The London Haydn Quartet – Haydn: String Quartets Op. 50 (2016) [Hyperion FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Joseph Haydn – String Quartets Op. 50 – The London Haydn Quartet (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:28:51 minutes | 2,9 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: | Booklet, Front Cover | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: October 2014, Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom

The London Haydn Quartet turns to the six Op 50 quartets. More serious—intellectually taut—than the Op 33 ‘Russian’ quartets which they follow in Haydn’s output, these six ‘Prussian’ quartets dazzle in such committed performances as these.

Published in 1787 and dedicated to the cello-playing King of Prussia, the six Op 50 Quartets comprise some of Haydn’s most obsessive achievements in the art of making much from little—of drawing the most varied structures, inventions, textures and feelings from the most limited thematic material. The serenely animated opening Allegro of Op 50 No 1 unfolds from little more than a throbbing bass and a tiny cliché turn, while the principle idea of the witty finale of No 6 is no more than a single note reiterated on alternate strings—a sound that has gained the work the nick name of the ‘Frog Quartet’.
Haydn constrained himself still further in No 4 by opting for F sharp minor, an obscure key, exceptionally perilous to string intonation, that makes for an uneasy mood of suppressed emotions. Not, of course, that Catherine Manson and her three colleagues of the London String Quartet have any problems with the tuning here, though they cannot quite avoid a slight roughness of timbre in this difficult key, which was probably Haydn’s intention in choosing it.
For the rest, gut strings and paucity of vibrato notwithstanding, they play with all the radiant resonance of timbre of their previous release in this on-going Haydn series. Maybe the opening movement of No 2 is a little too beautiful to articulate all its cut and thrust; maybe the outer movements of No 3 are a bit too hasty and throwaway. But there is never a dull moment, and the recording is of answering immediacy and bloom. -Bayan Northcottб BBC Music Magazine

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String Quartet in B flat major Op 50 No 1
1 Allegro[8’43]
2 Adagio[7’28]
3 Menuetto: Poco allegretto[3’15]
4 Vivace assai[4’49]
String Quartet in C major Op 50 No 2
5 Vivace[12’16]
6 Adagio[4’45]
7 Menuetto: Allegro[4’00]
8 Vivace assai[7’02]
String Quartet in E flat major Op 50 No 3
9 Allegro con brio[6’22]
10 Andante più tosto allegretto[7’24]
11 Menuetto: Allegretto[4’47]
12 Presto[4’44]
String Quartet in F sharp minor Op 50 No 4
13 Spiritoso[9’05]
14 Andante[7’55]
15 Menuetto: Poco allegretto[4’14]
16 Fuga: Allegro molto[2’06]
String Quartet in F major ‘The Dream’ Op 50 No 5
17 Allegro moderato[7’45]
18 Poco adagio[3’47]
19 Menuetto: Allegretto[4’21]
20 Vivace[6’07]
String Quartet in D major ‘The Frog’ Op 50 No 6
21 Allegro[9’50]
22 Poco adagio[6’41]
23 Menuetto: Allegretto[4’41]
24 Allegro con spirito[6’44]

Catherine Manson violin
Michael Gurevich violin
James Boyd viola
Jonathan Manson cello