Nur in den folgenden Ländern erhältlich: Europa und im Mittelmeerraum. Wir bedauern, dass eine Lieferung in andere Länder derzeit nicht möglich ist. Fehlerhafte Bestellungen werden nicht versendet.

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1995  THE FESTETICS QUARTET AFTER TEN YEARS

It was back in 1985 that four musicians who held  important positions in the musical life of Budapest  and who had for a long time been involved in  the performance of early music, decided to establish  a string quartet to play the music of the Viennese  classical school on period instruments. In this, they  were supported by one of the most eminent Haydn  scholars, László Somfai, who is at present director  of the Bartók Archives. 

In this way a quite new kind of collaboration was  established between an eminent musicologist and a  quartet in a situation to translate immediately on  period instruments the effects and nuances which  the researcher had shown through his study of the  different manuscripts and editions which had appeared  during Haydn’s lifetime. In its turn the Quartet  was able to confirm or modify the work of Somfai  with its own pertinent remarks and ideas. 

Hungary has developed a school of string quartet  playing which has left its mark on history since  the nineteenth century: some of the most memorable  string quartets have come from that country.  And that is why we can say that while German lands  have produced the composers, the bordering countries  have provided the performers. 

The FESTETICS QUARTET firmly belongs to this tradition:  with its unity of style, the beauty of its instruments  – originals and what originals! – its sense of  dialogue between contrasting parts with a perfect  fusion of unisons, and above all its special quality  of sound which is both incisive and sweet. For the  FESTETICS QUARTET making music is not a pretext for  a superficial demonstration but a kind of existential  respiration, with rather broad tempi, nourished by  an assured cultural heritage and by the individual  sensitivities of the performances. It is clear that the  FESTETICS QUARTET is a real quartet. 

Ideas have changed, with a desire to return to the  sources, an evolution in instrumental practice and the  Baroque revival which have engendered approaches  that are more particular, less tied to the fancy of the  performers and leaning more towards a less expressionist  and more objective interpretation of the music.  I myself have contributed to this evolution of ideas  by favouring the interpretations that have resulted  from musicological and organological research. There  are however two deviations from this path which  have changed the sound of the quartet and changed  the message of our great elders: the development of  the encounters between excellent musicians coming  from different instrumental schools has produced a  kind of playing that is brilliant but smooth, if lacking  something in profundity and a desire to make the  quartet sound like a chamber orchestra in miniature. But whereas the brilliance can bring creative benefits,  the orchestral sound is a heresy which makes my hair  stand on end and my teeth grind. 

I said that the FESTETICS QUARTET is one of the true  string quartets of our time. That is why it can arouse  limitless admiration or total rejection, according to the  idea of the quartet that the listener has formed. It involves  not only four partners united but a single instrument  of sixteen strings with total homogeneity,  maintained according to each register by four musicians  from the same school. Their sound implies specific  unisons, dynamic gradations, very individualized  timbres that result from listening to each other and,  characteristic of the Hungarian school, a sound that is  at the same time suave and harsh, nervous and lyrical. 

The new album published by ARCANA belongs to the  COMPLETE COLLECTION OFHAYDN’SQUARTETS which is presently in the course of realisation and whose publication  will extend over several years. It will include  the 58 authentic quartets recognized by such by  their composer, following the classification of Artaria,  the only catalogue established during the composer’s  lifetime and with his approval.

MICHEL BERNSTEIN