London Haydn Quartet Share Music Of Composer They Love

London Haydn Quartet Share Music Of Composer They Love – At The Morgan Library and Museum 1-12-17

It was a great opportunity to hear beautiful music under ideal conditions when The London Haydn Quartet took the stage in the concert hall at The Morgan Library and Museum on Thursday.  The LHQ have essentially devoted their lives to exquisitely playing the works of Joseph Haydn who invented the whole idea of a string quartet in the 1750s and whose compositions remain the standard for its enthusiasts.  They use period instruments and gut strings which Manson revealed open different avenues of interpretation (compared with modern ones and synthetic strings) due to their increased resistance and texture.

Catherine Manson, along with her brother Jonathan on violoncello as well as Michael Gurevich on violin and John Crockatt on viola offered a program dubbed Verve, Veritas, and Virtuosity anchored by Haydn’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 77, No.2.  Manson explained when we spoke in the library before the show that after a period of playing their main man exclusively, other giants of the form began to knock on their door and insist they be included.  In this case it was Beethoven whose String Quartet in G Major, Op 18, No.2 was given a workout and Weber whose Clarinet Quintet in B-flat Major, Op. 34 was interpreted along with longtime LHQ ally Eric Hoeprich on clarinet.

The London part of the quartet’s name refers to a period that Haydn spent there in the 1790s as well as being something of a home hub for them. The Manson siblings however hail from Scotland while Gurevich is Dutch making Crockatt the lone Englishman.  They have recorded half a dozen 2 CD sets of Haydn works (containing 4 quartets in each set) on the Hyperion label with the latest one, OPP 54 & 55, due for release in February.  

The performance on Thursday was presented by The Morgan with the Boston Early Music Festival.  The BEMF has been a champion of chamber music since the 80s.


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