Minetti Quartett

Haydn: String Quartets, Opp. 64/4, 74/3 & 76/5

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Founded in 2003 when its members were all only about 20 years of age, the Minetti Quartett is a hip, young string quartet emerging from Austria. Since its inception a short time ago, it has captured several respected chamber music awards, toured extensively, received guidance from the infamous Alban Berg Quartet, and recorded this debut album of three Haydn quartets on the Hänssler Classic label. The disc's liner notes contain an interview of sorts with the four members; reading it gives the impression of youthful naivety and even simplistic understanding of the music. The group's playing, however, is quite different. Beginning with the G major Quartet, Op. 64/4, Minetti displays an impressive ability to produce a warm, powerful, cohesive, and well-blended sound, something that is often difficult for more seasoned quartets with many times its experience. Its confident handling of the intricate inner voices creates a true conversation between the four musicians. Attacks are light without being superficial, vibrato is warm and judiciously applied, and articulation is uniform across the four parts. While the group excels at the nimble, jocular outer movements of the quartets, it is equally comfortable with the more serene, introspective moments such as the expansive Largo assai of Op. 74/3, or the simple elegance of the Op. 76/5 Menuet. With so much refinement and attention to detail at such an early age, the Minetti Quartett is certainly one to watch now and in the future.

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