July CD of the Month: Haydn Quartet Innovations

The string quartets composed by Joseph Haydn influenced this chamber music form for many years to come. Keep in mind that even Mozart, dedicated six of his own Quartets as a tribute to Haydn.

Now we have a new recording that demonstrates the amazing nature of Haydn’s music.

Haydn: ‘Sun’ Quartets Op.20, Nos. 4-6 (Vol. 2)

String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 4 in D major ‘Sun’
String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 5 in F minor
String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 6 in A Major

All performed by the Chiaroscuro Quartet

The so-called ‘Sun’ quartets of Joseph Haydn’s Op. 20 are often said to represent an unprecedented flowering of his string quartet writing. The six quartets demonstrate their compositional flexibility, humor, and ability to surprise us. Every bar is full of a sense of musical adventure, a feeling that Haydn is creating bridges between styles and ideas and forging a composite vision of four-part string writing that draws on every historical source that he knew.

On this second instalment, the last three quartets of the set are performed by the Chiaroscuro Quartet, an international ensemble formed in 2005 by the violinists Alina Ibragimova (Russia) and Pablo Hernán Benedí (Spain), the Swedish violist Emilie Hörnlund and cellist Claire Thirion from France.

The Guardian wrote last month:

“done with exquisite taste. The playing is intense and refined, exploratory and poised. The sound is featherweight, but there is grit and substance when needed. Alina Ibragimova leads with typical grace and ferocity, but this is real chamber music: the attack is immaculate and spirited from all four musicians.”

Here is the lush sound of the Chiaroscuro Quartet in Hayden’s Opus 20, number 1:

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