Haydn: String quartets Op. 76/Auryn Quartet

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 10

The Auryn Quartet’s Haydn cycle is now complete, and it is easily the finest available in terms of consistency of approach, technical excellence, and sonic superiority. The Op. 76 quartets have enjoyed many fine performances, and interpretively these newcomers might yield something in sheer finesse to the Tokyo Quartet version, but this is a purely personal judgment. First violinist Matthias Lingenfelder has a brief moment or two of precarious intonation in the first movement of the “Emperor” quartet, and in the scherzos there are some tiny rhythmic inflections that need to be lived with in order to determine how well their charm holds up (so far, so good).

In all other respects, these performances are outstanding. Op. 76 No. 6 is particularly impressive, and also typical of the high standards on offer throughout the series. The Fantasia is wonderfully eloquent in its purity and simplicity, and the finale, which can so often sound dry and mechanical, is actually phrased and shaped so that its lyrical impulse is always evident behind Haydn’s humorous “game of upbeats”. Tacet’s sonics throughout this entire series are unequalled for naturalness and warmth. Living with this cycle has been one of the most rewarding musical experiences of recent years. It deserves your support, and will reward your time with countless hours of listening pleasure.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Tokyo Quartet (Sony Classical)

JOSEPH HAYDN - String Quartets Op. 76

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