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(Franz) Joseph  Haydn

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

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

String Quartet in f minor, Op. 20, Sun, No. 5, Hob.III:35

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Menuetto - Trio
III. Adagio
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
Composed: 1772 (age 39-40)
Published: 1774 (age 41-42)
Dedication: Prince Nikolaus Zmeskall von Domanovecz
Duration: 23 minutes (approximately)
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15 recordings, 53 videos
6:59
Hagen Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:03
Hagen Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
6:11
Hagen Quartet
III. Adagio
2:55
Hagen Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
6:08
Amernet String Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:35
Amernet String Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:37
Amernet String Quartet
III. Adagio
3:13
Amernet String Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
7:20
Attacca Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:58
Attacca Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:42
Attacca Quartet
III. Adagio
2:47
Attacca Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
11:45
Chiaroscuro Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:25
Chiaroscuro Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:02
Chiaroscuro Quartet
III. Adagio
3:44
Chiaroscuro Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
6:17
Cuarteto Saravasti
III. Adagio
7:27
D'Amici Quartet
Part 1 of 3
5:38
D'Amici Quartet
Part 2 of 3
8:40
D'Amici Quartet
Part 3 of 3
21:47
Ebène Quartet
7:10
Jerusalem Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:11
Jerusalem Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:21
Jerusalem Quartet
III. Adagio
3:10
Jerusalem Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
7:35
Kodály Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:09
Kodály Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
6:51
Kodály Quartet
III. Adagio
3:06
Kodály Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
10:32
Medici Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:40
Medici Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
6:25
Medici Quartet
III. Adagio
3:26
Medici Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
6:38
Orion String Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:11
Orion String Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:41
Orion String Quartet
III. Adagio
3:16
Orion String Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
10:59
Pellegrini Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:42
Pellegrini Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:12
Pellegrini Quartet
III. Adagio
3:01
Pellegrini Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
10:39
Quatuor Mosaïques
I. Allegro moderato
5:08
Quatuor Mosaïques
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:57
Quatuor Mosaïques
III. Adagio
3:26
Quatuor Mosaïques
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
8:20
Schneider Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
5:19
Schneider Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
5:20
Schneider Quartet
III. Adagio
3:09
Schneider Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti
8:07
Tátrai Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:37
Tátrai Quartet
II. Menuetto - Trio
6:11
Tátrai Quartet
III. Adagio
2:55
Tátrai Quartet
IV. Finale. Fuga a 2 soggetti

From Kai Christiansen:

Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

String Quartet in F-minor, Op. 20, No. 5, 1772

SunAccording to a list Haydn compiled of those works he considered his “true” string quartets, Op. 20 was his third set of six quartets, preceded by Op. 17 and Op. 9. All three sets were composed between 1769 and 1772, a period of merely three years in which the pioneering Haydn produced eighteen quartets. This burst of creative effort might well be regarded as the most important in the history of the string quartet. Showing a steady progress through Op. 9 and Op. 17 that yielded more than a few outstanding early works in the form, Haydn realized the full bounty of his exploration with Op. 20, six masterpieces conceived as an integrated set immediately regarded as a towering achievement, the very first crucial landmark in the history of the string quartet. The cover of the first printed version of Op. 20 featured an illustration of the sun and so they have been known as the “Sun” quartets ever since.

The legendary British musicologist Donald Tovey referenced this nearly prescient visual symbolism by writing that Op. 20 was “a sunrise over the domain of sonata style and quartets in particular.” Tovey continues with an astonishing assessment:

“Every page of the six quartets of Op. 20 is of historic and aesthetic importance; and though the total results still leave Haydn with a long road to travel, there is perhaps no single or sextuple opus in the history of instrumental music which has achieved so much or achieved it so quietly. …With Op. 20 the historical development of Haydn’s quartets reaches its goal; and further progress is not progress in any historical sense, but simply the difference between one masterpiece and the next.”

The Op. 20 quartets were essentially the first to achieve a prized balance of ensemble by granting the cello a melodic role within a partnership of equals. More groundbreaking, three of the quartets end with a fugue: Op. 20 represents the first important fusion of the gallant, dramatic sonata with learned counterpoint, a blend that would further promote the equality of instruments and define a new dynamic, hybrid texture as the sine qua non of Viennese classicism. Finally, within a set of unusual consistency of excellence, Haydn offers a breathtaking variety of forms, styles, topics and moods such that no two movements or quartets are alike. Each quartet is a unique and complex individual within a diverse community. Unusual among Haydn’s quartet sets, Op. 20 includes two in a minor key, a further example of variety and perhaps a reflection of the weight with which even Haydn regarded the set.

The String Quartet in f minor, Op. 20, No. 5 is among Haydn’s most intense quartets due to its dark and occasionally violent mood and its culmination in a severe fugue based on a terse, jagged subject. Probably the most frequently played of the group, it was placed first in the ordering of the Op. 20 quartets in Haydn’s original handwritten catalog of works. As such, it stands as a memorable sentinel at the portal opening unto the history of string quartet masterworks.

The quartet opens with taut sonata that, typical of those in a minor key, has readily discernible components: a first theme in a minor key, a second theme in a major key, and a recapitulation that vividly recasts the second back into the dominating minor. Haydn adds even greater clarity and impact to his dramatic transitions through a calculated use of silence; He breaks, suspends and delays the music to marvelous effect. Even in such an early quartet, Haydn crafts his sonata form with great flexibility. The recapitulation differs significantly from the exposition with a good deal of additional “development”, and the movement is famous for its sizable coda in which Haydn further intensifies the grave conclusion with a daring series of key changes that prepare the hushed ending with unsettling obliqueness. The coda’s material is drawn from the once bright second theme, here brought over to the dark side and paraded as a dour trophy of conquest.

As in half of the Op. 20 quartets, the Menuetto comes second. A little sonata itself, it maintains the stern face of F minor until its trio brings relief with the parallel key of F major, smooth melodic contours and a noticeable lightening of texture that recalls the traditional origin of the word “trio”: a trio of soloists in contrast to the full orchestra. Haydn uses silence again, this time for a light-hearted effect that highlights the final six bars of luscious texture, a final flourish before returning to the somber minuet. Serious relief from the serious arrives with the slow movement Adagio, a wonder of refreshing charm featuring still newer textures, an exquisite aria for the first violin, a little canon for violin duo and a delightful display of one of Haydn’s greatest powers: his imagination for variation. The movement is a siciliano, a moderately paced graceful Italian dance with dotted rhythms in a 6/8 meter and the mood of a pastorale. It was often used for opera arias or instrumental pieces featuring a simple, singing melody with a gentle lilt and clear, directly felt harmonies.

The finale is the first of three in Op. 20 that are fugues, one of Haydn’s chief innovations in this historic set. He proudly featured this new approach with a systematic design. With Haydn’s initial ordering, the Op. 20 quartets start with No. 5 followed by No. 6 and No. 2, so that the first three quartets each end with a fugue in a series of increasing density of unique themes, namely, 2, then 3, then 4 concurrent subjects (i.e. soggetti). The fugue is a technique of strict contrapuntal imitation that dates back to the mid-15th century. Culminating in the music of Bach, it subsequently fell out of favor with the new style of simplified expression that characterized the pre-Classical era. Haydn’s re-introduction of fugue added new intellectual, textural and dramatic dimensions to the music, which, along with and within the sophisticated development of sonata form defined the new era of Classical music. Within the context of chamber music, the contrapuntal demands of fugue immediately renders all players equal as the music becomes not a melody with accompaniment, but a simultaneous progression of four independent melodies. The magnificent classical fugues of Mozart and Beethoven find their origins in this historical moment.

While Haydn seemed to use fugue to assert the ultimate equality of parts in the string quartet, equality of strict imitation does not promote expressive independence. Future developments in the string quartet from Haydn, Mozart and especially Beethoven would leaven this fugal impulse with techniques for a more organic interplay, the give and take of independent parts where, equal or not, there is a balanced cooperation for stimulating musical dialog.

© Kai Christiansen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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