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Haydn: String Quartets / Minetti String Quartet

Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98589   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Maria EhmerLeonhard RoczekMarkus HuberAnna Knopp
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minetti String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN String Quartets: in G, op. 64/4; in g, op. 74/3, “Rider”; in D, op. 76/5 Minetti Qrt HÄNSSLER 98.589 (56:22)

I first heard the Minetti Quartett in early 2006 at a recital that honored Mozart’s birthday. It may have been Mozart’s birthday, but it turned out to be a Minetti celebration. Another recital a year later assured that their excellence was Read more not a fluke, but repeatable. I haven’t stopped thinking about the quartet since. Alongside groups like the Quatuor Ebène, the Jerusalem and Jupiter Quartets, Apollon Musagete, and the Acies Quartet, the Minettis are among the finest there are, which is saying much in a field that becomes ever more crowded with ensembles the average quality of which we could not have even imagined a decade or two ago.

Now the Minetti Quartett (with two t s, if you use their official German spelling) has finally released a record, and it lives up to all the high expectations and more. Appropriate and timely, it’s a Haydn compilation. Intelligently put together—without just grazing over the “greatest hits”—they assembled opp. 64/4, 74/3, and 76/5 for an hour of music-making of downright exalted levels. Not only is the general mood genial, but minute details, too, are thoughtfully, fortuitously applied, always giving reason to take note with delight at a particular passage or phrasing in these 12 movements.

The chilly sul ponticello in the Adagio’s (64/4) two little C-Minor passages reminds me of similar effects produced by Concerto Italiano in their Four Seaons . The opening of 74/3 jolts up, hurtling off and away to the races as one might expect from its nickname, “The Rider” ( Reiterquartett ). Truly special is the moment the Minetti players drop to a true pianissimo in the Largo, reemerging with the slowly shuddering tremolo. Or take the elastic chugging of the eighth notes in the Presto finale of 76/5—hands on and sophisticated in equal measure. Among the many quartet CDs released in 2009 that I’ve heard, this stands out as the most interesting and delightful effort.

The interview in the booklet, in which especially the first violinist comes across as a carefree, happily musical naïf à la Netrebko, doesn’t contribute much to our understanding of the particular quartets or the four musicians behind it—except to bring home the point that superficial seriousness is not necessary for great music-making of lasting quality. Not an inappropriate conclusion for the Haydn year.

FANFARE: Jens F. Laurson

This warmly recorded, naturally balanced disc is delightful. The Minetti Quartet offers three late Haydn masterpieces, played with plenty of high spirits and, in the slow movements, a fresh songfulness (both Opp. 64's and 76's are marked "cantabile") that's most affecting. There's practically nothing to criticize here. Highlights include the really zippy final prestos of Opp. 64 and 76, and the intense Largo assai of the "Rider" quartet. In the finale of the latter, the group's articulation is a touch clipped in the main theme, and as a result the music doesn't quite speak as it should, but better too much energy than too little. The minuet (really a scherzo) of Op. 76 also is terrific, smooth as silk until Haydn's disruptive syncopation sets in. If you're looking for a very attractive single-disc collection of late Haydn quartets, I can recommend this without hesitation. Playing time is a bit short--under an hour--so there was still room for another full quartet, but if this doesn't concern you terribly, then go for it.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 64 no 4/H 3 no 66 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Maria Ehmer (Violin), Leonhard Roczek (Cello), Markus Huber (Viola),
Anna Knopp (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minetti String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 74 no 3/H 3 no 74 "Rider" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Markus Huber (Viola), Leonhard Roczek (Cello), Maria Ehmer (Violin),
Anna Knopp (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minetti String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 76 no 5/H 3 no 79 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Maria Ehmer (Violin), Anna Knopp (Violin), Markus Huber (Viola),
Leonhard Roczek (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minetti String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Haydn String quartets November 14, 2015 By Ji-Yong Ryu (League City, TX) See All My Reviews "Great performance and excellent recording. For me, especially Op76, No5 is just lovely expression!" Report Abuse
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