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HAYDN Opus 20 - St. Lawrence String Quartet 
2 Audio CDs + Booklet 68 pages - EAS 29382 - Total Time: 153' 52'' - 

Worldwide Release: 31 August 2019


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Tracking List

  

CD 1

Quartet Op.20 No. 1 in E-flat major

01. Allegro Moderato

02. Minuet. Un poco allegretto

03. Affettuoso e sostenuto

04. Finale. Presto


Quartet Op.20 No. 2 in C major

05. Moderato

06. Capriccio. Adagio

07. Menuet. Allegretto

08. Fuga a cuattro soggetti. Allegro


Quartet Op.20 No. 3 in G minor

09. Allegro con spirito

10. Menuet. Allegretto

11. Poco adagio

12. Finale. Allegro di molto

CD 2

Quartet Op.20 No. 4 in D major

01. Allegro di Molto

02. Un poco adagio e affettuoso

03. Menuet alla Zingarese. Allegretto

04. Presto e scherzando


Quartet Op.20 No. 5 in F minor

05. Moderato

06. Menuet

07. Adagio

08. Finale. Fuga a 2 Soggetti


Quartet Op.20 No. 5 in F minor

09. Allegro di molto e scherzando

10. Adagio

11. Menuet

12. Fuga con 3 Soggetti. Allegro

  

Listen & Watch

  

  

About the Artist

  

About the Project

  

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The double deluxe album of the American St. Lawrence String Quartet contains two CDs as well as a large booklet with a CD accompanying conversation between the quartet and the Stanford University musicologist Stephen Hinton.


Excerpt from the booklet: Interview with the quartet:

Why do you like to play the quartets of this opus in particular?

Geoff Nuttall: I just don’t know anything else like it. Each one of the Opus 20 quartets somehow encapsulate an entire world in one piece, and so effortlessly. Within the same work you have whimsy, you have pathos, you have this incredible expression, you have perfect clockwork counterpoint. It’s an amalgam of all these things, yet he’s not showing off.

Christopher Costanza: We could point to any number of things. Democracy-in-action, for starters. Parts more equally distributed among the players. As a cellist I’m very grateful for the Opus 20s because ultimately it set the stage for other composers to say Hey, it doesn’t always have to be a first violin backup band! These are really complex and interesting fugues with multiple subjects, the fact that each is so unique from the other, that slow movement of Opus 20.

Owen Dalby: Not a single wasted note. It’s so concise.

Geoff: Haydn's not doing it to show how great he is, he's doing it as a distillation of the hu- man experience — and they're short! There's no fat. Haydn does “deeply felt” and “humor- ous” in just the perfect proportion. Take no. 1. You go from this sunny, jubilant, quirky but effortless first movement, and then the minuet is incredible. But then the slow movement is one of the most deeply felt pieces we ever perform, by any composer. It's easily as good as late Beethoven. And then the final movement is a release from that, and somehow the balance of that journey has never been bettered. For us, these Opus 20’s are perfection. And that's why I think it works as a six-piece experience because each one is a journey, but without fat. You don't feel bloated as a player or a listener at the end of each piece.

Like Beethoven, Haydn was a relatively late developer as a composer compared to, say, Mozart. He was forty when he wrote Opus 20. Before that he had been working at the Esterháza court and chiefly involved in the production of symphonies and operas. That is a hell of an education for a composer — and a time-consuming one. People tend to ignore his operas and their role in that education; they contain some amazing music, music whose dramatic and lyrical language finds its way into the symphonies but also into the quartets. It's music that runs the full gamut of expression.

Owen: He's got that operatic ease to his melodies, and at the same time, such sparkling counterpoint. His inner voices contain really virtuoso music and they’re immensely satisfying to play.

Lesley Robertson: Absolutely true! The part writing for the inner voices is varied and richly chameleon-esque. We live the full spectrum of voicing and character —from grounding bass to texture & harmony to soaring 

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