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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Joseph Haydn - String Quartets Opp. 20, 33, 51, 64, 76 & 77 (Quatuor Mosaïques)


Information

Composer: Joseph Haydn

CD1:
  • (01) String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 20 No. 1, Hob. III:31
  • (05) String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20 No. 5, Hob. III:35
  • (09) String Quartet in A major, Op. 20 No. 6, Hob. III:36
CD2:
  • (01) String Quartet in C major, Op. 20 No. 2, Hob. III:32
  • (05) String Quartet in D major, Op. 20 No. 4, Hob. III:34
  • (09) String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20 No. 3, Hob. III:33
CD3:
  • (01) String Quartet in G major, Op. 33 No. 5, Hob. III:41
  • (05) String Quartet in C major, Op. 33 No. 3. Hob. III:39
  • (09) String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 33 No. 2, Hob. III:38
CD4:
  • (01) String Quartet in D major, Op. 33 No. 6, Hob. III:42
  • (05) String Quartet in B minor, Op. 33 No. 1, Hob. III:37
  • (09) String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 33 No. 4, Hob. III:40
CD5:
  • (01) Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze, Op. 51
CD6:
  • (01) String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 64 No. 6, Hob. III.64
  • (05) String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 64 No. 3, Hob. III:67
  • (09) String Quartet in C major, Op. 64 No. 1, Hob. III:65
CD7:
  • (01) String Quartet in D major, Op. 64 No. 5, Hob. III:63
  • (05) String Quartet in B minor, Op. 64 No. 2, Hob. III:68
  • (09) String Quartet in G major, Op. 64 No. 4, Hob. III:66
CD8:
  • (01) String Quartet in G major, Op. 76 No. 1, Hob. III:75
  • (05) String Quartet in D major, Op. 76 No. 5, Hob. III:79
  • (09) String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 76 No. 4, Hob. III:78
CD9:
  • (01) String Quartet in D minor, Op. 76 No. 2, Hob. III:76
  • (05) String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 76 No. 6, Hob. III:80
  • (09) String Quartet in C major, Op. 76 No. 3, Hob. III:77
CD10:
  • (01) String Quartet in G major, Op. 77 No. 1, Hob. III:81
  • (05) String Quartet in F major, Op. 77 No. 2, Hob. III:82
  • (09) String Quartet in D minor, Op. 103, Hob. III:83

Quatuor Mosaïques
Erich Höbarth, violin
Andrea Bischof, violin
Anita Mitterer, viola
Christophe Coin, cello

Date: 2000
Label: Naïve Classique

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Review

ARTISTIC QUALITY: 10 / SOUND QUALITY: 10

It’s a thousand pities that the Quatuor Mosaïques never completed its cycle of Haydn quartets. Certainly they remain the reference recordings on period instruments, and they compare favorably with performances of any sort. There is something special about the Haydn quartets from Op. 20 on: their harmonic daring, variety of form and texture, and balance and perfection of structure make them timeless. It doesn’t matter whether the ensemble plays on period instruments or not. A great performance captures the music’s sense of discovery and spontaneity. It must sound as though the music were being composed as it is being played.

That means an approach that comes across as effortless and naturally expressive (and yes, that means a healthy use of vibrato in cantabile passages), and this is precisely the quality we find in these performances. Two examples suffice to demonstrate this point. Sample the slow movement of the F Minor Quartet, Op. 20 No. 5, and hear how Haydn proceeds from the opening siciliano rhythm, to a smoother pulse below the song of the first violin, to a thrilling climax on harmonies that could have been written yesterday. Similarly, the bagpipe episode in the “Emperor” Quartet’s first movement development section needs to sound rustic, gutsy, but never crude. This performance captures the music’s “open air” quality without a trace of unnecessary harshness.

In general, then, the playing of the Mosaïques has all of the classical virtues of clean ensemble, excellent internal balances, and wonderfully judged phrasing. The cello of Christophe Coin deserves special praise for his firm but never overwhelming realization of Haydn’s critical bass lines. I am not a fan of the string quartet version of The Seven Last Words of the Savior on the Cross, but this is certainly one of the better ones, and all six opera have been vibrantly engineered for maximum warmth, clarity, and impact. A great set, and a “must” for Haydn quartet collectors.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

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Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 – 31 May 1809) was a prominent and prolific Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet". Haydn's work was central to the development of what came to be called sonata form. At the time of his death, aged 77, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe. Haydn was a friend and mentor of Mozart, a teacher of Beethoven, and the older brother of composer Michael Haydn.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Haydn

***

Quatuor Mosaïques is an Austrian string quartet, one of the first string quartets devoted to use of period instruments and authentic performance practices, founded in 1987 by four members of the Concentus Musicus Wien. They specialize in music of the 18th century. The quartet's discography includes works by Arriaga, Beethoven, Boccherini, Boëly, Haydn, Jadin, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert. It has performed works of the early twentieth century, by composers such as Debussy, Bartók and Webern. Their Haydn recordings have received critical acclaim, including several Gramophone Awards.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quatuor_Mosa%C3%AFques

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