Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Haydn Project, Part V - The Sun Quartets

On Wednesday, June 13, we planned to get together for the 5th installment of the Haydn Project. On the menu - before and after dinner - were the six quartets in the op. 20 series, written in 1772. Haydn was now 40 years old, Mozart 16, Beethoven 2.

Considering that the op. 20 series is sometimes known under the nickname “Sun” quartets, it seemed a bit ironic when the evening started off with a violent hail storm that made the national news. Our little neighborhood got pummeled by hail ranging from golf ball to baseball in size. Within 40 minutes most cars on the street had lost their wind shields and in general started to look like dimpled golf balls themselves.

Some tidbits surrounding the Op. 20 series:
The autograph manuscript was owned by Brahms, who studied and annotated them carefully.
Beethoven, before embarking on his own first set of string quartets, opus 18, studied the scores of the Haydn Op. 20 quartets, copying them out and scoring the first for string orchestra.

The reason for their composition is unknown, but there is one interesting suggestion. In 1771, the year before Op. 20 appeared, a North German critic had lumped Haydn together with half a dozen other composers and complained of the “emptiness, the strange mixture of comic and serious, of the trifling and the moving” in their works and he went on to deplore their “great ignorance of counterpoint”. This criticism must have stung Haydn deeply. In an autobiographic sketch written in 1776, Haydn said that his works were enjoyed everywhere except in Berlin, where “they are incapable of performing some of my works, and are too conceited to take the trouble to understand them properly”. Op. 20 could have been a response to such criticism. A number of points support this. Three of the quartets end with fugues and counterpoint plays an important role in all of them.
  • Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5, FHE No. 47, Hoboken No. III:35
  • Quartet No. 24 in A major, Op. 20, No. 6, FHE No. 48, Hoboken No. III:36
  • Quartet No. 25 in C major, Op. 20, No. 2, FHE No. 44, Hoboken No. III:32
  • Quartet No. 26 in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3, FHE No. 45, Hoboken No. III:33
  • Quartet No. 27 in D major, Op. 20, No. 4, FHE No. 46, Hoboken No. III:34
  • Quartet No. 28 in E♭ major, Op. 20, No. 1, FHE No. 43, Hoboken No. III:31
By midnight we had managed to read through Nos. 1 - 5, but decided to leave No. 6 for next time.

Swang Lin, violin
Amy Faires, violin
Jennifer Sweetman, violin, viola
Norbert Gerl, viola
Craig Leffer, violoncello

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jennifer & James at Rough Creek Lodge

This beautiful ceremony took place on June 9th, 2012 at Rough Creek Lodge Chapel near Glen Rose, about 100 miles southwest of Dallas. We had been there a few times already and always enjoy the road trip, which usually starts with a home-cooked lunch before departure.
Longtime friend and terrific photographer Scott Hagar was on site as well and kind enough to let us use some of his images. Thanks, Scott!


Corelli “Concerto Grosso No. 8”
MozartDivertimento No. 1 in D
ChopinPrelude, Op. 28, No. 13
GabarainPescador de Hombres
Schutte Here I am, Lord

Seating of the Family
Pachelbel – “Canon in D”

Attendant Processional
Bach – “Sheep May Safely Graze”

Bridal Processional
Bach – “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”

Choral Benediction
“The Doxology”

Handel “Hornpipe” from “Water Music”

“The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”

Amy Faires, violin
Jennifer Sweetman, violin
Norbert Gerl, viola
Mitch Maxwell, violoncello

Photographer: Scott Hagar  |  Scott Hagar Photography
Event Manager: Alison Baker  |  DFW Events

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