Notes and Editorial Reviews
op. 33/1, 3, 5
Leipzig Str Qrt
MDG 3071812 (64:55)
The Leipzig Quartet is a group that subscribes to the historically-informed religion of straight tone; thus when this disc begins one hears the group playing a held chord that sounds a bit like cats whining. This impression never quite leaves one, but it does dissipate; as soon as the music changes you become aware that this group is really stylish. They understand phrasing and dynamics; nothing
in these performances smacks of streamlining, of just rattling out the notes as quickly as possible to achieve maximum excitement. The modern proclivity towards “fast and furious” is not in their musical lexicon. As a result, these performances really speak to you. They have something interesting to say. Despite the persistent straight tone, they are truly lovely, suggesting at different times humor, elegance, melancholy or joy in turn. In short, I really liked these recordings. This is how I want my Haydn to sound (the straight tone excepted).
This set is marked as Vol. 6 in an apparently ongoing series of Haydn quartets. I’d certainly be interested in hearing the other discs, particularly of the early quartets which are so often played in a flippant and uninteresting manner. I will refrain from saying, as the liner notes do, that they are “one of the most exciting string quartets” (thank goodness they didn’t add the tag line “of their generation”), because I do not equate outstanding artistic interpretive qualities with “excitement.” That belongs to those Italian HIP orchestras that play everything in a rattletrap, full-speed-ahead zip-a-de-doo-dah manner. The Leipzig Quartet is made up of
and that is more than enough for me. Highly recommended.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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