CD: Haydn: String Quartets Op 50: The Lindsays

(ASV Gold, two CDs, available separately)

It is hard, after listening to this pair of fresh, lively and intensely musical recordings, to understand why the Lindsays have decided to cease their activities as a quartet this year. There are presumably more discs where these came from still to be released, though whether the group is going to complete its cycle of Haydn's quartets is still not clear. It would be a fitting end to a distinguished collective career that has seen them tackle most of the staples of the classical quartet literature on disc as well as investigating some of the less well-covered areas of the 20th-century repertory, too.

The six quartets of Haydn's Op 50, which were completed in 1787 and dedicated to the king of Prussia, have been regarded as his response to the set of six that Mozart had dedicated to Haydn two years earlier. The music certainly strikes out into unexpectedly dark chromatic territory at times, but there it never attempts to imitate the younger composer's lyrical flexibility. This is always Haydn at his most rugged and no-nonsense. As usual, the Lindsays positively relish the punchy rhythmic shapes and well-mannered phrases, as well as the robust humour that drives so much of the invention.

They have never been a group to put technical finish above emotional involvement in their playing; there is no cultivation of a silky smooth sound or impeccable ensemble for its own sake. If musical truth requires a few rough edges or the odd loose end, that has never bothered them - though on these two discs, those technical imperfections are very few indeed and the intonation problems that have sometimes clouded their playing seem to be firmly in the past. All six performances are wonderfully buoyant, alive to every detail and totally committed; the recording has just the right warmth and degree of resonance. Definitely worth hearing.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

CD: Borodin: String Quartets, etc: Lindsays

(ASV)

Edward Greenfield

12, Sep, 2003 @12:43 AM

Haydn: String Quartets Op 20 – review
Performed on original instruments in period style, these performances often seem strikingly austere, and won't be to all tastes, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Sep, 2011 @9:15 PM

Haydn: 27 String Quartets; Seven Last Words | CD review

One of the most treasurable collections of the Amadeus Quartet's Hayden recordings, says Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

27, Aug, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
Classical CD: Monteverdi Choir / Gardiner, Haydn Masses

(DG, 2CDs)

Edward Greenfield

08, Nov, 2002 @2:42 AM

Haydn String Quartets Op 71 & 74 – review
From the perfect weighting of every chord, to buoyant rhythms, and a sense of effortless transparency, the Takács ensure that no details in these Haydn quartets are missed, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

24, Nov, 2011 @10:45 PM

Article image
CD: Haydn: Die Schopfung: Janowitz/ Wunderlich/ Prey/ Borg/ Vienna Singverein/ Vienna PO/ Karajan

(Deutsch Grammophon)

Edward Greenfield

09, Jul, 2004 @12:32 AM

Article image
CD: Haydn, The Seasons

It is astonishing that Haydn, at the end of his career, could write with such youthful exuberance in his culminating masterpiece, The Seasons. This period performance under René Jacobs brings out the joy of this piece, based on James Thomson's poem: he nudges the music persuasively when Haydn has fun with the lowing of cattle, the cry of the quail and the chirping of the cricket.

Edward Greenfield

08, Oct, 2004 @12:59 AM

Article image
CD review: Haydn: Die Schopfung (The Creation), Hengelbrock et al

(2 CDs)

Edward Greenfield

10, Jan, 2003 @1:58 AM

Article image
Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn; Sonata in F minor Op 34b

(Sony Classical)

Andrew Clements

01, Jul, 2005 @1:20 AM

CD: Beethoven, String Quartets

Op 95 in F min.; Op 127 in E flat, Lindsays (ASV)

Edward Greenfield

03, Jan, 2003 @12:22 AM