Friday, 21 July 2017

Haydn - String Quartets - Goldmund Quartet

Rating: 5/5

Very good Haydn

This is a fine disc of Haydn.  Any quartet these days faces the challenge of matching some terrific interpretations of Haydn by truly great quartets like Quatuor Mosaiques, The Lindsays and others, but the Goldmund Quartet stand up very well beside them.

My sole (minor) quibble with this disc is the programming.  I understand the almost "first to last" idea, but I have to say that although Op.1, No.1 is charming in its way, it isn't something I'd look to for repeated listening.  However, the other two quartets here are excellent.

The Goldmunds are technically excellent and they plainly get Haydn.  They bring out his humorous twinkle where appropriate, they understand that he often said serious things in a witty way and they also find the real depth in the music.  I really started to sit up and take notice of this disc when I got to the largo of Op.33 No.5, which is quite lovely; the quartet play with a beautiful, unfussy simplicity and balance, allowing the music to speak for itself.  Their phrasing is exemplary, they don't overburden the music with vibrato or overblown look-how-strongly-we're-feeling-this gestures and the result is a limpid beauty with genuine power and depth.  Other movements have a similarly appropriate touch, and the towering masterpiece which is Op.77 No.1 is done full justice.

I didn't know what to expect, but I was very impressed indeed with this disc and I will be looking out for more recordings by the Goldmund Quartet.  I can recommend this very warmly.

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