The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam Release “Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 20, Volume 1, Nos. 2, 3 & 5” on Resonus Classics
Fresh from their latest accolade as winners of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, the critically lauded Dudok Quartet Amsterdam embark on a new project for Resonus Classics recording Franz Joseph Haydn’s six Op. 20 string quartets.
This first installment of two volumes sees the quartet explore the C major, G minor and F minor quartets. With some of the most celebrated works from the quartet repertoire, the Dudok Quartet relish delving into the monumental and dramatic gestures within Haydn’s highly developed rhetorical style.
Watch a video from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust which was filmed in rehearsal in Amsterdam and in The Hague with bow maker Luis Emilio Rodríguez Carrington.
“Always alert to Haydn’s myriad caprices, they introduce some perfectly placed, sinuous phrasing in the third movement of No 3 in G minor, and real verve and colour in its brilliant allegretto.
There is an elegant poise to the minuet and trio of No 5 in F minor, then aching dignity in the adagio. Quartets 2 and 5 in the Op 20 set end with a fugue, played sotto voce and at breakneck speed, just one of Haydn’s playful innovations so brilliantly captured here by the Dudoks and beautifully recorded.”
“The recital opens with the Third Quartet in G minor – wisely, as this is the most outgoing of the three presented here. At once the Dudok impresses with its responsiveness to gesture, not playing games with tempo but allowing the pulse to yield gently as the four-way conversation develops. This is followed by the earthy richness of C major and then the remarkable F minor; and here the decisions made in recording these works are integral to the effect of the disc…Throughout the disc the listener is drawn in closer as the stories become more personal: Haydn’s F minor is the saddest, most heartbreaking of all his chosen tonalities. All is played with true assurance and understanding; and this ensemble’s care for structure is worthy of its architect namesake.”
Fathomless deep lightness
“The Dudok Quartet has, despite it’s relatively short career, already had international successes with cd’s that bear witness to a highly original spirit. On their fourth album for the Resonus label, they decided not to present an intelligent and provoking bouquet of string quartet literature flowers. Instead, they decided to focus on Joseph Haydn. This cd contains the quartets nos. 2, 3 and 5 from Haydns Opus 20. The other three quartets will be featured on the next album. Haydn might not have been the very first one to write string quartets for the specific combination of two violins, a viola and cello (supposedly that was Boccherini), but he was the first one to let these instruments play together on equal footing. While serving his culture-devout Esterházy-masters, Haydn wrote a huge number of pieces. Not only did these pieces serve as an example for Mozart and Beethoven, they were also of the same quality. The Dudok Quartet proves this with these exemplary recordings of the opus 20 string quartets: music with a deceptive and unparalleled simplicity and noblesse and, above all, an enigmatic and fathomless deep lightness, that stays surprising and uplifting for any attentive listener. God, how beautiful is this.”
Het Parool (translated)
“We have seen before that these players can take on just about anything. The Dudok Quartet has combined repertoire from different style periods over the past few years (Mozart with Ligeti, Mendelssohn with Weinberg), resulting in a series of highly successful albums. On its fourth release, the ensemble returns to its roots: they recorded three of the six Opus 20 string quartets by Joseph Haydn. Haydn was the great luminary of the string quartet genre. The Opus 20 quartets, characterized by the equality of the voices, earned him the nickname ‘father of the string quartet’. The players show once again the elegance in their interaction. They delicately topple over each other in the faster movements. The slow movements sound subdued but never collapse. The fugal finales of the second and thirds quartets are subtle in their choice of tempo and played with crystal clear sound. Hopefully this album is the first in a long series of Haydn recordings.”
De Volkskrant (translated)