Haydn Quartets – miracles of conciseness, wit and invention. Favourite recordings?

Music & Arts have just released roughly half of them as played by the Schneider Quartet (1950s). Then there’s the Aeolian, Angeles and Kodály Quartets, the first two being especially notable. Any thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Haydn Quartets – miracles of conciseness, wit and invention. Favourite recordings?

  1. allanevans565053587

    Many corrections have come about to Haydn scores since the early recordings were prepared and display even more insightful and piquant chromatic touches! As much as the older groups, especially the Capet, Buxbaum, Loewenguth, and Hungarian String Quartet, I am astonished at the rawness and vitality of the Festetics! They not only perform from more accurate editions but fearlessly circumvent the niceties that quartets aim for by streamlining their parts into a unity.

    I’m eager to have suggestions for other current and recent ensembles engaged in Haydn. Here in New York and environs the Brentano are remarkable and ought to program more by Haydn. Glad you’ve opened up this topic Rob! Brahms had Haydn manuscripts and did his homework, and now so will we!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am with Allan, and for the same reasons. Easily my favorite cycle, and I have all the period instrument recordings. Since we are talking merely favorites here and not ‘best’ (whatever that might be), I can then say that Mosaiques aren’t my favorites, but for intangible reasons, not because they aren’t perfect. In fact, that may be the thing; I don’t view perfection as a prime requisite, not to the extent that it dominates the performance You don’t play Op 20, for example, as a recital, you play it as an evening of music making with your friends. That is why Festetics are so successful.

    There are few competing projects ongoing right now. London Haydn Quartet are excellent, now they seem to have shed their own recital syndrome issues. Their Op 20 & 33 have been outstanding, giving one hope for Op 50, that neglected gleam of Haydnish brilliance.

    The best work is seeming to be taking place in the ‘variety pack’ format pursued by such superb groups as the Schuppanzigh Quartet on Accent and the Amsterdam SQ on Channel. These five total disks don’t have a low point that I have found, although sadly they have tackled some of the same repertoire, which seems odd when there are 68 to choose from!

    I rarely play the favorite performance game, I believe all performances have some highs and low and I would hate to get stuck in a listening rut sitting here with my solitary ‘best’ cut! That said, I love my Haydn quartets and would like to see others spread out their own listening a bit, and give those 50 year old performances a miss while there are new and interesting recordings being made as we speak!



  3. Steven Swalbe

    Strange about “Kodaly”. Going thru my cassettes, I played Haydn’s op 74/2 with them. He must have anticipated LvB’s last 6 with this one. Very adventurous!


  4. Steven Swalbe

    Going off on a tangent, as I often do, I played Haydn’s wrongly neglected S90 with Rattle (wasn’t with him) from a BBC recording from 2004 with BP.In the last movement ,there is what seems to be a final chord. Berlin audience applauds,. Piece continues in Eb (laughter) Rattle does the final repeat: C Major chord plus applause; and the Berliners were fooled again. Haydn did the same with at least 2 other Ss. Love the man.


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