Author Topic: Haydn: String Quartets  (Read 26771 times)

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kishnevi

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #40 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?

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #41 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.

 
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kishnevi

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #42 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.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #43 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.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 06:37:50 PM by Daverz »

Offline amw

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #44 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.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2014, 07:32:14 PM »
Maybe we need a blind listening to resolve the differences...:) Hint, hint....
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Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #46 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).
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #47 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.  :)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 08:09:40 PM by Moonfish »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #48 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.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 01:08:51 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #49 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.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 12:20:37 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #50 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.
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Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #51 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? 
   
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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #52 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.


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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #53 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.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #54 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.
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Offline Wakefield

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #55 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
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #56 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.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 11:36:42 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Sammy

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #57 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.

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #58 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. >:(

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Re: Haydn: String Quartets
« Reply #59 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?


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