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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
String Quartets Op. 64, Nos. 1, 2, 3

String Quartet in C Op. 64, No. 1
String Quartet in B minor Op. 64, No. 2
String Quartet in B flat Op. 64, No. 3
The Lindsays

Peter Cropper, violin
Roland Birks, violin
Robin Ireland, viola
Bernard Gregor-Smith, cello
Rec.: September 1999, Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, England.
ASV CD DCA 1083 [71.55]

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The Lindsays continue their recording of Haydns complete string quartets with this first disc of the Opus 64 quartets. Composed between 1787 and 1790, these quartets were part of a period of artistic ferment for Haydn. During this three-year period, he composed twelve quartets, as well as other music. The noted Haydn scholar, H C Robbins Landon, calls the Opus 64 quartets, "perhaps Haydns single greatest achievement of the period." These "flawless masterpieces" are models for what string quartets should be.

Listening to the rich variety of effects and melodies, one can easily appreciate Haydn's genius. From the lush opening allegro moderato of the first quartet to the mellow, intense adagio ma non troppo of the second quartet, to the vivace assai of the third quartet, with its folk melodies, these works are a showcase of Haydn's styles and musicality. Both intensely profound and lyrical, both intellectual and melodic, these quartets belong at the summit of Haydn's output.

The Lindsays certainly do justice to these works, instilling charm and energy into the faster movements, and giving the slow movements the passion they deserve. Their sound is excellent, though, at times, one might want to hear each instrument a little more clearly.

This is an excellent recording of three of Haydns finest quartets, and shows that The Lindsays merit the praise they have received.

Kirk McElhearn


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