Notes and Editorial Reviews
This set, first issued in 1993, represented one of the reference recordings for these works, and if you particularly enjoy period-instrument performances it still does. It has held up remarkably well. I no longer believe that it's quite so necessary to "rough up" the tone in the allegros, but the infectious energy and emotional extravagance of these performances remains as irresistible as ever. Consider the hilariously lachrymose slow movement of Quartet No. 5 (with appropriate vibrato, thank God, in the solo violin), the perfectly timed finale of the "Joke" Quartet, or the wonderfully chirpy outer movements of the "Bird". Whether or not you approve of the approach or the timbre of the instruments, there's no
cause to think that the players are hiding behind some theoretical notion of "authenticity" and abdicating their responsibility as interpreters of Haydn. So if you missed these irrepressible performances the first time around, here's your chance to set the record straight.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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