Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Joseph Haydn, Kodaly Quartet|
Haydn: The Emperor, Fifths and Sunrise Quartets
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Haydn's Op. 76 "Greatest Hits" (No. 2, 3, 4)
Alan Lekan | Boulder, CO | 03/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Be aware of what you are getting here. This CD contains Op. 76 no. 2, 3 and 4 and, in a way, is Op. 76 "Greatest Hits." The newer Naxos releases equally divide the six quartets of Op. 76, with one covering No. 1-3 and another featuring No. 4-6. So, if you want all six quartets of Op. 76, best NOT to get this one here.
Regardless of the breakout, all six of Op. 76 are among Haydn's most mature, well-conceived and finest quartets. The great music writer, Arnold Schonberg, labeled the music of Joseph Haydn as "Classicm par exellence." Indeed, although later composers like and Mozart and Beethoven got most of the glory in this revolutionary era, it was actually Haydn that pioneered the modern string quartet and symphony. His works for string quartet form a huge body of music that is mostly superb in quality, rich in textures and surprisingly innovative in even the earlier quartets of the 1770's like Op. 20. Towards the end of his life he synthesised all he knew into the rich compositions of Op. 76 and 77 which take on a more "symphonic" and virtuostic quality. Part of this was likely to showcase his talents before the larger audiences of London where he was gaining great success, especially his late "London symphonies."
For Haydn's quartets in general, there are a handful of exceptional quartets who recorded the complete works (or are in the process): The Kodaly, Lindsays, Alban Berg and Mosaiques. The first is Hungarian, the second British and the last two hailing from Austria. The Mosaiques addtionally use period instruments (and more sinewy gut strings) where the others use modern instruments and steel strings. The most "polished" and pristine sounding probably is the Alban Berg (whose six Mozart "Haydn" quartets are suberb as well). The Mosaiques are best known for creating fascinating, earthy textures with their period instruments, more "edgy" tonality and brilliantly crisp attack that brings out the more unusual aspects of Haydn's compositions.
Last, but not least, is the Kodaly Quartet featured here whose dedication to this genre has produced a bounty of fine recordings as well as a highlight of the Naxos catalog. Their sound is clear, poised, never edgy, smooth and graceful, whitty and charming when Haydn calls for it. This reading of Op. 76 is no exception and can be recommended without reservation. The playing is of high caliber as is the sound quality in a slighly-but-pleasantly resonant soundscape that matches the symphonic scale of these pieces nicely. If I had to pick one set, it would be the Mosaiques for sure (but at 3 times the price!). Their recordings are special and rather unique. But, this one by the Kodaly is wonderful in its own way and certainly less expensive. It comes down to what nuances of these performances most capture your imagination and ears the most as all the quartets mentioned above are world class in their art. Again, be aware this set contains Op. 76 no. 2-4 so is a "split set." Compositions - 5 stars; Performance - 5 stars; Sound - 4 stars."
A great bargain!
Alan Lekan | 03/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Haydn was a sly dog, and he packs a ton of wit and invention in his String Quartets. His symphonies are similarly clever. Haydn is a remarkable composer, and not just a second fiddle to Mozart. However, the prospect of delving into the music of this remarkably prolific composer can be daunting. Where to start? Start here. This is one of the better CDs you are likely to find in the super-budget price range. You may not recognize the players, but they put forth a committed performance. If you like this, you can then move on to the many fine 2-for-1 sets of the "London Symphonies"."
Here we go again trying words
Skoldamir | Sacramento, CA United States | 06/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, it is not often in my music collection of several hundred "classical" CD's that I find music that still moves me to tears. The quartets are so interesting for me on all levels and how could you find them better played? Many of Haydn's quartets are worth purchase but opus 76 has a special place in this genre. Every composer has a special area where he (not many she's unfortunately) has mastered. One thinks of Mozart and the operas or Beethoven and the symphonies. Well here is where Haydn has never been surpassed."