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CD Review

Franz Joseph Haydn

Works for String Quartet

  • Divertimento (Cassatio) in C Major, Op. 1 #6
  • Quartet for Strings #70 in D Major, Op. 71 #2
  • Quartet for Strings #82 in F Major, Op. 77 #2
Fitzwilliam String Quartet
Divine Art Diversions DDV24151 63m DDD
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These three works are full of the joie de vivre and typical Haydenesque spirit which we found in the composer's numerous works for string quartet. Having been weaned on such luminaries as the Aeolian String Quartet (the legendary complete Decca recordings in boxed format) or the Amadeus Quartet, the Fitzwilliam interpretations reach the same exalted standards.

The rarely heard Divertimento is given a spanking performance with the dazzling Finale particularly enticing. The same goes for the D Major quartet which is one of Haydn's finest as the copious notes so aptly inform us. All is rounded off with the fabulous F Major quartet, a miracle of unforced motion if there ever was one and superbly played by the Fitzwilliam quartet.

The recordings come from a live performance from 2001 with sound which is as perfect as one can get. I have already hinted at the up market presentation and the detailed annotations which go part and parcel with these exquisite interpretations. A disc which is a serious must for all Haydn quartet fans.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.