Haydn Complete String Quartets

Joseph Haydn Complete String Quartets—Angeles String Quartet (Decca 4783695)

The task of rehearsing, performing and recording all 68+ quartets of Franz Joseph Haydn is gargantuan. That this daunting project was undertaken in the late 1990s by the relatively little-known Angeles String Quartet is amazing. That it was so successfully completed with almost no fanfare and very little support from Philips Classics is a real shame.  The set was quickly withdrawn, but somehow managed to be re-issued by Decca in 2012. However you look at it, the cycle is a significant achievement, despite the fact that the Angeles Quartet disbanded shortly after finishing it. "There has never before been a completely satisfying set of the complete Haydn string quartets," wrote LA Times music critic Mark Swed. "Now there is."  And Philip Setzer, violinist of the Emerson Quartet, told me during his recent visit to WCLV that he himself owns these recordings and he considers them indispensable. We have Karen Erler of Baltimore to thank for sending us the set after her local station, WBJC, had aired these amazing recordings. Now the WCLV library has—for the first time—exemplary performances of all the Haydn quartets. Thanks, Karen. This 21-disc set counts as two ‘Choice CDs’ this month. –Bill O’Connell

Featured Tue 10/4, Mon 1010, Thu 10/13, Wed 10/19, Mon 10/25, Fri 10/29 

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