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  • Haydn: 6 String Quartets, Op. 20
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Haydn: 6 String Quartets, Op. 20

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Audio CD, June 13, 2000
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Editorial Reviews


Disc: 1
1. String Quartet No. 28 in E flat major, Op. 20/1, H. 3/31: 1. Allegro moderato
2. String Quartet No. 28 in E flat major, Op. 20/1, H. 3/31: 2. Menuetto. Allegretto
3. String Quartet No. 28 in E flat major, Op. 20/1, H. 3/31: 3. Affettuoso e sostenuto
4. String Quartet No. 28 in E flat major, Op. 20/1, H. 3/31: 4. Finale. Presto
5. String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Op. 20/5, H. 3/35: 1. Allegro moderato
6. String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Op. 20/5, H. 3/35: 2. Menuetto
7. String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Op. 20/5, H. 3/35: 3. Adagio
8. String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Op. 20/5, H. 3/35: 4. Finale. Fuga a due Soggetti
9. String Quartet No. 24 in A major, Op. 20/6, H. 3/36: 1. Allegro di molto e Scherzando
10. String Quartet No. 24 in A major, Op. 20/6, H. 3/36: 2. Adagio. Cantabile
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. String Quartet No. 25 in C major, Op. 20/2, H. 3/32: 1. Moderato
2. String Quartet No. 25 in C major, Op. 20/2, H. 3/32: 2. Capriccio. Adagio
3. String Quartet No. 25 in C major, Op. 20/2, H. 3/32: 3. Menuet. Allegretto
4. String Quartet No. 25 in C major, Op. 20/2, H. 3/32: 4. Fuga a 4fro Soggetti
5. String Quartet No. 27 in D major, Op. 20/4, H. 3/34: 1. Allegro di molto
6. String Quartet No. 27 in D major, Op. 20/4, H. 3/34: 2. Un poco Adagio e affettuoso
7. String Quartet No. 27 in D major, Op. 20/4, H. 3/34: 3. Menuet alla Zingarese
8. String Quartet No. 27 in D major, Op. 20/4, H. 3/34: 4. Presto e Scherzando
9. String Quartet No. 26 in G minor, Op. 20/3, H. 3/33: 1. Allegro con spirito
10. String Quartet No. 26 in G minor, Op. 20/3, H. 3/33: 2. Menuet. Allegretto
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Erich Hobarth, Andrea Bischof, Anita Mitterer, Christophe Coin
  • Orchestra: Quatuor Mosaïques
  • Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
  • Audio CD (June 13, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B0000DETAX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,565 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Bahij Bawarshi on March 28, 2009
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I caught the Haydn 'bug' after listening to this exceptional set of quartets, music of the highest order. What makes this double CD so special, that it has received the firm support of chamber music enthusiasts and music critics alike, the Penguin Guide Rosette, and the highest awards of Gramophone and the French magazines, Diapason and Telerama? First is the intrinsic worth of Haydn's op. 20, in which Viennese quartet music reached maturity. Some have called it a milestone in the development of composition. The noted British musicologist and expert on Haydn's quartets, Sir Donald Tovey, wrote a long time ago, "With op. 20 the historical development of Haydn's quartets reaches its goal; and further progress is not progress in any historical sense, but simply the difference between one masterpiece and the next. Not all the later works are equally valuable; ... no later set of six quartets, not even op. 76, is on its own plane, so uniformly weighty and so varied in substance as op. 20."

Next in consideration is the performance of the ensemble, Quatuor Mosaiques (QM). Critical reviews have praised the players' technique, precision, and lucidity. The sound they generate through their period instruments is unique and has captured the imagination of the many devotees who collect the ensemble's recordings. It certainly has captured mine; for in the weeks following my first experience of op. 20, I went on to acquire all of QM's Haydn recordings. Was it worth the cost? To someone who likes Haydn's best quartets and takes to the sound and playing of QM, the answer is yes. To someone inclined to jump in, I recommend that you first invest in one set and find out whether it's your sort of music; op. 20 would make a great start.

All six quartets of op. 20 are remarkable pieces.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laraine A. Barker on June 13, 2010
to collect as many Haydn quartets played by the Quatuor Mosaïques as I could find. And I haven't been disappointed. The music on this set of CDs, despite the early opus number, is right out of the top drawer. Wonderful, glorious Haydn! It's hard to imagine he could produce greater quartets than those of Op. 20, but of course he did. There is no doubt that you are listening to period instruments in these performances, but there is none of that austere, acerbic sound that so plagued many early attempts at recording eighteenth century music using copies of eighteenth century instruments (a sound I never could understand; it always seemed to me gut SHOULD, by definition, sound warmer than metal).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jt52 on August 11, 2013
This recording of Haydn Op. 20 by the German Mosaiques Quartet, practitioners of historically-informed performance (HIP for short) has several merits, but also displays a lack of emotion and vitality in the performance.

The Mosaiques technique and the record engineering is generally outstanding. The Mosaiques have excellent intonation, execute fast passages with aplomb and the cellist, Christophe Coin, in particular is excellent, especially important here because Op. 20 often highlights the instrument. Aside from their individual parts, the ensemble playing is often excellent. For example, the Op. 20 no. 4 Minuet shows the Mosaiques playing with incredible tonal control to create a sophisticated blend of sound. The studio recording is a wonder, so much so that I've used it to compare audio components: three dimensional, impressive detail yet warm.

But while the Mosaiques technique is mostly flawless, they don't play with intensity and excitement all the time. The players sometimes plod along, do not take opportunities to enhance the drama of the music and stay within a limited dynamic range with underplayed accenting. This approach does Haydn a disservice.

I compared the Mosaiques to the Lindsay Quartet's Op. 20 set on ASV and recommend the latter as an alternative. To take one example, the Lindsay's interpretation of the slow movement of Op. 20 no. 3 evokes utter calm as the treble and bass lines trade off the elegant melody, to create a stunningly beautiful interpretation; the Mosaiques performance is certainly OK but doesn't attain that level of emotional concentration. Op. 20 no. 1 features a particularly large gulf in performance quality between the two recordings.
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