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THE SEVENTH ALBUM
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