, No. 3, Hob.III:77, "Emperor" [Kaiser]. Composed between 1796-1797, when Haydn was around 64-65 years old. Published in 1800, when Haydn was around 68. ">
(Franz) Joseph  Haydn

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Nationality: Austrian
Born: March 31, 1732, Rohrau, Austria
Died: May 31, 1809, Vienna (age 77)
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String Quartet in C major, Op. 76, "Erdödy", No. 3, Hob.III:77, "Emperor" [Kaiser]

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
8:11
I. Allegro
7:30
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:48
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:49
IV. Finale. Presto
Duration: 26 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: between 1796-1797 (age 64-65)
Published: 1799-1800 (age 67-68)
Dedication: Count Joseph Georg von Erdődy
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11 recordings, 32 videos
7:13
Calidore String Quartet
I. Allegro
7:16
Calidore String Quartet
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:37
Calidore String Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:41
Calidore String Quartet
IV. Finale. Presto
23:35
Alban Berg Quartet
21:14
Amadeus Quartet
7:23
Attacca Quartet
I. Allegro
8:00
Attacca Quartet
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:34
Attacca Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegro
7:03
Attacca Quartet
IV. Finale. Presto
7:06
Giovane Quartetto Italiano
I. Allegro
8:24
Giovane Quartetto Italiano
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
5:15
Giovane Quartetto Italiano
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:56
Giovane Quartetto Italiano
IV. Finale. Presto
6:46
Kodaly Quartet
I. Allegro
7:42
Kodaly Quartet
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:45
Kodaly Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:26
Kodaly Quartet
IV. Finale. Presto
28:45
Kuijken Quartet
10:11
Quatuor Mosaiques
I. Allegro
6:55
Quatuor Mosaiques
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:38
Quatuor Mosaiques
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:47
Quatuor Mosaiques
IV. Finale. Presto
9:31
Takács Quartet
I. Allegro
7:44
Takács Quartet
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
4:39
Takács Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:22
Takács Quartet
IV. Finale. Presto
23:02
Tatrai Quartet
6:55
Tokyo String Quartet
I. Allegro
7:35
Tokyo String Quartet
II. Poco adagio. Cantabile
5:01
Tokyo String Quartet
III. Menuetto. Allegro
5:31
Tokyo String Quartet
IV. Finale. Presto

From Kai Christiansen:

Joseph Haydn

String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3, "Kaiser" ("Emperor"), 1797

Haydn's final "six pack" of string quartets, Op. 76, completed in 1797, may well constitute the finest works of the genre before Beethoven's middle period. Though Haydn wrote dozens of quartet masterworks over the decades in a more or less consistent progression of excellence, beauty and ingenuity, his style becomes ever more fluid, inventive and brilliant. The quartets composed after his celebrated trips to London in the late 1790's show a new vitality and grandeur with greater virtuosity, power, depth of thought and feeling spanning a greater range across every essential musical facet: melody, figuration, polyphony, harmony, rhythm, texture, dynamics, formal innovation and expressive dramatic narrative. Haydn's Op. 76 quartets reflect Mozart's innovations and anticipate some of Beethoven's. They are simply stunning and essential touchstones of the art from its original pioneer during his burnished maturity. Three of the six quartets have pet names, "Fifths", "Sunrise", "Emperor", and this last, Op. 76, No. 3 in C major, is surely the most famous for its slow movement hymn that become, over time, more than one national anthem. But like all the quartets of Op. 76, the "Emperor" is magnificent throughout its four movements including some artistic cross-connections for a composite of finely wrought coherence.

The opening Allegro is bright, crisp sonata form with several striking features. Haydn was fond of "monothematic" sonatas where the two traditional key areas sport nearly the same musical material subtly transformed. In this case, the first five notes form a vivid rhythmic figure that is pervasive throughout the movement, appearing in themes, countermelodies, variations and furtive base lines as though all the music springs from a single tiny gene. The musical character is robust and rustic with evocations of hunting horns and a peasant dance as syncopations in the exposition develop into a lively Musette. Haydn's development continues right through the recapitulation and into an impressive coda. Simple, effective means evolve into elegant, rich music.

The tender heart of the quartet is the slow movement, a theme and five variations based on the Haydn's own hymn Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser (God Save Emperor Franz), possibly derived from a Croatian folk song. The tune with its warm, familiar harmonies is instantly winning, but Haydn deepens its impact through a series of intimate and poignant transformations. Each of the instruments takes a turn singing the melody while the texture thins and grows again through contrapuntal elaborations and canonic echoes, soft, nuanced and perhaps ever more melancholy. Haydn gently introduces increasing chromatic color as a sturdy Austrian Hymn becomes Mozart before our ears. The last variation with the first fiddle in its high register seems to add a halo, a quiet, reverent glow.

The minuet restores some bucolic mirth with a springy dance and a bouncing down beat unrolling in a kind of extended phrase structure that finds the music whirling giddily beyond our conventional expectations for rhythmic closure. Unlike many Haydn minuets, the trio seems to continue as another phrase of a single larger unified piece without strong sectional contrast. It is like a slightly sad elaboration completing a single story before the refrain. It is as if the slow movement's lyricism continues to flow through the scherzo.

Haydn's finale surprises twice. It is not a characteristic rondo, nor a variation set nor even a fugue, but another well-formed sonata. And, it begins quite dramatically, full of bluster in a minor key. The ending appears to be quite a bit more serious than the beginning, almost shockingly so. But a transition from dark to light begins with a familiar motive: a slight variation of the rhythmic gene from the first movement, an old friend returned. The stormy energy of the first violin's anxious cadenzas becomes a bright, dashing counterpoint to the five-note motive as agitated tension becomes brilliant splendor, the high-strung hallmark of Viennese Classicism. The thematic connection between the first and last movement is sleight of hand and high art. The conclusion organically leads right back to the beginning as if the entire quartet were conceived as a loop. As its nickname implies, "The Emperor" is a unique individual of great regal bearing.

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

Joseph Haydn and related chamber music composers
1750 1800 // last line 1827 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) Michael Haydn (1737-1806) Johann Baptist Vaňhal (1739-1813) Carl Ditters (1739-1799) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
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