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Haydn: Prussian String Quartets / Tokyo Quartet


Release Date: 11/27/2007 
Label:  Dg Galleria Catalog #: 423509   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews


This set, alongside the Tokyo String Quartet's Haydn Op. 20 and Op. 76 (both long unavailable), comprises some of the finest Haydn quartet playing in the catalog. Arkivmusic.com has done chamber music lovers a huge favor in making these Op. 50 recordings available, and we can only hope that they do the same with the other two sets. Of all Haydn's mature quartets, Op. 50 may be the most difficult. This doesn't mean they aren't great and expressive works. The D major quartet ("The Frog") always has been popular, and the F-sharp minor quartet contains some of Haydn's most passionate inspiration, as well as his last great fugue for strings.

This last point drives home what may
Read more be the signal distinguishing characteristic of this particular opus: its formal ingenuity. Most people yawn when the subject of form comes up, and with good reason: a lot of composers handle form is a dull way. Haydn though, let us not forget, invented the forms that later composers treated so mechanically, and his way is that of a master chef with an unlimited range of ingredients. Charles Rosen praised the opening of the B-flat quartet as a particularly impressive example of creating an imposing and expressive structure out of practically nothing at all.

Be that as it may, and beyond the attractiveness of many of the tunes, in order to get the most out of this music you simply have to enjoy hearing form take shape before your ears, and that's just what makes these performances so satisfying. There isn't a perfunctory note anywhere: tempos are perfectly chosen, rhythms are sharp and clean, the balances ideal. The players invariably know where the music is going and how best to get there. I don't need to single out particular examples: there are no weaknesses or inconsistencies in any of the six pieces. With excellent sonics, no serious string quartet collection can afford to neglect this set.

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

1.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 50 no 1/H 3 no 44 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
2.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 50 no 2/H 3 no 45 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
3.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 50 no 3/H 3 no 46 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
4.
Quartet for Strings in F sharp minor, Op. 50 no 4/H 3 no 47 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
5.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 50 no 5/H 3 no 48 "Dream" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
6.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 50 no 6/H 3 no 49 "Frog" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 

Featured Sound Samples

String Quartet in B flat, op 50 no 1: I. Allegro vivace
String Quartet in B flat, op 50 no 1: IV. Finale: Vivace

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Wonderful Set March 29, 2018 By Jeff B. See All My Reviews "I've been having fun trying to put together a high-quality set of Haydn's quartets from various ensembles. In investigating reviews, it's often the case that one reads about a superb recording, only to go online and find it out of print. This is where ArkivMusic does the music fan such a great service. This 1973 recording by the Tokyo Quartet IS the reference recording for many listeners but was no longer been produced by DG, making it impossible to find. In steps ArkivMusic, telling us, --No problem - we'll make a new one for you!-- And that's exactly what they have done. You may be doubtful about the quality of the ArkivMusic duplication quality, but don't worry. The packaging, the insert printing, the CD labeling - it all looks great. And that leads us to the most important question: How does it sound? The playing quality is absolutely first rate. And the music itself from the Tokyo Quartet is so spirited - they really embrace and have fun with these pieces. I imagine a big grin on each of their faces as they were recording. I have listened to many other quartets play Haydn, including the Lindsays, the Kodaly, and the Mosaiques, and the Tokyo on this set measure up to the best in energy and precision. David Hurwitz of Classics Today calls it --some of the finest Haydn quartet playing in the catalog.-- I will enjoy coming back to this recording a great deal in the future." Report Abuse
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