Sunday, 26 July 2015

Haydn - String Quartets Opp. 71 & 74 - Takacs Quartet

Rating: 5/5

Quite brilliant These recordings of Haydn's Op.71 and Op.74 quartets are, as you would expect from The Takacs Quartet, quite brilliant. They are very fine works from a master composer, played by arguably the greatest string quartet currently performing and the result is wonderful.

Haydn's string quartets are a source of endless variety, depth, joy and sheer beauty and the Op. 71 and Op. 74 sets contain three lovely examples each. The music is a joy, full of melody and ingenious structure and counterpoint, with that delightful twinkle in Haydn's eye never too far away, and it's just a pleasure to hear any of them.

The performances are superb. They are thoughtful and respectful to Haydn's intentions and understand that Haydn often said serious things in a witty way. All the musical, emotional and intellectual depth in these works is well to the fore. Technically the players are superb, with impeccable intonation and quite restrained use of vibrato and rubato. There is also an almost miraculous understanding between them, all of which makes the performances lovely and clean, and full of beauty and sheer enjoyment. I have for years owned dearly loved performances of these quartets by The Lindsays, but I prefer these; the sheer crispness and clarity of these interpretations is a revelation.

The recorded sound is, as always from Hyperion, excellent. There are detailed, interesting notes and the presentation is very attractive. Both of these discs are simply excellent all round and I recommend them very warmly indeed.

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