The gifted Belgian Quatuor Danel turn to two masterpieces by César Franck: his passionate Piano Quintet and the String Quartet. The three-movement Quintet, like Brahms’s op. 34 an expansion of the Schumannian model, is one of Franck’s most infamous works. It immediately established itself, and a second performance with the pianist Marie Poitevin, the later dedicatee of the Prélude, Choral et Fugue, convinced the members of the Société Nationale. Franck’s String Quartet, his last major work, was similarly acclaimed by its first listeners. After its first performance in April 1890, with tears in his eyes, César Franck is said to have told his pupil Vincent d’Indy, “Now you see: at long last the public is beginning to understand me.”
One of the distinguishing features of Schubert's C major Quintet is its scoring for two cellos instead of the more usual two violas. It seems likely that Boccherini's and Georges Onslow's preference for the second cello influenced Schubert's choice of this instrumentation, whose greater expressiveness and richer sonority are particularly suited to this music.
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.
This is a very complete set indeed. It includes all the quartets in the latest edition prepared by Jonathan Del Mar which restores many important markings by Beethoven and which has been done in collaboration with the Endellion Quartet. Both versions of the first quartet or included as well as Beethoven's quartet arrangement of the piano sonata Op. 14 no. 1. the Gross Fuge, both string quintets plus other works for string quartet including the two prelude and fugues.
The Orford String Quartet was a Canadian string quartet active from 1965 through 1991. They came to be the leading string quartet in Canada, and one of the finest in the world. For 26 years, the Orford String Quartet was the best of its breed in Canada.
This limited edition for the Haydn Bi-Centenary is a bargin price reissue of renowned Aeolian Quartet recordings from the 1970's. They are brilliantly played the late analogue sound has been well remastered by Decca. It is strange there are so few complete recordings of these quartets as the music is quite superb. From the early 'divertimento' type pieces through to the profound later works there is never a dull moment.