. I feel a lack of empathy with the sensitivity of the nature of this music. When I think of early Classical era music I think of charm, poise, grace and refinement. This was not my overriding impression thus far from these presentations. They did strike me as being too heavy handed in their presentation; the music making was, for me, simply too big for this era of music. I am not doubting for one minute the veracity, integrity or the musical credentials of the Festetics Quartet. They are obviously wonderful instrumentalists, but I did wonder about their sensitivity to and interpretation and presentation of this specific music. It has to do with delicacy of touch, interpretation and presentation. It feels to me like this music is being presented as though it is early Romantic music, which, of course, it is not. The presentation style reminds me of the Takacs Quartet. If you like your Haydn string quartets to be performed in an assertive and robust manner then this is definitely the set for you. I much prefer a more genteel and poised approach to this music.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on September 25, 2021, 05:18:14 AM
I am coming late to this conversation but I have been very interested in the conversation that has preceded my post above. One of the interesting adjectives that I have picked up on was bucolic. I must be honest, this description of Haydn’s music had never occurred to me. I understand where it is coming from but I will certainly have to contemplate it. There is a dissertation there somewhere; Haydn early string quartets - bucolic or genteel? This questions some of my long held conceptions of this music. Taking the Classical Musical Snobbery out of it, why not?
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aukhawk on September 29, 2021, 12:44:43 AM
I particularly like the Chiaroscuros for Op.20.  They often get overlooked here because of the GMG liking for 'cycles'.  I wouldn't describe them as either genteel or bucolic, but possibly leaning more toward the latter than the former.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 29, 2021, 01:39:23 AM
I much prefer a more genteel and poised approach to this music.
You are welcome to that of course, but I feel quite strongly that you are mistaking Haydn for Mozart. I never felt they had much in common except for living at the same time.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 29, 2021, 01:58:40 AM
Of course they are individual differences but Haydn and Mozart are still stylistically close, because of their common cultural and musical background but also because of mutual influence. One might find minor German/Austrian composer closer to one of them than they are to each other but Haydn and Mozart are closer to each other than either to contemporary like Boccherini or a composer a generation older like CPE Bach.
Taking a completely superficial feature: In their mature string quartets neither Haydn or Mozart wrote a quartet with 2 or  3 movements, both of which are common among their contemporaries. Neither did they write concertante quartets etc.

Although I love several of the "rougher" sections in Haydn (like the "bagpipe" trio in symphony 88 or maybe also the stomping trio in op.76/2) I think that some reviews or commentaries have exaggerated the "rustic" flavor of some of his music. The bucolic element is mostly as artificial and "courtly" as the contemporary visual art was, I believe. (Rosen ones writes that Marie Antoinette could be "a la campagne" at the Trianon.)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 29, 2021, 03:31:28 AM
I'll have to give Schuppanzigh's Haydn a try then. 

BTW I do like what I heard but I might have been ecstatic that it was evidence that my stereo survived the move intact! :laugh:
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 30, 2021, 11:45:06 PM
You are welcome to that of course, but I feel quite strongly that you are mistaking Haydn for Mozart. I never felt they had much in common except for living at the same time.

I agree. Whatever the musicologal similarities, quite different (musical) personalities.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Spotted Horses on October 01, 2021, 06:40:18 AM
There is a dissertation there somewhere; Haydn early string quartets - bucolic or genteel? This questions some of my long held conceptions of this music. Taking the Classical Musical Snobbery out of it, why not?

Bucolic or genteel is a dichotomy? I like HIP and PI performance, not because they are "authentic" but because they tend to blow the cobwebs off the ears and allows me to hear things fresh. I think Harnoncourt said somewhere that when he was developing his Mozart style with the Concertgebouw that he was not trying to reproduce an 18th century performance, but that he was trying to make a performance that would speak strongly to modern audiences.

In any case, I enjoy the festetics because the period instruments tend to bring out the texture of the music, and they have a spirited style of performance that I am attracted to.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 02, 2021, 12:35:49 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 33 Nos. 1-6 and Op. 42 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


The Festetics Quartet are playing all of the notes very well but, once again, I am simply not engaged in their performances because of their interpretive and presentational approach to the music. It is just not working for me. I am progressively finding that the listening sessions are fatiguing for me which is definitely not what Haydn’s music should be about.

To be fair, I have enjoyed Op. 42 more than anything else that I have heard thus far in this set. The recorded sound seemed less obtrusive and the music seemed to be played with a lighter touch; perhaps a portent of things to come.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 02, 2021, 12:36:36 AM
but I feel quite strongly that you are mistaking Haydn for Mozart.

You are wrong.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on October 02, 2021, 03:36:33 AM
Aligreto if you wish you had PI recordings that you can enjoy more I would suggest Mosaiques and the London Haydn.

If you wish to have excellent all around recordings no matter the instruments used I suggest Auryn or Angeles.

I'm saying this because you don't seem thrilled with your recent purchase.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 02, 2021, 06:19:14 AM
Aligreto if you wish you had PI recordings that you can enjoy more I would suggest Mosaiques and the London Haydn.

If you wish to have excellent all around recordings no matter the instruments used I suggest Auryn or Angeles.

I'm saying this because you don't seem thrilled with your recent purchase.

Thank you very much for those recommendations. I am, in fact, a very keen PI instruments listener and I do own the Mosaiques in this music. This is, perhaps, somewhat the problem and I am making a direct comparison between them and the Festetics. This is perhaps unfair but it is inevitable. As I have stated already my issue is not with the quality of the playing by the Festetics; they are obviously very good. It is the presentation of the music that I have not taken to thus far. I am keen to see if the later quartets are handled any differently having felt a difference in Op. 42. Just in case people feel that this is an anti-Festetics gripe, it is not. I am merely saying that the approach has not engaged me, and why not.

BTW I have always wondered about the Angeles.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 09, 2021, 03:32:13 AM
Forever the optimist I have persisted with the cycle and moved on to String Quartets, Op. 50 Nos. 1-6


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


I have, thus far, up to and including Op. 42, found these performances to be somewhat dry, uninspired and routine in terms of the presentation and interpretation of this music. I have tried to account for the bucolic here also but I did not experience it. Otherwise, the musicianship was technically excellent.

However, with Op. 42 things appeared to change. I found as I listened to Op. 50, Nos. 1 & 2 that this seed change was becoming consistent. The recorded sound had become less intense and obtrusive on some occasions and the musical interpretations and music making certainly appeared more sensitive to the music to my ear in a lot of places. However, I found Op. 50 No. 3, reverting to original type. The final movement of Op.50/3 was an exhilarating performance. Op. 50 No. 4 was very different again, sonically. The acoustic, throughout, sounded very dry and harsh but the performance was sparkling. I am not liking the presentation of Op. 50 No. 5 again for sonic reasons. The playing is undoubtedly excellent as is the pacing but I find the recorded sound to be too harsh, even strident. The music, however, is superlative. Unfortunately, Op. 50 No. 6 fares no better. The sound is consistently harsh with an attempt to compensate for the very dry acoustic with reverberation. Such fixes simply do not work. Listening to Op. 50 was a bit of a mixed bag.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on October 09, 2021, 04:12:44 AM
I have heard op.9, 17, 20, 50, 54/55, 64 and 71/74 with the Festetics. I gave away their op.20 in favor of the Mosaiques. My favorite of theirs is probably op.50 and some of op.9, 17 and 55. I was never bothered by the recorded sound that seems quite good to me throughout (but I am only rarely picky about recorded sound). It's been too long that I heard op.71/74 but I used to find some of the more brilliant pieces of opp.54 and 64 (like 54/1 or the "Lark") too earthbound. Generally, I think they are good in slow as well as "earthy", rustic movements.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 09, 2021, 05:05:49 AM
Those are interesting comments and perhaps answer a question of mine about these presentations other than the sound. Your concept of the performances being too earthbound rings true for me. I do not find these presentations to be inspiring; there is no evident spark to illuminate this music for me thus far. But that is just to my humble ear. I was hoping that, as the music evolved in the later works, this style of presentation will suit this later music more appropriately.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 13, 2021, 02:14:32 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 54 Nos. 1-3 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


Op. 54 was more what I was looking forward to as the music moved along chronologically. The robust playing and the very forward presentation of the recording better suit the more mature music, to my ear. The presentation sounds less bombastic and more invigorating and engaging for me in these works. The music making also sounds more vital. I am still finding the slow movements to be somewhat pedantic and uninspiring however. Once again, the quality of the musicianship is unquestioned.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 16, 2021, 01:06:54 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 55 Nos. 1-3 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


I have enjoyed these performances as much as those of Op. 54 with the same reservations about the presentation of the slow movements which still feel a bit cumbersome to me. However, I did particularly like the slow movement in Op. 55/3. It was quite engaging and it felt more intense.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 23, 2021, 04:46:12 AM
String Quartets, Op. 64 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


Op. 64 started off very well with good poise and pacing and not being overly assertive in the delivery of No. 1. Op. 64/2 was also very engaging, particularly the slow movement and the Menuet. The music and the ensemble are in full flow in the opening of Op.64/3 and that fluidity continues throughout the work. With  Op. 64/4, I found the performance of the opening movement to be on the heavy handed side but with the rest of the work being well balanced and engaging. I particularly liked Op. 64/5 throughout. Op. 64/6 was not top drawer for me. Without reiterating earlier points discussed this felt a little laboured to my ear with the exception of the final movement, [notably] marked Presto.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on October 31, 2021, 04:50:42 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 71 Nos. 1-3 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


The Festetics Quartet sounded smoother, softer and more rounded in Op. 71/1. There were very few jagged edges for me in this music making. However the slow movement, Adagio, sounds more like it is leaning towards a Lento to my ear. Otherwise it is well played in a balanced recording. In Op. 71/2 I liked the way that they generally handled the tempi at various points throughout the work. The faster Tempi are bright, energetic and lively. Interestingly, I really like the performance of the slow movement in this version. The recorded sound is well balanced here with the viola and cello not appearing over prominent or harshly recorded. Op. 71/3 is well played, well paced and well recorded even if the cello is a tad prominent, particularly in the Menuet.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on November 05, 2021, 05:27:38 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 76 Nos. 1-6 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


The big difference for me in the recordings of Op. 76/1,2 is that the tone and presence of both the viola and cello are toned down in a more balanced recording. This, I find, makes a huge difference to the “voice” of the Festetics Quartet, obviously, and for the better as far as I am concerned because it delivers a much more balanced and refined presentation overall. The slow movements are actually on the delicate side in terms of sensitivity. Both the viola and cello became more prominent in the recording of Op. 76/4 but not oppressively so in an overall sparkling performance. Opp. 76/5 & 6 were both a delight from beginning to end.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on November 16, 2021, 03:56:29 AM
Haydn - String Quartets, Op. 77 Nos. 1 & 2 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


The music of Op.77/1 is a model of refinement and the exquisite in Classical era musical writing. The slow movement is particularly noteworthy for its intensity.  The relevant sense of poise is also well delivered here. The music is very finely played here, the music making is superlative and the recorded sound is well balanced in a very well rounded and exciting presentation.
Op.77/2 also has a good sense of poise and refinement along with an elegant drive to the music. I thought that this one was very well played by the Festetics Quartet.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 16, 2021, 07:02:34 AM
Aligreto, thanks for your long term review of this box set. I think it shows a few things about great recordings: none are 100% perfect in their execution, but if the music is great, things like occasional execution glitches or production problems, or differences in expectations don't cause the ultimate success or failure of the realization. In Classical times, the onus was on the listener to  suss out what the composer was saying. Even today, the work isn't done for you, you get back the value that you invest, with interest.  :)

🤠😎
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on November 16, 2021, 07:32:53 AM
Aligreto, thanks for your long term review of this box set. I think it shows a few things about great recordings: none are 100% perfect in their execution, but if the music is great, things like occasional execution glitches or production problems, or differences in expectations don't cause the ultimate success or failure of the realization. In Classical times, the onus was on the listener to  suss out what the composer was saying. Even today, the work isn't done for you, you get back the value that you invest, with interest.  :)

🤠😎

Cheers Gurn. I still have one more work to go in that set, the unfinished Op. 103, and I will respond in more detail once I have that completed and my overall thoughts collated.  :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: hvbias on November 18, 2021, 08:25:04 AM
I hope Festetics are able to get back to recording, especially Schubert which Arcana seemed to hint at me in an email that they would be recording more. Though this was several years before the pandemic.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 18, 2021, 09:37:40 AM
I hope Festetics are able to get back to recording, especially Schubert which Arcana seemed to hint at me in an email that they would be recording more. Though this was several years before the pandemic.

I'd love to see them do more Schubert! I have 2 discs they did, one with the Quintet, the other has Rosamunde. Strangely, that one is marked. "Volume 4", but there is no sign there ever existed a volume 1, 2 or 3....  :-\

They have also teamed up with PBS to do some great work, a bonanza for me, favorites all around!

🤠😎
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Que on November 18, 2021, 10:42:08 AM
I hope Festetics are able to get back to recording, especially Schubert which Arcana seemed to hint at me in an email that they would be recording more. Though this was several years before the pandemic.

That would be amazing!  :)
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on November 19, 2021, 02:35:25 AM
Haydn - String Quartet, Op. 103 [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


This is a two movement, a fragment [comprising some thirteen minutes of music] of an unfinished work apparently composed at the same time as Op. 77, which were meant to be part of a six-quartet set. This may well have been the genesis of a quartet in that set. However, due to ill health, Haydn ultimately allowed the fragment to be published by itself, as opus 103.
The music and the musical language are both profound and are not the voice of a frail, old man yielding to death. Rather, these two movements are infused with the essence of Life. The music may not always be jubilant but it is always vital. The construction of the first movement, in particular, in terms of the quality of the music, harmonies and the counterpoint is simply magnificent. The Menuet is not far behind; it has quite a wonderfully edgy feel to it. One simply craves for more and wonders what if....? This music is well played and presented here.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: aligreto on November 19, 2021, 02:44:49 AM
Haydn - String Quartets [Festetics Quartet]


(https://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/3074013-3ceb1707-festetics-quartet-complete-haydn-symphonies-19-cd-box-set-2005.jpg)


Listening to this set has been a long journey for me. I was aware that the set had a big reputation but I did not like it when I first began to listen to it. However, I thought that things might improve for me as the music moved along chronologically. And so they did and this, coupled with various comments about the nature of this music and its performance, has given me much to contemplate. I, therefore, decided to take my time and to carefully consider what, and why, I did not like certain aspects of the set.

As fine as both the playing and the quality of the recorded sound is concerned I am glad that this was not my introduction to the Haydn String Quartets particularly up to and including Op. 50 and beyond, in some cases. The tone of the Festetics Quartet, up to the late quartets, for me has been consistently presented as being too robust for the music up to that point and, again, beyond, in some cases. Others, of course will, and do, love this set and good for them.

No complete set or cycle of any music is likely to satisfy completely. The frequently forward presentation of the music in these recordings, particularly that of the viola and cello parts, has been a continually significant issue for me up to the later quartets where things did eventually change, to my ear.

Just to be clear about my objectivity here, I have consistently listened to the same set using the same equipment with the same settings in the same room.

Despite my reservations I am glad that I have heard the performances as the discussion around them has prompted me to think more about them and the music. This is always a good thing. 


Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: grocklin on November 21, 2021, 07:58:50 AM
My go-to set is the Auryn, but in case anyone is interested in the Festetics, the complete set (19 cds) is $9 at 320kbps on us.7digital.com.

I've also been enjoying the Buchberger set on Spotify, which is $31.50 at 7digital (320kbps) or 36$ (FLAC) at Qobuz.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 21, 2021, 09:42:10 AM
I have the Buchbergers in the Op. 50, which I do enjoy.
Title: Re: Haydn: String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 21, 2021, 12:43:59 PM
I have the Buchbergers in the Op. 50, which I do enjoy.

I felt like they rushed it too much, especially the Bb #1. However, they are my go-to for Op 1 & 2, :)

8)