QUARTETTO ITALIANO


Decca - 1 LP - LXT 2811 - (p) 07/1954
Amadeus - 7 CDs - AMP 007-013 - (p) 2009

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)






String Quartet in G major, Op. 77 No. 1 (Hob. III:81)
22' 48"
- Allegro moderato
5' 36"

- Adagio
7' 31"

- Minuetto (Presto)
4' 46"

- Finale (Presto) 4' 56"





Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)






String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 18 No. 6
27' 20"
- Allegro con brio
7' 06"

- Adagio ma non troppo
7' 21"

- Scherzo (Allegro)
3' 27"

- La malinconia (Adagio) - Allegretto quasi allegro
9' 26"





 
THE NEW ITALIAN QUARTET
- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello

 






Luogo e data di registrazione
Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma (Italia) - 1-10 luglio 1952


Registrazione: live / studio
studio

Producer / Engineer
John Culshaw, Victor Olof | Gil Went


Matrici 78rpm
Decca - IAR 563-68 (Haydn)
Decca - IAR 569-76 (Beethoven)


Prima Edizione LP
Decca - LXT 2811 - (1 LP) - (p) 07/1954 - Mono
London - LL 667 - (1 LP) - (p) 1954 - Mono


Prima Edizione CD
Paragon/Amadeus - AMP 007-013 - [7 CDs - (4, 1-4; 6, 1-4)] - (p) 2009 - ADD


Note
I riferimenti a date e codici sono stati desunti dal libro "Decca Classical, 1929-2009" di Philip Stuart.













Haydn: String Quartet in G major, Op. 77, No. 1
The two string quartets composed in 1799 and published as opus 77 with a dedication to Prince Lobkowitz, who was later one of Beethoven's patrons, are the last that Haydn completed. Of these two great works, the first in G major is, perhaps, the rieher in its harmonic invention and freedom of form.
The first movement displays Haydn's disregard of rules and formulas in the handling of sonata-form. The peaceful, lilting theme played at the outset by the first violin with an answer from the second in the fourth and eighth bars so captures the composer's imagination that he pays singularly little attention to the theme which passes for second subject in virtue of its appearance in the dominant key. It is true that this theme has an innings during the development section, where it may be said ti put up a run or two.. But in the recapitulation, where the proper function of the second subject is to reappear in the tonic key and so lay the coping-stone on the harmonic scheme of the movement, this theme is not heard at all. The first subject is, indeed, rich enough in content to furnish material for the greater part of the movement. In particular, the last two of its twelwe bars provide a theme for independent development, while much play is made with the obvious suitability of the opening phrase for use in dialogue between violin and 'cello.
The slow movement in E flat is a set of variations upon the symmetrical eight-bar theme played by the four instruments at the outset. The theme displays the strong contrasts of dynamics between forte unisons and piano harmony, which are characteristic of the music of both Haydn and Mozzart and originate in the galant style of J. S. Bach's sons. The first violin plays a prominent part in the movement with plenty of bravura passages reminiscent of Haydn's early slow movements, which were often violin solos with accompaniments for the other strings. But here both the galant formula and the solo violin are used not as ends in themselves, but as means to the expression of profound musical thoughts. One of the most remarkable harmonic strokes in this movement occurs when, in the middle of its course, the music comes to rest in C minor, and then starts off again in D flat. From this distant key the movement then proceeds back to the tonic E flat.
The third Movement is a Minuet only in name. In its pace and character it foreshadows the Scherzo of Beethoven. Its theme is energic and is marked by syncopations which give it a violence far removed from the graceful movement of the conventional minuet. One conspicuous feature of the writing for the first violin is the succession of wide leaps from high up in the leger-lines - at the end Haydn even takes the instruments up to D in altissimo - on to the open a and D strings. The Trio is fully in accord with the Beethovenian vogour of the Minuet.
The finale is a rondo enriched with elements of sonata-form. For Haydn does not ignore the potentialities for development in the first phrase of his rondo-theme, which as a whole has the character of a folk-melody.

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op.18. No. 6
Beethoven's string quartets fall more definitely into the three "periods", into which critics have conveniently divided his works, than any of the other forms in which he composed. The six quartets of Opus 18, composed between 1798 and 1800, clearly belong to the first period, of which the other characteristic works are the First Symphony, the Septet and the "grand" Trios. These works still belong to the eighteenth century, even though the brusquer idioms we associate with the mature Beethoven now and again break through the elegant surface. It is characteristic that the quartets were published as a set of six, following the precedents set by Haydn and Mozart. Although Beethoven produced, as one of the great monuments of his second period, the three quartets of Opus 59 dedicated to Count Rasumovsky, his later works were too individual and too large in scale to be grouped into sets. The quartet in B flat and that in F major which was placed first in the set were composed in 1800 after the others. The set was published in two parts during the following year.
The Quartet in B flat is the most substantial of all and has much in common with the Sonata in the same key, Opus 22, which was composed about the same time. There is the same cheerfulness of mood, which in the quartet finds expression in the rich humour of the Scherzo and in the high spirits of the Rondo. What then of "La Malinconia" - the melancholy of the Adagio which serves as an introduction to the Rondo and returns to interrupt its progress? It is, one uspects, nothing more than a romantic shadow artfully placed to throw into greater relief the brilliant sunshine of the finale. Its tragic air is a purely generalized expression of imagined suffering; it is not the outcome of a personal experience, like the profound ant intimate Cavatina in the late quartet in the same key or the similar utterances in the A minor Quartet, Opus 132. No such depths are sounded either in this intermezzo or in the slow movement proper of the early quartet.
The actual writing of the quartet is of the utmost brilliance and displays a greater virtuosity than any of the other works in the set. The happy first Allegro is a particularly fine example of the true string quartet style which Beethoven inherited from his master, Joseph Haydn. The second movement (Adagio ma non troppo) admirably exemplifies the characteristic lyricism of the young Beethoven with its note of tenderness that is too masculine to become sentimental. It is cast in the usual ternary song-form (ABA) with a dozen bars of coda to round it off. In the Scherzo Beethoven still conforms to the style of Haydn's Minuets without lapsing into mere imitation.
The finale is prefaced, as we have seen, by a slow introduction entitled "La Malinconia", which Beethoven directs the players to treat "with the greatest delicacy" - another indication of the purely artificial nature of its emotion. Its dramatic interruption of the second reprise of the rondo-theme has precedent, if precedent is needed, in the first movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 103 in E flat major
.

LXT 2811
(rectus)