String Quartet in D minor, Op.9/4
String Quartet in C, Op.50/2
String Quartet in G, Op.76/1
String Quartet in B flat, Op.50/1 – Finale
Doric String Quartet [Alex Redington & Jonathan Stone (violins), Simon Tandree (viola) & John Myerscough (cello)]
Recorded 15 January 2009 in Wigmore Hall, London
CD No: WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLive0032 Duration: 72 minutes Reviewed: October 2009
Wigmore Hall Live: Doric String Quartet/Haydn
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
The Doric Quartet plays Haydn extremely well; more than that, these musicians look beyond the notes and find much that is bountiful and rewarding.
The opening of the early D minor String Quartet is surprisingly dark and suspense-filled, the Doric players working as one and sounding sinewy yet transparent. The Minuet, while not free of tensions, has an attractive flow to it, expressive in its buoyancy, with the Trio again finding these musicians exploring timbre, here rather rustic in effect. With a slow movement that borders on the blissful, and which is here eloquently turned, and a finale that returns to the stresses of the opening movement, the Doric members once again spot-on with their choice of tempo, this is a notable example of how to play Haydn in the Classical manner while appreciating his depth and his caprice.
Following what might have been music to underestimate – and therefore the Doric Quartet has produced a revelatory performance – the relaxed tempo for the opening movement of the work in C major might surprise for something marked Vivace, yet the playing is so elegantly lyrical that one is convinced (and, of course, Haydn is the master of surprises). The fragile beauty of the slow movement is tenderly revealed, the Minuet’s twists relished, and the finale dispatched with gusto. As for the great G major String Quartet, which proudly leads-off the Opus 76 set, its playfulness, ear-catching adjuncts and affability ideally captured, such a lively spirit then contrasts with the profound slow movement, the scurrying scherzo-like Minuet, and the trenchant, texturally busy finale.
With the smile-inducing finale of Opus 50/Number 1 offered as a fitting and jokey encore, this excellently recorded and annotated release can be heartily recommended, a notable recorded debut for the Doric Quartet’s imaginative and penetrating music-making that will soon grace the Chandos label.