Notes & Reviews:
In the summer and early autumn of 1781, Franz Joseph Haydn began work on the six quartets we know today as Op. 33, or more eruditely as Hoboken III: 37-42. They are also known popularly as the "Jungferne" quartets, the "Russian" quartets and "gli scherzi".
The first documented performance of the quartets was in the chambers of the Russian Grand Duke Paul (later Tsar Paul I). Haydn inscribed a dedication on the manuscript copy of the quartets that he gave to the Grand Duke, hence the second popular nickname, the "Russian" Quartets.
The third popular name, "gli scherzi" or "the Jokes", speaks to the music itself. For the first time in his quartets, Haydn replaces the minuet movement with one entitled scherzo; while all six movements share essentially the same form, they demonstrate incredible variety of texture and invention. In the trio section of the scherzo of Op. 33, No. 2 in E flat major (Hob. III: 38, which is itself known as "the Joke"), Haydn specifies fingerings in the first violin part that imply sliding between the pitches (perhaps a slightly tipsy tavern fiddler?).
The last movement of the same piece features an elaborate joke, with several false endings, finishing with precisely the same two measures as it began.Notes & Reviews:
Recording information: Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Ontario (01/2012).
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Works DetailsHaydn, Franz Joseph : String Quartets (6), Op.33, H. 3/37-42
- Ensemble: Eybler String Quartet
- Running Time: 63 min. 47 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Written: 1781