in: News & Features

October 9, 2015

Haydn Seek: All 68 Quartets in Two Days

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Wanna hear all the Haydn string quartets on Saturday and Monday in Waltham?  Dunno if this is going to be any good, but the link is here.

9 Comments

  1. We had a delightful time listening to several quartets this evening, and hope to hear more on Monday. The listeners barely outnumbered the performers, but they were having a grand time playing together nevertheless. Acoustics were great.

    We were in the Science Center. We heard that there was food in the Student Center, so perhaps they had a bigger crowd there.

    Comment by perry41 — October 10, 2015 at 10:15 pm

  2. The publicity for this event could have been better. This just registered on the radar screen of the Haydn Society of North America yesterday (and we host the Haydn Concert Calendar https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=b5i5q80f7a23clscbjv7squsn0%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/New_York )
    . I’m glad to hear that Perry was able to attend! I hope there will be more in attendance tomorrow.

    Comment by Rebecca M — October 11, 2015 at 9:42 pm

  3. We did indeed go back for more, Monday evening in the Student Center.

    The musicians were excellent; the vibe was casual. Players rotated in and out. People passing through the atrium stopped for a while, and mostly treated the quartets as background music. Again the players were having a wonderful time. Their concentration was excellent amidst all the background chatter and traffic. (Good training for playing at parties!) The musicians from the other location arrived in time to enjoy the final Unfinished Quartet and cheer the completion of the repertoire.

    Bravo to Brandeis for cultivating this talented group of string players!

    Comment by perry41 — October 13, 2015 at 12:37 am

  4. What a shame! I just found out about this tonight Wed. 10/14; yes, I had to work Saturday so would have missed most of Saturday’s “output”. So, from those who were there:
    1) Did they do them in order by opus number, or by some modern “non-Hoboken” numbering? Yes, I know the Haydn opus numbers are a mess outside of the quartets; the Lea Pocket Scores of the H. piano sonatas bear this out in reading the fine print.
    (It is very annoying that WCRB uses a modern renumbering for the Haydn piano sonatas and refuses to use Kochel numbers for Mozart or opus numbers for the Beethoven sonatas. Makes one want to take up bowling instead.)
    2) Did they do repeats, or did they ignore them to “save” time.
    (I dislike Leinsdorf’s complete Mozart symphones but since he always ignored repeats his recordings of them were over that much quicker. Probably the “ignore repeats of expositions” problem should be discussed another time but it DOES make a difference in performance, especially in “1st and 2nd endings” which do happen occasionally, as in Beethoven’s Third. I think H.’s opus 20, #5 in f does this too.)
    3) Has anyone else ever done this?
    (Thanks for the info and tips and links for that Haydn group.)

    Comment by Nathan Redshield — October 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm

  5. Whoops, forgot to add–did they publish a list of what they did so I could see which ones of the “82 and a half” have been dropped from the Canon pf the “83”?
    (I call them “Haydn’s 82 & 1/2” because the opus 103 quartet in D minor OR major is clearly incomplete with a B-flat major slow movement and them a D minor minuet and D major trio; clearly Haydn intended these to be the 2nd and 3rd movements of a 4-movement work. When he allowed it to be plublished in 1806 it was plain he was telling the world sadly he would/could write no more music.
    The opus 103 quartet is sometimes labelled like Schubert’s 8th symphony, “Unfinished”; but it is clear that, like Peter Shikele’s (in)famous symphony, the opus 103 quartet also is “Unbegun” without a first movement, even as with the “remote” key relationships of Late Haydn this example of “Very Late In Fact It Can’t Get Any Later Than This One” Haydn is often listed as being in “D minor OR major”!)

    Comment by Nathan Redshield — October 14, 2015 at 8:10 pm

  6. Nathan – there’s a link at the very end of the staff post for the playlists. The quartets were played in two parallel programs in order of opus numbers.

    David Moran’s review gives a more detailed picture of the set which he heard and the background of the players. The quartet in the photograph is the one we heard on Saturday and part of Monday. Sorry you missed the celebration!

    Comment by perry41 — October 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

  7. @perry41:

    I did not sense that Brandeis did any ‘cultivating’ whatsoever, but sure, good on them for saying yes to ‘Can you let us use some of your atria for this?’ I do not know how it came together or why it was there instead of another local university (presumably the Krauss connection).

    I heard two different Monday afternoon half-sets, by two different quartets (group of four).

    @NR:

    I do not believe they took repeats, certainly not the longer ones (I would love to be proved inattentive in this matter), other than when they stopped cold, laughed, and restarted. Perhaps they did do some short repeats. My listening was to an extent as informal as the proceedings, and I did not have scores with me, although at least one other nonstudent auditioner did. No drops, I think.
    For the answers to some of your other detailed questions, see the links in my review, https://www.classical-scene.com/2015/10/13/haydnenthusiasts-67/, specifically their home page, which lists all of the quartets, as played at Brandeis.

    Comment by David Moran — October 15, 2015 at 12:40 am

  8. David, thanks very much for the review! I’m one of the co-founders of the Haydn Enthusiasts, and wanted to answer a few of the questions that were asked here.

    = From Nathan Redshield: =
    1) Did they do them in order by opus number, or by some modern “non-Hoboken” numbering?
    We did two parallel tracks in opus number order.

    2) Did they do repeats, or did they ignore them to “save” time.
    We took the exposition repeats consistently, as well as all repeats through minuets/trios, and repeats in variation/quasi-variation movements. We generally skipped second-half repeats, as seems to be modern performance practice. There are definitely a few measures of Haydn that fall under second endings in the second half of quartets, which we did skip in the interests of fitting our session into 2 days.

    3) Has anyone else ever done this?
    We aren’t sure, but would love to find out.

    4) Whoops, forgot to add–did they publish a list of what they did so I could see which ones of the “82 and a half” have been dropped from the Canon pf the “83”?
    We published the program at haydnenthusiasts.org, but to answer your question, we did “The 67.5”, or what The Attacca Quartet calls “The 68”.
    The omissions that cut 82.5 to 67.5 are:
    * Opus 3 (6 quartets that are now believed to be written not by Haydn but by Romanus Hoffstetter)
    * The Seven Last Words. These were not originally conceived for string quartet, and don’t “fit in” with the rest of the quartets, stylistically or formally.
    * Opus 2 numbers 3 and 5. These are actually not quartets, but Cassations with 2 missing horn parts.

    So we get 82.5 – 6 – 7 – 2 = 67.5. See Wikipedia’s List of Haydn String Quartets for a more detailed summary:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_string_quartets_by_Joseph_Haydn

    Also, we love your comment that Opus 103 is not only “unfinished” but also “unbegun”.

    = From David Moran =
    Re: Repeats, please see #2 above: “We took the exposition repeats consistently, as well as all repeats through minuets/trios, and repeats in variation/quasi-variation movements. We generally skipped second-half repeats, as seems to be modern performance practice.”

    Thanks all for your interest in this project. I think our major takeaway is that the next time we do this, we need to do more advance publicity.

    Comment by Jason Sundram — October 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

  9. “the next time we do this…”

    Perhaps in Cambridge or Boston, as well as with more advance publicity.

    Comment by Alan Levitan — October 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

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