Magazine article Gramophone

Endellion Quartet Move from Beethoven to Haydn

Magazine article Gramophone

Endellion Quartet Move from Beethoven to Haydn

Article excerpt

Haydn

String Quartets--Op 20 No 4; 'Lark', Op 64 No 5;

Op 76 No 1; Op 103

Endellion Quartet

Warner Classics (M) 2564 65720-7 (74' * DDD)

There's always afeeling when listening to the Endellion Quartet that you're listening to the Urtext method of quartet playing. Maybe 30 years of playing together has brought a uniformity of thought and instinct to them as a group that allows them to play as a single entity; or maybe their unfussy, intellectual approach is particularly compatible with a genre that is, if done skilfully, a concentration of all the musical ideas of the composer.

Either way (or, more likely, both ways), the Endellion's playing is nearly always beyond reproach, and this contrasting array of Haydn's quartet styles and personalities is no exception. They bring out with very simple clarity all of Haydn's humour (his unexpected three-bar phrases in particular, which can leave you wondering whether the music is coming or going), his partiality to gypsy dances, his ability to write melodies that are deeply affecting in their simplicity, and the mercuriality of his personality that is seen more often in his symphonies (particularly through his occasional unexpected key-changes). All this is imparted through an easy congeniality that plainly belies a minuteness in their study of the music. …

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