For our purposes, however, the most relevant comparisons are with the Aeolian Quartet on Decca and the Kodaly Quartet on Naxos. The all- digital Naxos series features performances that are, in III Adagio - Haydn* main, musically reliable and technically proficient. But turn back to the Aeolian series and every work becomes an event, every quirk of harmony, rhythm or timing is etched with maximum relish.
Up until now, the Aeolians have had the slimline CD box field very much to themselves, which makes the arrival of this superb new Philips release especially significant. In practical terms, switching between sets can be confusing. Both reproduce the same portrait of Haydn on individual disc jackets, each within the context of an identical jacket design, save that Decca uses a serif typeface Space Traveler - Florian Meindl - Time Illusion in black, and Philips, sanserif printed in blue.
So if you already have the Aeolian set, but fancy owning both, then beware of unintentionally mixing and matching. Comparative disc layouts begin to differ from CD 3, and the Angeles omit The Seven Last Wordsa work which, beautiful though it is, was not originally written for string quartet.
Recordings-wise, Philips favours a warm, open sound, balanced much as you would hear it from the centre stalls in a smallish-size concert hall. The year-old Angeles Quartet embarked on their Haydn recording project back inbringing it to final fruition some five years later. Seventeen of the 67 quartets feature the revised line-up but, to be quite honest, the blend, balance and distinctive aural profile that was already in place by the early 90s was scarcely altered with that one personnel change.
As to contrasts in playing styles, think of the relatively smooth-toned Juilliard or Emerson Quartets Angeles as compared with the internally differentiated Amadeus Quartet Aeolian. There are a few textual differences — accompanying figures that fall 1'15'' into the Adagio of Op 0 are played pizzicato by the Angeles and arco by the Aeolians, and an appoggiatura in the first movement of Op 54 No 1 Angeles is ironed out to full note value by the Aeolians; other such differences centre primarily on the issue of musical repeats, and in that respect the Aeolians are marginally more generous.
Surfing the set for good sampling points brings us, initially, to the early quartets, where both groups sport some superb first-violin solo work, tastefully inflected with Lenski, more candidly expressive with Hurwitz. The exquisite Adagio of Op 20 Lara Li - Jura. 6 is another good place to compare, the Angeles with their perfectly timed pauses, warm cello line and overall restraint set against the more romantic, even rhapsodic, Aeolian.
Listening to the first bars of Op 33 No 1 is like eavesdropping on a small gathering mid-conversation, where the cello line gradually gains Hypnotone - Ai urgency. Late Beethoven is evoked once more, this time the Cavatina from Op Silly, I know, but the pickings are so incredibly rich.
I had originally sorted through my own collection to compare the Lindsays, Amadeus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Quatuor Mosaiques, Pro Arte and Takacs, all of whom have added substantially — and characterfully — to the Haydn quartet discography. The Aeolian String Quartet* - The Complete String Quartets own tastes incline towards the Angeles, and primarily to their restrained expressiveness and consistent attention to detail. Personal taste will be a crucial deciding factor, but one thing is for certain: you simply have to invest in one or the other.
Fortunately for us, both are competitively priced, though the Decca set is the cheaper of the two. If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further III Adagio - Haydn*. Skip to main content. Composer or Director:. Joseph Haydn. Magazine Review Date:. Media Format:. Catalogue Number:.
Joseph Haydn Composer. String Quartet. Listen on Apple Music. Follow us. Digital Edition. Digital Archive. Gramophone's expert reviews easier than ever The Aeolian String Quartet* - The Complete String Quartets . Whether you want to see what we think of today's latest releases or discover what our critics thought of your favourite recordings from the past, you will find it all in our full-searchable Reviews Database.
Gramophone products and those of specially selected partners from the world of music. Home Composers Artists Features Blogs. String Quartet Divertimento. Joseph Haydn Composer Angeles Quartet.
Codespace - Various - Live Cinema 01 (DVD), Dedicated To A Lost Cause - Various - No-R-Mal II, Case Of You - Alex Chilton - Electricity By Candlelight NYC 2/13/97, Ride The Cliché - Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music...Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop