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Haydn String Quartets, Op. 17 Nos. 1 - 6
performed from the London edition published by Welcker circa 1774

The London Haydn Quartet

Hyperion CDA 67722

The tricentenary of Franz Joseph Haydn's death date (1732-1809) has proved more remakable in the discoveries unearthed than those in the recent Mozart year (which may be most remembered for the bizarre Salzburg opera productions, desperately trying to be modern and different).

Hyperion's issue of "the underrated Op 17 set, on the whole less showy, and more attractive melodically, than those of Op 9" (Richard Wigmore © 2009) is another landmark in Hyperion's catalogue.

Although we are regulars at Wigmore Hall I have not found a website for this group nor any UK schedule of live appearances... We have reviewed early instrument string quartets in the past, including the highly rated Quatuor Mosaïques, but on this showing (superbly recorded in St George's, Bristol by Philip Hobbs) these Londoners are in a different class.

How did it happen that vibrato became de rigeur for "expression"? These super-sensitive players make you listen actively to every moment, and this set has provided an uniquely intense experience, raising the game for historically informed performance to new heights of pleasure.

At two-for-the-price-of-one, this twofer is an essential buy, and it is also graced by excellent commentaries on each of the works.

Peter Grahame Woolf