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Saint Paul SundayFeatured Artist


The Mendelssohn String Quartet

 

  Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn

The Mendelssohn String Quartet
Nick Eanet, violin
Nicholas Mann, violin
Maria Lambros, viola
Marcy Rosen, cello

Discography

Web Site

May 28, 2000 Program
Franz Joseph Haydn: Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4
Felix Mendelssohn: Quintet for strings in B flat, Op. 87

Franz Joseph Haydn and the String Quartet
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) wrote about 83 string quartets over his lifetime. Historians have dubbed him the "father of the string quartet" - not because he wrote so many of them, but because he was really the first to establish the string quartet form as we know it today. The string quartet developed out of the divertimento - a term used to describe all types of non-orchestral instrumental works - for example the cassation, the serenade, or the notturno - in which the instrumentation and style varied widely.

In the classical string quartet as established by Haydn and his successor Mozart in the mid- to late 1700s, the instrumentation is fixed to what we consider the "standard" grouping - two violins, viola and cello, and the musical texture is distributed equitably among the four parts. Haydnís "Sun Quartets" (Op. 20), including the selection played by the Mendelssohn String Quartet on this program, mark an important milestone in the use of this balanced texture. The fugal finales of three of the six quartets in Op. 20 hark back to older forms, but otherwise the quartets are forward-looking in their great expressiveness, rhythmic interest and use of harmonic tension - hallmarks of Haydnís extraordinary inventiveness.

 

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