VISIT WESTCORKMUSIC.IE

LATEST ADDITION TO THE ARCHIVE

Quartet in D major Op.64/5 'Lark'

Joseph Haydn (b. 1732 - d. 1809)

Composer
Joseph Haydn (b. 1732 - d. 1809)
Composition Year
1790
Work Movements
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio cantabile
3. Menuet – Allegretto
4. Finale – Vivace
Artists
Chiaroscuro Quartet (Alina Ibragimova, Pablo Hernán Benedí [violins], Emilie Hörnlund [viola], Claire Thirion [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Well here I sit in my wilderness – forsaken like a poor waif – almost without human company – sad – full of memories of past glorious days…and who knows when those days will return again. Those wonderful parties – where the whole circle is one heart, one soul – all the beautiful musical evenings…for three days I did not know if I was Kapellmeister or Kapell-servant. So wrote Haydn to a friend in February 1790, comparing the quality of life in Esterhazy with the pleasures of his few weeks each year in Vienna. Before that year ended his life was to be transformed, Prince Nicolous Esterhazy died and his son Anton immediately dismissed the musical establishment, retaining Haydn on reduced salary and free to seek work elsewhere.

At the same time the violinist-impresario Salomon was touring Europe looking for musical talent for his London concert season. Despite Haydn’s isolation in Esterhazy his fame and his scores had travelled far and wide and the English in particular were desperate to hear him in person. One newspaper had proposed a drastic solution: Haydn is content to live immured in a place little better than a dungeon, subject to the domineering spirit of a petty Lord and the clamorous temper of a scolding wife. Would it not be an achievement equal to a pilgrimage for some aspiring youths to rescue him from his fortune and transplant him to Great Britain, the country for whom his music seems to be made. One hopes that Prince Nicolaus did not read the London papers.

So when Salomon heard Haydn was freed from Esterhazy, he raced to Vienna and dramatically announced himself to Haydn: I am Salomom from London and have come to fetch you. Tomorrow we will conclude an accord. The next day Haydn accepted an enormous fee to write six symphonies, an opera and twenty smaller works and by New Year’s Day he was in England – amongst the smaller works we would find the set of six quartets Op.64, written in that fateful autumn, and premiered in London the next year.

Haydn wrote well over sixty string quartets so the custom of giving some of them nicknames does help us find our way through so many scores. Some of the names have little bearing on the music but the reason for calling this evening’s quartet the Lark is almost immediately self-evident – the unforgettable melody from the first violin is clearly the lark’s song soaring out above the earthbound march of the three lower instruments. This glorious song and its earthbound opposite reappear throughout the movement making us believe that perhaps we too can fly. The Adagio cantabile is an unearthly meditation, glowing with its intensity. Earthiness reappears in the witty little minuet and its miniature trio. Haydn dedicated this quartet to his friend and colleague Johann Tost and clearly he was confident in the quality of his musicians as this moto perpetuo finale is a live-wire showpiece for a quartet at the top of its game.

FULL DETAILS SEARCH FOR MORE

Quartet in D major Op.64/5 'Lark'

Composer: Joseph Haydn (b. 1732 - d. 1809)
Performance date: Wednesday 30th June 2010
Venue: Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,

Share on Twitter | Share on Facebook
http://archive.westcorkmusic.ie/details/view/cmf/209

Composer Joseph Haydn (b. 1732 - d. 1809)
Work Title Quartet in D major Op.64/5 'Lark'
Composition Year 1790
Work Movements 1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio cantabile
3. Menuet – Allegretto
4. Finale – Vivace
Artist(s) Chiaroscuro Quartet (Alina Ibragimova, Pablo Hernán Benedí [violins], Emilie Hörnlund [viola], Claire Thirion [cello])
Performance Date Wednesday 30th June 2010
Performance Venue Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,
Event Main Evening Concert
Duration 00:17:40
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Well here I sit in my wilderness – forsaken like a poor waif – almost without human company – sad – full of memories of past glorious days…and who knows when those days will return again. Those wonderful parties – where the whole circle is one heart, one soul – all the beautiful musical evenings…for three days I did not know if I was Kapellmeister or Kapell-servant. So wrote Haydn to a friend in February 1790, comparing the quality of life in Esterhazy with the pleasures of his few weeks each year in Vienna. Before that year ended his life was to be transformed, Prince Nicolous Esterhazy died and his son Anton immediately dismissed the musical establishment, retaining Haydn on reduced salary and free to seek work elsewhere.

At the same time the violinist-impresario Salomon was touring Europe looking for musical talent for his London concert season. Despite Haydn’s isolation in Esterhazy his fame and his scores had travelled far and wide and the English in particular were desperate to hear him in person. One newspaper had proposed a drastic solution: Haydn is content to live immured in a place little better than a dungeon, subject to the domineering spirit of a petty Lord and the clamorous temper of a scolding wife. Would it not be an achievement equal to a pilgrimage for some aspiring youths to rescue him from his fortune and transplant him to Great Britain, the country for whom his music seems to be made. One hopes that Prince Nicolaus did not read the London papers.

So when Salomon heard Haydn was freed from Esterhazy, he raced to Vienna and dramatically announced himself to Haydn: I am Salomom from London and have come to fetch you. Tomorrow we will conclude an accord. The next day Haydn accepted an enormous fee to write six symphonies, an opera and twenty smaller works and by New Year’s Day he was in England – amongst the smaller works we would find the set of six quartets Op.64, written in that fateful autumn, and premiered in London the next year.

Haydn wrote well over sixty string quartets so the custom of giving some of them nicknames does help us find our way through so many scores. Some of the names have little bearing on the music but the reason for calling this evening’s quartet the Lark is almost immediately self-evident – the unforgettable melody from the first violin is clearly the lark’s song soaring out above the earthbound march of the three lower instruments. This glorious song and its earthbound opposite reappear throughout the movement making us believe that perhaps we too can fly. The Adagio cantabile is an unearthly meditation, glowing with its intensity. Earthiness reappears in the witty little minuet and its miniature trio. Haydn dedicated this quartet to his friend and colleague Johann Tost and clearly he was confident in the quality of his musicians as this moto perpetuo finale is a live-wire showpiece for a quartet at the top of its game.