Haydn: String Quartets

Haydn: String Quartets, Aeolian String Quartet   ★★★★★
A set consisting of 22 CDs, it is worth every minute of listening time. These quartets are performed with great soul and vibrant feeling. Though one might expect classical era quartets to be soporific, these are everything but that, manifesting the profound genius of Haydn. I have other performances of the Haydn string quartets, which are quite enjoyable in their own right, but remain limp when compared to the performances on these discs. The recording technique itself is quite brilliant and forward, quite like you were in the room with these performers. A special treat with this series in the last CD, which is Op 51 Die Sieben Letzte Worter unser Erlöser Am Kreuz, well performed, but intermixed with poetry readings by Peter Pears. I heard this performance many years ago on plastic, wondering where it would ever show up again since I didn’t remember the performers. The mixture of Pears and the Op 51 quartet is especially effective… I’m not sure if Haydn actually wrote it that way, though I wouldn’t be surprised. All in all, these recordings should be in every respectable classical collection.