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Haydn: Complete String Quartets / Buchberger String Quartet


Release Date: 08/11/2009 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93889   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Number of Discs: 23 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



HAYDN String Quartets Buchberger Qrt. & BRILLIANT 93889 (23 CDs: 1356:49)


& Booklet Notes (CD ROM)


I have reviewed almost all of these recordings before; here are the references: opp. 1 and 2 ( Fanfare 32:1); op 9 (32:4); op. 17 (32:5), op. 20 (31:6); opp. 33 and 42 (30:5); op. 50, nos. 1-3 (32:4); Read more style="font-style:italic">The Seven Last Words , op. 51 (31:1); op. 55 (32:4); op. 64 (32:4); opp. 71 and 74 (31:5); op. 76 (33:4); opp. 77 and 103 (31: 1). Only op. 50, nos. 4-6 and op. 54 are new to Fanfare . Although relistening has not altered any opinions expressed therein, one important error has surfaced. The CD ROM in this set contains 41 pages of program notes in English—and 41 more in German—including five pictures of the artists and the church in which the recordings were made. The notes, written by Professor Hubert Buchberger, are extraordinary, discussing every imaginable point about the state of Haydn editions, his group’s sources, their interpretive choices and instruments, plus analyses (without musical examples, however) of each quartet. The only comparable sets of notes I can recall are Eric Blom’s analyses of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas in EMI/Angel’s 13-LP box set of Schnabel’s recordings. Buchberger’s bombshell comes early:


Even ensembles which, like ours, opt for performing Haydn’s works—now over two centuries old—on modern instruments cannot easily ignore the contributions of historical performance practice. The relevant findings are too detailed, the interpretations of outstanding ‘historically informed’ artists too inspiring!


Modern instruments! And I have been telling you all along that these were period instruments played at modern pitch. Mea culpa . This is indicative of another point I have been making about performances of music by Haydn and by other composers: because so many artists have been adapting to period practices, regardless of the instruments they play, the distance between the two worlds has shrunk. Here are the artists and the instruments they play:


Hubert Buchberger violin I (Lorenzo Storioni, Cremona, ca. 1775)


Julia Greve violin II (Carlo Antonio Testore, Milan, 1747)


Joachim Etzel, viola (Michael Ledfuss, St. Gallen, 1990)


Helmut Sohler cello (Paolo Antonio Testore, Milan 1750)


They came together in 1974, as students at Frankfurt’s Academy of Music and the Peforming Arts—performing Haydn—and there have been no personnel changes over the 35 years. Their only non-Haydn recordings that I know are four quartets by Ernst Toch on cpo, also excellent performances ( Fanfare 27:5), but they perform a wide repertoire, for example, winning first prize for contemporary music at a festival in 1980, playing Schoenberg and Maderna. For most of Haydn, up through op. 64, I prefer their recordings to all others (a live recording of op. 42 by The Lindsays is a notable exception). It has been hard to say why, as the Buchberger has its faults: the playing is not as precise, as clean, as some other groups, and they are very individual about choosing which repeats to play. I admire that, even if I sometimes would prefer different choices; it means that these four are making their own artistic decisions, not just following current PC consensus (their reasons are explained in the notes). As much as I admire period practices, I am too old to believe that we have at last discovered the way to play all music; we do learn, but some of it is mere fashion that will eventually change; we just don’t know into what.


In the review of Brilliant Classics’ 150-CD “Haydn Edition” ( Fanfare 32:4), I wrote that the Buchberger performances of the first three quartets of op. 50 were “so much fun that one must abandon criticism.” The same is true of Nos. 4-6. These readings are based on recent scholarship: the fugal finale of No. 4 is now Allegro molto instead of Allegro moderato, and it makes a whale of a difference; what a glorious movement! Buchberger notes that the Trio of No. 5 now begins in F Major instead of F Minor, revealing a wrong-note joke in the third bar; we’ve heard it before, but perhaps only in recent recordings. The Buchberger’s sparkling playing of all of op. 50 contributes at least as much as the musicological discoveries.


This is also the first issue of the Buchbeger’s op. 54. Written for a Paris publisher (as well as others in Vienna and London, a typical Haydn business strategy), they followed the recent “Paris” Symphonies in a call for virtuoso brilliance. Again making use of the latest scholarship, the Buchberger employs new tempos in all four movements of No. 1 in G, most notably opening with a Vivace instead of Allegro con brio, which works wonders. The slower, mere stately Menuet is less convincing. No. 2 in C has fewer discrepancies from my Dover score, but it too is beautifully realized by the Buchberger. The Trio’s screaming dissonances are faced head on, rather than in the apologetic manner of many performances, making the return to the Menuet’s C Major all the more comforting. The unusual Adagio finale is taken a bit quickly; that by Quatour Ysaÿe on Aeon has a deeper gravitas. No. 3 in E fails to come to life here—it seldom does. It still sounds like an experiment in writing music without a theme. The Buchberger does give the Menuet a charming swing. Nevertheless, this disc is another winner.


Preparing for this review, I did some navel-gazing, reading my own previous reviews of individual Buchberger sets (usually six quartets at time); a few neighboring Haydn reviews also catching the eye. Throughout the string quartets and the symphonies, one key equation manifests itself:


HAYDN = JOY


That is what makes Bernstein’s Haydn symphonies and masses so entrancing, and it applies equally to the Buchberger’s string quartets. Joy reigns, especially from op. 33 through op. 64 ( The Seven Last Words and op. 55 are exceptions). I think I have finally figured out what makes this ensemble so special: these four musicians love this music, and love to play it. I’m sure other groups do, too, but they do not make it so obvious in their recordings. The Buchberger’s love and joy project from the speakers, and through the head phones, with almost every phrase, bringing the music to life as no other ensemble does. They can be solid and serious when required, too (opp. 20, 51, and 55). Perhaps they are unable to take the final step up to the sophistication and elegance of opp. 71, 74, 76, and 77; but perhaps it is just that so many superb ensembles have recorded these works, making it difficult for any one performance to stand out. I should mention a recent recording of op. 103 (reviewed in this issue?) which has quickly become my favorite: the Edding Quartet (founded in 2007!) on Et’cetera.


I would never dream of depending on a single recorded set of Beethoven symphonies, and I don’t imagine that any complete set of Haydn quartets could satisfy everyone all the time. But the Buchberger comes as close as I ever expect to hear. It makes performances by the Tatrai or the Kodály Quartet—both of which are technically excellent—sound dull and flat. I have heard only brief samples of the Los Angeles Quartet’s Haydn, and was not impressed. Among period ensembles, both the Mosaïques and Festetics Quartets have recorded compete cycles; each is precise, takes all repeats, and the former has a gorgeous ensemble sound, but the Buchberger makes them both seem overly conservative, even square, as is the rapidly progressing (modern-instrument) set by the Auryn. Only The Lindsays match the Buchberger for imagination and spirit, but their performances lack the tonal blandishments heard here. Bravo, Buchberger!


FANFARE: James H. North
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 1 no "0"/H 2 no 6 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1757-1759; Austria 
2.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 1 no 1 "La Chasse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
3.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 1 no 2/H 3 no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
4.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 1 no 3/H 3 no 3 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
5.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 1 no 4/H 3 no 4 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
6.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 1 no 5/ H 2 no 6 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1757-1759; Austria 
7.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 1 no 6/H 3 no 6 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
8.
Quartet for Strings in A major, Op. 2 no 1/H 3 no 7 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1765; Austria 
9.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 2 no 6/H 3 no 12 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
10.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 2 no 5/H 3 no 11 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1766; Austria 
11.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 2 no 3/H 3 no 9 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1765; Austria 
12.
Quartet for Strings in E major, Op. 2 no 2/H 3 no 8 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1765; Austria 
13.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 2 no 4/H 3 no 10 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1762; Austria 
14.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 3 no 3/H 3 no 15 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1777 
15.
Quartet for Strings in A major, Op. 9 no 6/H 3 no 24 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
16.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 9 no 1/H 3 no 19 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
17.
Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 9 no 4/H 3 no 22 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
18.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 9 no 2/H 3 no 20 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
19.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 9 no 3/H 3 no 21 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
20.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 17 no 6/H 3 no 30 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
21.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 17 no 3/H 3 no 27 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
22.
Quartet for Strings in E major, Op. 17 no 1/H 3 no 25 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
23.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 17 no 2/H 3 no 26 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
24.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 17 no 5/H 3 no 29 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
25.
Quartet for Strings in A major, Op. 20 no 6/H 3 no 36 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
26.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 20 no 2/H 3 no 32 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
27.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 20 no 4/H 3 no 34 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
28.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20 no 1/H 3 no 31 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
29.
Quartet for Strings in F minor, Op. 20 no 5/H 3 no 35 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
30.
Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 20 no 3/H 3 no 33 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
31.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 33 no 4/H 3 no 40 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
32.
Quartet for Strings in B minor, Op. 33 no 1/H 3 no 37 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
33.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 33 no 6/H 3 no 42 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
34.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 33 no 2/H 3 no 38 "Joke" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
35.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 33 no 5/H 3 no 41 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
36.
Quartet for Strings in A major, Op. 55 no 1/H 3 no 60 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
37.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 50 no 1/H 3 no 44 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
38.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 55 no 3/H 3 no 62 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
39.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 64 no 3/H 3 no 67 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
40.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 71 no 1/H 3 no 69 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
41.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 76 no 4/H 3 no 78 "Sunrise" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
42.
Quartet for Strings in B minor, Op. 64 no 2/H 3 no 68 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
43.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 50 no 2/H 3 no 45 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
44.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 54 no 2/H 3 no 57 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
45.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 64 no 1/H 3 no 65 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
46.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 74 no 1/H 3 no 72 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
47.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 76 no 3/H 3 no 77 "Emperor" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
48.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 50 no 6/H 3 no 49 "Frog" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
49.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 64 no 5/H 3 no 63 "Lark" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
50.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 71 no 2/H 3 no 70 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
51.
Quartet for Strings in D major, Op. 76 no 5/H 3 no 79 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
52.
Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 103/H 3 no 83 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802-1803; Vienna, Austria 
53.
Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 42/H 3 no 43 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
54.
Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 76 no 2/H 3 no 76 "Quinten" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
55.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 50 no 3/H 3 no 46 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
56.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 64 no 6/H 3 no 64 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
57.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 71 no 3/H 3 no 71 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
58.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 76 no 6/H 3 no 80 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
59.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 50 no 5/H 3 no 48 "Dream" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
60.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 74 no 2/H 3 no 73 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
61.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Op. 77 no 2/H 3 no 82 "Lobkowitz" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
62.
Quartet for Strings in F minor, Op. 55 no 2/H 3 no 61 "Razor" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
63.
Quartet for Strings in F sharp minor, Op. 50 no 4/H 3 no 47 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
64.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 54 no 1/H 3 no 58 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
65.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 64 no 4/H 3 no 66 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
66.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 76 no 1/H 3 no 75 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
67.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 77 no 1/H 3 no 81 "Lobkowitz" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
68.
Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 74 no 3/H 3 no 74 "Rider" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buchberger String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 

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