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Haydn: String Quartets Opus 20 'Sun'

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Frequently Bought Together

Haydn: String Quartets Opus 20 'Sun' + Haydn: String Quartets Op.17 + Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 9 (Performed from the 1790 London edition)
Price For All Three: £44.01

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Product details

  • Composer: Joseph Haydn
  • Audio CD (30 Aug. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0058JDCMG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. String Quartet in E flat major Op 20 No 1
2. String Quartet in C major Op 20 No 2
3. String Quartet in G minor Op 20 No 3
Disc: 2
1. String Quartet in D major Op 20 No 4
2. String Quartet in F minor Op 20 No 5
3. String Quartet in A major Op 20 No 6

Product Description

CD Description

Haydns remarkable Opus 20 quartets are rightfully regarded as landmarks in the history of the string quartet. Throughout the six contrasting quartets the composer employs compositional techniques that were to shape and define the genre. We witness a deviation in style from the lightness and wit of his previous quartets to a mood of emotional intensity and darker musical imagery. The six Opus 20 works are all individually exquisite masterpieces and demonstrate a composer at the height of creative maturity. They display an astonishing consistency of excellence and a huge variety of form and style, contrasting dynamics and relentless energy. Increasingly polyphonic textures are infused with a sense of drama, and the cello is often freed from its basso continuo roots to a position of prominence. The London Haydn Quartet is the ideal advocate for these works and gives elegant, radiant and exhilaratingly assured performances.


The London Haydn Quartet are working their way through their eponymous composer's string quartets slowly and chronologically; Hyperion released the Op 9 set in 2007, while those of Op 17 came out two years ago. It's with the six quartets of Op 20, composed in the early 1770s, though, that the LHQ begin to tackle the core quartet repertory. Using gut strings, classical bows and a bare minimum of vibrato, and making a point of using the Artaria edition of the works that Haydn himself supervised for publication in 1801, their performances often seem strikingly austere, and will not be to all tastes; they sometimes have a rawness that harks back to the early hair-shirt days of the period-instrument movement. In the faster music, that edge to the sound gives the performances extra bite.*** --Guardian,01/09/11

The commitment of this string quartet to one composer pays off.Their wiry,period tone suits Haydn's melodius,down-to-earth writing.They capture the urbane wit and complex intelligence of Vienna's first superstar. **** --Classic fm Magazine,Nov'11

Haydn's last thoughts on his 'Sun' Quartets in provocative performances. --Gramophone awards issue '11

The almost vibrato-less playing is immaculate in intonation and subtly responsive to shifts and contrasts of Haydn's invention. Performance *** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,Dec'11

Critics Choice 2011 --Gramophone,Dec'11

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Miller on 11 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Compared to the other recordings that I have of the op20 set, this one sounds very lean and spare. It is much less dynamic that the Mosaiques, who are also on period instruments, and the Auryn, and less dynamic than the Pellegrini. The London Haydn Quartet sound reminds me of viols, so if that's your taste you'll like this. I don't think the wonderful range of emotional expression of Haydn comes through, nor the 'dialogue between intelligent individuals'. I would recommend any of the other three sets that I have named.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By PB in France on 7 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Revelatory performances and superb recordings of these fascinating seminal works. Beautiful in sound, yet never sacrificing artistic truth, details are revealed again and again by a string quartet whose love of Haydn is evident.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very good Haydn 8 Aug. 2013
By Nathaniel R. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Opus 20 sees Haydn showing what he can do: the second, fourth and fifth quartets end with a demonstration of fugal writing that marks Haydn for once and for all as a master of both the quartet idiom and the art of counterpoint. The London Haydn Quartet play with perfect tuning (little or no vibrato) and ensemble, and a genial but strict understanding of what makes Haydn tick - without a healthy dash of humor much is lost, but these players revel in the music. The Lindsays provide a bit more "bang" in the explosive fortissimo of the fugue in Number Two, and a richer, more modern sound, but the London players know what they are about. One of the recordings of gut strings I have heard, and outstanding, lifelike sound from Hyperion. A major new cycle shaping up; I can't imagine being without the Lindsays in this music, but the period playing of the Londoners makes this a valuable addition to the collection.
Five Stars 5 Jan. 2015
By Paul W. Guglietti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fine performances, good sound, and a great price.
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