Notes and Editorial Reviews
Leipzig Str Qrt
MDG GOLD 3071723 (66:51)
Here is a disc, labeled as Vol. 5 of the Haydn quartets, that promises very great things for the rest of the series. The Leipzig Quartet’s playing has the same light, bright, and occasionally humorous sweep that one also hears in the recordings of the Daedalus Quartet (the op. 20 quartets as issued on Bridge 9326) and, if anything, MDG’s sound is even more clearly detailed. There’s not a single movement
on this disc that disappoints; the quartet members, who appear to be in their mid-40s, have retained a youthful, zestful energy and enthusiasm for music-making that warms the heart as it makes you smile.
Moreover, their musical style includes many subtle moments of rubato and an extraordinarily wide variety of dynamics. For a good example of their rubato style, sample the Menuetto of the op. 64 No. 3 quartet, where the subtle tempo shifts—combined with the composer’s own written
—tease the ear in a wonderful way. Sometimes their subtlety in dynamics may escape the inattentive listener, so alertness in hearing this CD is strongly recommended. This is not fluff playing, but rather the kind of performance that brings you deeper into the heart of the music. Based on this single disc, I would go so far as to recommend hearing virtually any of their Haydn quartet releases to date, which so far includes some op. 50 quartets (1, 4, and 5) on MDG 3071585 (which got a rave review in these pages from Burton Rothleder), op. 76 Nos. 2–4 on MDG 3071683 (a rave review on
Music Web International
), the op. 20 quartets Nos. 2, 4, and 6 on MDG 3071706 (another good review from Rothleder), but oddly enough I can’t find Vol. 1 of this series on
ArkivMusic or Amazon! (Maybe it hasn’t come out yet.)
In short, this is good stuff. If you don’t have these quartets in your collection, in performances you enjoy, go for it!
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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