III Adagio Ma Non Tanto - Haydn*, The Aeolian String Quartet* - The Complete String Quartets
Label: Decca - none • Format: 296x, File MP3, Compilation 320 kbps • Genre: Classical • Style: Classical
For our purposes, however, the most relevant comparisons are with the Aeolian Quartet on Decca and the Kodaly Quartet on Naxos. The all- digital Naxos series features performances that are, in the main, musically reliable and technically proficient. But turn back to the Aeolian series and every work becomes an event, every quirk of harmony, rhythm or timing is III Adagio Ma Non Tanto - Haydn* with maximum relish.
Up until now, the Aeolians have had the slimline CD box field very much to themselves, which makes the arrival of this superb new Philips release especially significant. In practical terms, switching between sets can be confusing. Both reproduce the same portrait of Haydn on individual disc jackets, each within the context of an identical jacket design, save that Decca uses a III Adagio Ma Non Tanto - Haydn* typeface printed in black, and Philips, sanserif printed in blue.
So if you already have the Aeolian set, but fancy III Adagio Ma Non Tanto - Haydn* both, then beware of unintentionally mixing and matching. Comparative disc layouts begin to differ from CD 3, and the Angeles omit The Seven Last Wordsa work which, beautiful though it is, was not originally written for string quartet. Recordings-wise, Philips favours a warm, open sound, balanced much as you would hear it from the centre stalls in a smallish-size concert hall.
The year-old Angeles Quartet embarked on their Haydn recording project back inbringing it to final fruition some five years later. Seventeen of the 67 quartets feature the revised line-up but, to be Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum - Gabrieli*, Monteverdi*, Vivaldi* - The Glory Of Venice: Masters o honest, the blend, balance and distinctive aural profile that was already in place by the early 90s was scarcely altered with that one personnel change.
As to contrasts in playing styles, think of the relatively smooth-toned Juilliard or Emerson Quartets Angeles as compared with the internally differentiated Amadeus Quartet Aeolian. There are a few textual differences — accompanying figures The Aeolian String Quartet* - The Complete String Quartets fall 1'15'' into the Adagio of Op 0 are played pizzicato by the Angeles and arco by the Aeolians, and an appoggiatura in the first movement Flying - Jazz Spastiks - The Product Op 54 No 1 Angeles is ironed out to full note value by the Aeolians; other such differences centre primarily on the issue of musical repeats, and in that respect the Aeolians are marginally more generous.
Surfing the set for good sampling points brings us, initially, to the early quartets, where both groups sport some superb first-violin solo work, tastefully inflected with Lenski, more candidly expressive with Hurwitz. The exquisite Adagio of Op 20 No 6 is another good place to compare, the Angeles with their perfectly timed pauses, warm cello line and overall restraint set against the more romantic, even rhapsodic, Aeolian.
Listening to the first bars of Op 33 No 1 is like eavesdropping on a small gathering mid-conversation, where the cello line gradually gains in urgency. Late Beethoven is evoked once more, this time the Cavatina from Op Silly, I know, but the pickings are so incredibly rich. I had originally sorted through my own collection to compare the Lindsays, Amadeus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Quatuor Mosaiques, Pro Arte and Takacs, all of whom have added substantially — and characterfully Is - Arca - By to the Haydn quartet discography.
My own tastes incline towards the Angeles, and primarily to their restrained expressiveness and consistent attention to detail. Personal taste will be a crucial deciding factor, but one thing is for certain: you simply have to invest in one or the other.
Fortunately for us, both are competitively priced, though the Decca set is the cheaper of the two. If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information. Skip to main content. Composer or Director:. Joseph Haydn. Magazine Review Date:. Media Format:. Catalogue Number:.
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