The Saloman Quartet - Haydn: String Quartets, Op 55

Thursday 1st February 1996
The Saloman Quartet - Haydn: String Quartets, Op 55

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Hyperion 66972

Reviewed by John Irvine

To prove that there is nothing new under the sun, these Quartets are referred to as the "Tost" Quartets because of one Johann Tost, violinist extraordinaire who sold Haydn's Quartets to a French music publisher (in order to support wild and immoral living) without Haydn's consent. Haydn, needless to say, was furious: in his day there was little in the way of copyright and composers earned money for their works by exclusive publishing deals covering the major capitals of Europe for which a fixed fee was paid. Haydn never saw a penny of the income form the Op55 Quartets. It is little wonder that Tost was able to make a fortune from Haydn's music: his music was considered exciting, revolutionary and ground-breaking and it inspired Mozart and then Beethoven to further develop the medium of String Quartet. Haydn's music was always tuneful, never dull and a pleasure to play or to listen to. Little has changed on that point either. The Saloman Quartet play these quartets with great feeling, "hitting the spot" on several occasions, particularly in the opening "A Major Quartet". While the performances on this disc are without fault, the quality of the sound engineering is open to criticism with the quartet very closely miked, resulting in the overall sound coming across as either wonderfully intimate or dreadfully boxy depending on whether you approve of the final result or not. This point aside, this release is an excellent and worthy addition to the Saloman Quartet's ongoing series of Haydn's Quartets.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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