Haydn: String Quartets Opp. 71 and & 74, complete. Griller String Quartet. Vanguard SVC 62/63 (2-disc set).
Haydn continued to write string quartets for most of his composing life, and it is in this genre almost as much as in the symphonies that we have come to know and love his music. The six quartets comprising Opp. 71 and 74 come from his late middle period, and performed in sequence we can see a step-by-step advancement from the simple and relatively unadorned No. 1, Op. 71, through more and greater complexity to No. 3, Op. 74, the popular "Horseman" quartet. There is even reason to believe that these progressive relationships were intentional and that the six works were initially planned as a single group. It is easy, then, to see the reason for Vanguard's inclusion of both opus numbers in their two-disc set.
The beauty of the recordings is as much in the playing of the Griller String Quartet as in the obvious charms, emotions, verve, and diversity of Haydn's compositions themselves. The Quartet play with such precision that they communicate the disposition of a single player. This remarkable ability of four musicians to sound as one may be accounted for, perhaps, by the fact that at the time of this recording, 1959, the original members had been playing together as a unit for more than 30 years. It's no wonder they understood each other so well. Couple the Griller's impeccable execution with Vanguard's near faultless remastering, which renders each detail with warmth and clarity, and you have an ideal chamber music recording. Highly recommended.
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|Article Type:||Sound Recording Review|
|Date:||May 1, 1998|
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