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Mozart, Haydn, Schubert / Juilliard String Quartet

Release Date: 10/11/2005 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1372   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFranz Joseph HaydnFranz Schubert
Performer:  Robert KoffRobert MannRaphael HillyerClaus Adam,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Juilliard Quartet, with inevitable changes in personnel, is still going strong almost 60 years after its founding. Thanks in part to its teaching and example, we now enjoy a plethora of elite quartets, many of them direct heirs of the Juilliard's style and repertoire. For almost of all its existence the group recorded for Columbia and its successors, CBS and Sony; but for a brief period in the late 1950s and early 1960s it defected to RCA. It is those rare RCAs that Testament is reissuing, to the gratitude of the quartet's many admirers. This entry is a mixed program of monophonic recordings made in 1957 sessions and a stereo Schubert quartet movement from 1959. The lineup for the 1957 sessions included founder Robert Mann and Robert Read more Koff (violins), Raphael Hillyer (viola), and Claus Adam (cello). For the Schubert, Isidore Cohen replaced Koff as second violin.

The Juilliard enjoyed a reputation for its modernism--lean sonorities, rhythmic exactitude, relatively swift tempos, and energetic, often virtuosic playing that illuminated a repertoire heavy in contemporary music and solidified a position as ideal interpreters of Bartók and Schoenberg. So the quartet created quite a stir when it turned to the Viennese classics with its RCA recordings of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. At the time, the sprung rhythms, wide dynamics, and straight-ahead playing that refused to wallow in melodic beauties made the group's interpretations seem outside the mainstream.

But "mainstream" tends to shift over time; we now can hear these recordings in a changed context that makes them pioneering ventures blazing new paths. The Juilliard's Mozart, shorn of any traces of porcelain fragility and central-European gemutlichkeit, is first-rate, the opening full of mystery, the Andante cantabile flowing, and the finale exciting. The quartet's later remake for Columbia, with only first violinist Robert Mann remaining among the original foursome, was marginally more expansive in the inner movements.

Similar observations can be made for the pair of Haydn quartets, with special note of the elegant Andantino and driving Presto in the Op. 74 No. 1, and the humor of Op. 77 No. 1's first movement, its haunting Adagio, and its rocket-launched final Presto. Schubert's Quartettsatz gets a dynamic reading, bristling with tension, the chilling unison outbursts that punctuate the movement brilliantly effective. The performance benefits greatly from the spaciousness of stereo, but the rest of the disc is vibrantly recorded with plenty of presence, only a slight electronic haze in the first violin's upper reaches betraying either its age, tape decay, or an artifact of the otherwise fine digital transfer.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 19 in C major, K 465 "Dissonance" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Koff (Violin), Robert Mann (Violin), Raphael Hillyer (Viola),
Claus Adam (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Town Hall, New York City, New York 
Length: 26 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Town Hall, New York City, New York (05/01/1957 - 05/17/1957) 
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 74 no 1/H 3 no 72 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Robert Koff (Violin), Raphael Hillyer (Viola), Claus Adam (Cello),
Robert Mann (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Town Hall, New York City, New York 
Length: 19 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Town Hall, New York City, New York (05/23/1957 - 05/24/1957) 
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 77 no 1/H 3 no 81 "Lobkowitz" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Raphael Hillyer (Viola), Robert Mann (Violin), Robert Koff (Violin),
Claus Adam (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/27/1957 
Venue:  Town Hall, New York City, New York 
Length: 20 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
Quartet for Strings no 12 in C minor, D 703/Op. posth "Quartettsatz" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Raphael Hillyer (Viola), Claus Adam (Cello), Isidore Cohen (Violin),
Robert Mann (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1959 
Venue:  Academy of Arts & Letters, New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

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