Haydn String Quartets, Op. 20 no. 4, Op. 64, no. 6 and Op. 77, no. 1 Joseph Haydn’s remarkable series of 68 string quartets encompasses, in effect, his entire compositional career. The ten works together comprising Op. 1, 2 and ‘Op. 0’ date from his 20s (c. 1758 – 1761); and the final nine works of Op. 76 (1797), 77 (1799) and 103 (1803) were written after the ‘London’ Symphonies, and in close proximity to his oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons. The stylistic journey Haydn took from beginning to end is striking indeed, on account of the extended time period involved and the inevitable changes in musical taste across Europe. The Op. 20 set (1772) is generally regarded as Haydn’s first ‘mature’ contribution to the string quartet genre. Two early, unauthorized editions ensured widespread dissemination – from La Chevardière (1774) and Hummel (Amsterdam and Berlin, 1779). The title page of the latter, in fact, with its engraving of a blazing midday sun, was directly responsible for the nickname that accrued to the set (‘Sun’ quartets); equally, the order in which the quartets appear in this edition established the order in which they have usually appeared in editions ever since. Op. 20 was widely admired in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms (who owned the autograph scores) among others-and retained a prominent place in the twentieth-century concert hall as well….Download booklet
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