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CD Review

Franz Joseph Haydn

String Quartets, Vol. 2

  • Quartet Op. 50 #1
  • Quartet Op. 50 #4
  • Quartet Op. 50 #5
Leipzig String Quartet
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG6071585-2 68m DDD
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The Leipzig String Quartet are now into their second volume of Haydn quartets and on the evidence produced so far, this should turn out to be one of the most interesting cycles in recent years.

The B Flat Major quartet is a fine work which heralds the more serious style which Haydn's works were wont to take in that period. The opening Allegro is dashing and uncompromising whilst the Adagio is full of delightful little touches. I also enjoyed the Vivace Finale which is much more sprightly here than with the Aeolian String Quartet – my selected comparison for the Haydn oeuvre.

The Op. 50 #4 is another finely structured work although it is slightly shorter than #1. The opening movement is marked Spritoso which rather reflects the deft interplay between instrumentalists. The Andante lasts almost eight minutes and here one can appreciate the lovely sense of empathy which underscores the quartet's players. The short Minuet and even shorter Finale are blissfully done with the music almost whizzing past in intensity.

Finally the fifth quartet from Op. 50 brings up the disc to a rousing close. Again one marvels at the irrepressible energy of the Leipzig players who really plumb the depths of the music especially in the Vivace which concludes the work. Fabulously detailed notes and excellent sound round off what is a desirable issue with the rest of the volumes most welcome.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech