The Leipzig String Quartet continues its Haydn edition with three more works from his op. 50, and once again its members magnificently succeed in combining classical perfection with surprisingly fresh esprit. By now it goes without saying that the four string instrumentalists from Saxony represent the best of historically informed interpretation practice, and the use of bow models from the eighteenth century also makes this latest release a highly colorful musical experience leaving no listening wishes unfulfilled.
Haydn was a phenomenon. He elaborated the classical form of the string quartet in a number of work cycles, but at the height of perfection he went on to destabilize it with completely unexpected ideas. Just listen to the beginning of the sixth quartet. This piece begins on the ninth with an element more like a concluding cadence; only the cello then supplies pulsing eighths for the necessary drive to get the movement going. During the further course of the music daring harmonic feats preclude any notion of harmless meticulousness. And then the concluding movement: a wild bariolage that gave the quartet its unofficial second name: the “Frog Quartet.”
The compact disc begins ornately as well as with ländler robustness: rich embellishments and filigree broken triadic chords particularly challenge the first violinist. The fact that a veritable double fugue develops from these figurations during the middle part once again documents the subtle humor linking Haydn’s compositional mastery to an absolutely boundless imagination. The quartets were dedicated to the King of Prussia, who politely thanked the composer with a precious ring.
For more than twenty years the Leipzig String Quartet has been playing in the Champions League of chamber music. Showered with prizes and awards, this worldclass ensemble again and again has dazzled listening audiences with its sensational recordings and concerts. Its repertoire lovingly cultivating numerous classics of the genre as well as the most recent compositions reflects a stylistic spectrum of unmatched breadth and depth.