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Haydn: Prussian String Quartets / Tokyo Quartet


Release Date: 12/10/2007 
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 )
 Superb performances September 7, 2012 By M L Chelk (Ipswich, SUFFOLK) See All My Reviews "The Tokyo combine a fresh and intense interpretation of the music with complete technical mastery. Their playing is rich, smooth, lyrical and powerfully dramatic. In this set they play Amati instruments. Since then they have moved on to Stradivarius. The instruments must help the exceptional quality of the sound but very few quartets can match performances such as this." Report Abuse
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