Haydn: Complete String Quartets Box set, CD, Import
|価格:||￥ 17,800 通常配送無料 詳細|
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A massive set--67 string quartets on 21 discs in a budget-priced, shelf-friendly, compact box. So the obvious question is: do you need it? The equally obvious answer is a resounding "yes" if you love these endlessly inventive quartets and if you appreciate superbly played performances that capture both the letter and the spirit of Haydn's genius. The Angeles String Quartet isn't as well known as some ensembles that have recorded complete Haydn sets, but they are superior to all, with the arguable exception of the Tatrai Quartet. They demonstrate technical polish and rich, warm sound that's never cloying. And they give these works the forward-moving impetus they need within a classical framework, eschewing both anachronistic Romanticism and the mechanical astringency of period specialists.
The Angeles Quartet is unique in its mastery of early as well as late works, in tune with Haydn's stylistic development and sensitive to the attractions of each of these remarkable pieces. So they infuse the visionary slow movements of the late quartets with the appropriate depth and at the same time revel in the muscularity of the Opus 76 No.2's catchy Menuetto, the humor of the "Joke" Quartet, Opus 33 No.2, and the power of the Allegro con spirito of Opus 76 No.1. Most impressive is their way with the early quartets--no small matter when you consider that the contents of the first six discs precede the Opus 20 set generally considered as signaling the maturity of the form. The Angeles make even the earliest quartets, five-movement divertimentos for four strings, a habit-forming delight. Their playing here is full of exuberance, wittily playful and rough, peasantlike by turns. The sonics are outstanding, too, well-balanced, warm, and lifelike. An indispensable recording. --Dan Davis
The performances were recorded during the period 1994-1999 and continue to be praised - The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2008 as well as The Gramophone Classical Music Guide 2012 both give this box set their the top recommendation (for the complete quartets in one package).
If alternatives to these performances are desired, for comparison, then the most highly regarded are generally considered to be:
- Haydn: The Complete String Quartets by the Kodály Quartet. This collection, on 25 CD's, includes additional works and is considered to be the most "complete" as well as receiving very good critical reviews (Penguin recommends it equally to the Angeles performances, and Gramophone also gives it a good review as well as recommending many of the Kodály performances as separate releases from the complete box set.
- Haydn: The Complete String Quartets by The Aeolian Quartet. This collection was recorded in the early 1970's and is presented on 22 CD's.
For those considering purchase of this box set, you should be aware that these exact same performances have been more recently released by Decca on 21 CDs as: Collector Edition: Haydn Complete String Quartets, and depending upon the pricing here on Amazon, either could be the more attractive purchase. At the present time, as I write this review, the newer Decca box set is about 2/3 the price of this Philips release.
Excellent performances, and for the collector who wishes to have the complete String Quartets, a great choice - just be sure to check the Decca box before paying a premium here for the same performances.
It's an excellent set. The Angeles Quartet have an elegant, generally rather sweet sound which suits the music well but which never becomes saccharine; there's plenty of drama, emotion and - crucially for Haydn - wit in their playing.
This is a set to last a lifetime. Haydn's String Quartets are an immense treasure trove of musical wonders, played excellently throughout here. It's a very significant investment, but one that will repay with years and years of pleasure.
By the way, if you'd like a smaller (and less expensive) selection of these quartets in magnificent performances I'd recommend
Quatuor Mosaiques, (Haydn: String Quartets Vol. 1 - 6 Quartets Op. 20 / 6 Quartets Op. 33 / Seven Last Words - and Volume 2 is just as good)
The Lindsays recordings now issued at budget price (for example Haydn-String Quartets, Op 64 Nos 4-6)
or the wonderful live disc by Quatuor Ebene String Quartets (inc. Op. 64 No. 5 'the Lark' )
If you are a Haydn aficionado, or a budding enthusiast for chamber music, you must get to know these works. Their sublime craftsmanship is fully matched by their astonishing depth and breadth of feeling, from exultant joy and exuberant wit to prayerful rapture and brooding melancholy.
The question is, however, which among the several complete cycles has the greatest claims up on the collector's attention--and finances. I have been listening to recordings of the Haydn Quartets for well over thirty years--ever since I studied them in depth for a research project in an undergraduate music history course. Among the ensembles I have heard in these works are the Pro Arte (classic recordings from the 1930's), the Budapest (equally classic in op. 76), the Aeolian, the Amadeus, the Tokyo (incomparable in Op. 50, and superb in op. 76 as well), and, more recently, the Takacs, the Lindsays, the Kodaly (whose complete cycle I acquired piecemeal), the Mosaïques (the best of the period-instrument versions), and the Angeles (whose complete cycle represented a bargain I simply couldn't resist, even though i already owned the Kodaly versions).
I took about six months to work my way, in leisurely and systematic fashion, through this bargain box. I was struck by the consistently high quality of the Angeles' technical address, their lovely homogeneous blend, and the fetching way that they serenely float Haydn's glorious cantilenas in slow movements particularly. What I missed was a certain joie de vivre, together with the incisive attacks and genially sprung rhythms that other ensembles have brought to this music (notably the Pro Arte of hallowed memory, but also the Aeolian, the Lindsays, the Mosaïques, and, sometimes if not always, the Kodaly). I can honestly say that I have never been inclined to return to this box, even though I have occasionally reproached myself for not being more enthusiastic about these eminently satisfactory performances. Yet, judged by the highest standards set by the ensembles mentioned above, the Angeles seem more than a little bland, and the overly spacious acoustic in which they are recorded do nothing to alleviate this impression.
Should you purchase this set? Yes, by all means, if you find one at an appropriate price (check Amazon's "used and new sellers" for bargains) and are convinced by the mainly positive reviews the Angeles Quartet's Haydn has garnered by critics here and abroad that this constitutes a worthwhile investment. The music itself is glorious and the Angeles will not seriously disappoint you either technically or interpretively. Yet there is so much more to this music that other ensembles have uncovered!
You might want to check out the Aeolian Quartet's Haydn cycle; it's more rhythmically incisive and interpretively probing than the Angeles--despite leader Emmanuel Hurwitz's sometimes overbearing tone. That venerable set has been reissued at super-bargain price to commemorate the Haydn Anniversary. And while you're at it, you might want to consider adding Antal Dorati's Haydn symphony cycle to your basket: it, too, has been re-released in a 33-CD box priced at between two and three dollars per CD. "Engage!" as Captain Picard used to say.
RECONSIDERATION, 2016: Well, as noted above, I was never much inclined to return to these recordings--unitl recently, when just for a lark, so to speak, I went back to the Angeles cycle to refresh my memory, to say nothing of my senses. Amazing how one's perceptions and aesthetic judgment can change over a few years! What was I NOT hearing when I wrote this review that prompted my assessment of this cycle as rather bland and conventional, not the equal of the Aeolians, much less the Tatrai and the Schneider. Either my ears and brain have aged to the point of senile preference for anodyne interpretations, or I am somehow more attuned to this group's characteristic blend and gorgeous collective tone, as well as their consistently thoughtful and often probing interpretations. In short, I have completely changed my estimation of this set: it's the one to get if you're having only one (of course Haydn fanatics like me will always want other versions for comparison and contrast). The Angeles are appropriately named: they play like angels throughout their cycle. Their Haydn cycle has recently been reisssued in a Universal/Decca "Collectors Edition," and that newer iteration may be less expensive. There was no need for remastering, though, since the original digital recordings were superb. Either way, don't hesitate to obtain this set on account of my earlier review!