• Joseph Haydn

    Collection Complette des Quatuors - Volume 7

    The Festetics Quartet

    Collection Complette des Quatuors - Volume 7 2 cd A 417

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The present album is placed under the auspices of  the number 7: seventh of the nine collections of six  string quartets published by Haydn, therefore the  seventh volume planned in the Complete Quartets  Collection by the FESTETICS QUARTET, and finally,  the seventh volume appearing in our complete  recording of Joseph Haydn’s authenticated quartets.  At this stage, only the Opp. 20 and 33 remain  to be recorded and released, as well as the isolated  Opus 42. Those will be volumes 3 and 4, which  will doubtless be released in 2004 or early 2005. 

Each group presents its own mark and personality.  The previous release, Opus 54/55, featured unbridled  and sometimes experimental imagination.  The present opus marks the end of a long period  in the composer’s life (Esterhazá) and the opening  to the new universe constituted by the great London  adventure. For it was precisely during the  gestation of Opus 64 that Haydn’s patron, Nikolaus  the Magnificent, died in Vienna (1790), and the  English concert manager Salomon offered the musician  a fortune to embark on the great journey,  equipped with new symphonies and quartets.  Hence an unusual Opus 64 : four quartets in the  Viennese tradition – begun with Opus 50, which  was a response to the Quartets dedicated to Haydn  by his friend Mozart – and two quartets conceived  for an imagined English audience. And to top it  all off, a first edition in Vienna that follows the  order of composition, whereas in the English  edition, Haydn placed first the two works written  for London and composed last. It is this order  that our recording follows. 

The FESTETICS QUARTET had already recorded Opus  64 for another firm about ten years ago. The present  album is, of course, a new recording, as were Opp.  9 and 77 and as Opp. 33 and 42 will be.

MICHEL BERNSTEIN  Translated by John Tyler-Tuttle