Haydn – String Quartets Opus 20, Nos. 2, 3 and 5
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Haydn – String Quartets Opus 20, Nos. 2, 3 and 5

A decade ago, the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam included a Haydn string quartet on the programme of its very first concert: Opus 20, No. 2. The piece opened up a whole new world to us. Haydn’s music felt like a natural and familiar language. All four of us could speak and understand it intuitively, but we wanted to gain a deeper knowledge of its grammar.

In the following years we immersed ourselves in his idiom, developing a strong affinity with it. More and more we came to appreciate the masterly conception and design of Haydn’s quartets and marvelled at his ability to depict life in all its richness using minimal means.

Haydn composed the six Opus 20 quartets in 1772, shortly after the Opus 9 and Opus 17 quartet series. These two earlier series showcase a fantastic classicistic development, in which the conversational style comes into full bloom. What makes his Opus 20 quartets truly sensational is the addition of monumental and dramatic gestures within this rhetorical style.

— Judith van Driel and David Faber, from the booklet notes

Haydn – String Quartets Opus 20, Nos. 2, 3 and 5

Haydn – ‘Fuga a 4 soggetti’ from String Quartet Op. 20 No. 2

This live recording was filmed in February of 2021 in Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ as a part of their series of ‘Up Close’ concerts.

‘The Dudok impresses with its responsiveness to gesture, allowing the pulse to yield gently. All is played with true assurance, understanding and care for structure.’

— The Strad —

‘The exciting Dudok Quartet is always alert to Haydn’s myriad caprices, his playful innovations so brilliantly captured.’

— The Observer —

‘One of the lasting pleasures is how well the musical argument is spread between the players.’

— The Arts Desk —

‘From the first notes of the first volume (The G minor Quartet), the Dudok’s sound sets them apart. Richer than the London Haydn Quartet but more elegant than the Doric Quartet, who are more akin to the Lindsays. The first and last movements are bold and are two of the most spirited movements of the set.’

— The Classic Review —

Wat we van Haydn kunnen leren

Inzichten uit Haydns Opus 20-strijkkwartetten
Anna Enquist
Anna Enquist – Wat we van Haydn kunnen leren

Every year, we commission an essay by a famous author on the work that is central to us in that year.


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