Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 50 by W. Dean Sutcliffe
The Op. 50 string quartets contain some of the purest writing Haydn ever accomplished. In this first full account of these six quartets Dean Sutcliffe evaluates the Op. 50 in relation to Haydn's more frequently performed quartets and considers their relevance to the composer's wider output. A lucid and accessible discussion of the music emphasises the unity of each quartet: not only motivic unity, but unity also of texture, articulation, harmony and syntax. Each quartet is described in detail. The informative background provided by Dr Sutcliffe includes a brief history of the string quartet, and an assessment of Haydn's earlier works in this genre and of his role at Esterhaza. The description of the composition and publication of the Op. 50 quartets is based on the evidence of Haydn's surviving letters and the recently discovered autograph copies of Nos. 3 to 6 - a discovery which is vividly documented here for the first time.