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This review is from: Mozart: "Haydn" String Quartets (Audio CD)
As the year grinds to an end, I'm grateful for the new music and performances that have come my way over the past twelve months - and indeed, for our fellowship on Amazon. I continue to wonder why it is (sadly) so male-centric. But who among us has the fortitude to explain this phenomenon? Damnation awaits.
Among the highlights of 2013, there was none better than Mozart - Piano Quartets K478, K493. While much of it nowadays is invisible, it made my hair stand on end. Music is promissory, if not messianic; for the better part of early December, I needed that disc more than oxygen itself. If you want to sail to Byzantium with Yeats, here is your ticket:
"O sages standing in God's holy fire. As in the gold mosaic of a wall, come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, and be the singing-masters of my soul."
With enthusiasm therefore, I turned to YQ's earlier survey of Mozart's "Haydn" Quartets. It dates from the Nineties. Was there a seam of gold to be mined?
Alas, I cannot hear any greatness in this endeavour. It semi-resembles Iron Pyrite and that's about it. It's "Plain Jane" central. Refinement only gets you so far in this domain. While all the notes are extant and sensitively played, the lack of imagination is prodigious. I don't know if the personnel of the Ysaˇe Quartet has changed over time or if their art has deepened - manifestly, this is not the same ensemble that immolates the piano quartets to cinders and ash. I agree with Ray Kendall: the sound is mediocre at best.
Don't bother with this. Fire awaits you elsewhere.