Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Nationality: Austrian
Born: March 31, 1732, Rohrau, Austria Died: May 31, 1809, Vienna (age 77)

String Quartet in D major, Op. 64, "Tost", No. 5, Hob.III:63, "Lark"

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
6:29 I. Allegro moderato
6:13 II. Adagio cantabile
3:19 III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:19 IV. Finale. Vivace
Duration: 20 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1790 (age 57-58)
Published: 1791 (age 58-59)
Dedication: Johann Tost
9 recordings, 29 videos
autoplay
5:39
Buchberger Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:51
Buchberger Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:42
Buchberger Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:19
Buchberger Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
6:31
Kodály Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
6:39
Kodály Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:24
Kodály Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:10
Kodály Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
6:02
Emerson String Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:18
Emerson String Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:16
Emerson String Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
6:08
Danish String Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
6:10
Danish String Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:12
Danish String Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:05
Danish String Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
19:55
Jerusalem Quartet
22:27
Festetics Quartet
6:26
Cleveland Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
6:26
Cleveland Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:24
Cleveland Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:06
Cleveland Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
6:45
Borodin Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
6:18
Borodin Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:44
Borodin Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
2:18
Borodin Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
6:32
Attacca Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
6:05
Attacca Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile
3:00
Attacca Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
3:03
Attacca Quartet
IV. Finale. Vivace
From Kai Christiansen

Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5, "The Lark", 1790

Haydn enjoyed a long life of well-being and success. As a composer, he pursued a steady, productive course of growth, continual refinement and remarkable perfection of music in the Viennese Classical style of which he was a prime architect. Central to this history was Haydn's steady employment of over thirty years at the Esterhazy court where he enjoyed complete control of the estate's musical activities and the freedom to create within an insulated environment of total support. The six string quartets, Op. 64, were the last he wrote within this enclave. While completing them, Haydn was granted a pension and the freedom to travel abroad to London where he was adored as the greatest living international composer. There, Haydn composed and performed for an entirely new public setting. The Op. 64 quartets can therefore be considered the last he wrote for the traditional chamber music setting characterized by intimacy and nuance; Haydn's final quartets were composed with the London concerts in mind, and the music shows a corresponding shift in style towards grander public effects. Each of the Op. 64 quartets demonstrates Haydn's mature mastery of the medium he practically invented.

The String Quartet, Op. 64 No. 5 in D major is probably the most popular of Haydn's eighty-three string quartets, its familiarity engendering two different nicknames. The first violin's singing melody in the first movement inspired the most common title, The Lark. The perpetually lively tempo and upbeat mood of the finale suggested its alternate name, The Hornpipe, an association with it debut performances in England. Although each of Haydn's quartets is unique in character and construction, The Lark is a perfect representative of the entire genre. Like the majority of string quartets throughout the history of the form, its four movements provide a superior entertainment in four acts aptly described by Paul Epstein as "a story, a song, a dance and a party".

The first movement is a concise sonata featuring the lark theme, an expertly crafted progression of rhythmic effects, a tight development and a novel double recapitulation for a fully realized conclusion. The second movement is a lovely song for the first violin with the familiar structure of an aria: a lyrical theme, a middle departure into a darker cast, and a welcome return of the original theme with poignantly emphatic elaborations. The third movement dances to the traditional form of the minuet with a contrasting trio temporarily clouding the mood with an excursion into a minor key. Many have commented that the energetic finale is likely the chief source of this quartet's popularity. Bright, energetic and driving with perpetual motion, it is a celebration of seemingly effortless virtuosity that, as if by dazzling sleight of hand, intensifies into an almost manic fugato of grand counterpoint that just as swiftly merges back into its merry refrain likened to a hornpipe. The quartet's popularity is equally due to the almost immediate accessibility of its successful musical themes predominantly cast into clear, concise structures of a simple ternary or ABA form. Haydn's technical prowess in creating such effortlessly engaging yet enduring music is one measure of his subtle genius.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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