Magazine article Gramophone

Cellist Andrew Yee ... about the Attacca Quartet's New Haydn Seven Last Words Disc

Magazine article Gramophone

Cellist Andrew Yee ... about the Attacca Quartet's New Haydn Seven Last Words Disc

Article excerpt

A new recording, but also a new version?

It's a piece I've really loved for a very long time, and listened to constantly, but we didn't play it for several years. When we did, we were surprised by how different the music was from all of the versions that I'd heard. The 'original' is for full orchestra, with the string quartet, piano and oratorio versions arranged 10 years after the premiere. I don't think there are any quartet recordings out there that haven't changed at least something very small. It's getting to the point where there are becoming traditions in what quartets are willing to change.

But what about Haydn's own version?

I think at some point somebody asked Haydn if he could make a home version of it. And he said, 'sure'; I don't think he thought very much about it. My arrangement is very much just another 'home version', which I've made myself but also made very public!

It was made in collaboration with your Attacca Quartet colleagues ...

Yes, after listening to all the other versions we looked at the score and I wrote down as many changes as possible. Then we sat down over a period of weeks, playing the standard version then this revised version. We'd have a serious chat about whether it was making the music better or whether it was just a change for its own sake. We didn't want to make it sound like an arrangement; we wanted to make it sound as close to Haydn's work as possible.

And Haydn's a composer the Attacca knows very well . …

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