Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

This page lists all recordings of String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words', by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) on CD, SACD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Haydn wrote his 'Seven Last Words' in 1786/87 for Good Friday devotions in Cádiz. Although the custom in Cádiz was to perform an oratorio, Haydn's brief was in fact to write seven movements for orchestra alone, each creating a mood inspired by one of the sayings attributed to the dying Christ. He chose to frame them with a further slow movement called ‘Introduzione’ and a concluding Presto entitled ‘Il Terremoto’, intended to depict the earthquake that occurred after Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51).

This purely instrumental ‘oratorio’ consisting of seven contemplative slow movements was by no means an easy task; but the outcome was a work of sublime nobility, which in Haydn’s own transcription for string quartet has enjoyed unfailing popularity ever since.

It is entirely appropriate that this recording of Haydn’s 'Seven Last Words of Christ' should be performed by the Cuarteto Casals, for the work represents one of the few surviving traces of the composer’s flourishing relationship with Spain, where his music seems quickly to have become as popular as it was in France and Britain. There is footage of excerpts from the 'Seven Last Words' on our harmonia mundi YouTube channel recorded at Oratorio de Santa Cueva, Cadiz, the place for which the work was orginally written.

“The Casals bring a rapt spiritual intensity and high emotional drama to the piece.” Sunday Times, 9th March 2014

“This performance combines devotional gravity, a refined sense of drama and beautifully precise and pure playing.” Financial Times, 13th April 2014

“Using Classical bows, the variety of nuance and colour these players derive from gradations of vibrato and bow pressure alone constitutes a masterclass in quartet playing. Yet it is the sheer intensity and range of expression that transfixes the ear...Truly a revelation.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“Anyone who has encountered previous releases from this group will know what to expect: seriously lean textures, an austere avoidance of vibrato leading to a certain wiriness of sound, an extraordinary clarity of detail and attention to nuance, stark contrasts of staccato and legato, an utter lack of sentimentality that at the same time allows a high degree of expressivity.” International Record Review, May 2014

“The key quality with the Cuarteto Casals is consistent poise - or, rather, poise coupled with a complete understanding of Haydn's textural colouring...The players use a minimal amount of vibrato, reserving it for emotional effect rather than as a standard tool.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902162

(CD)

$17.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Meditation by Jenichen

Laetitia Quartett

Haydn made this string quartet arrangement of his original orchestral work himself.

The Laetitia Quartet perform the work together with biblical texts (an English commentary is included).

This Talanton release is a Haydn discovery

Talanton Records - TAL90009

(CD)

$19.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


DG - E4748362

(CD)

$17.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Linn - CKD153

(CD)

$17.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words', etc.

Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

String Quartet, Op. 103 in D minor


“The Kodaly Quartet give an outstanding performance, strongly characterized and beautifully played, with subtle contrasts of expressive tension between the seven inner slow movements. ...The recording is first rate, vividly present yet naturally balanced, like the other issues in this attractive Naxos series.” Gramophone Magazine

Naxos - 8550346

(CD)

$9.00

(also available to download from $7.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Released or re-released in last 6 months

La Dolce Volta Talich Quartet 1964-2014 - LDV258

(CD)

$12.50

Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.

Haydn: Seven Last Words & Mozart: Oboe Quartet

Haydn: Seven Last Words & Mozart: Oboe Quartet


Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Mozart:

Oboe Quartet in F major, K370

Hansjorg Schellenberger (oboe)


Daniel Giglberger (violin), Hariolf Schlichtig (viola), Wen-Sinn Yang (cello)

Without any commission or payment, purely for pleasure, W.A. Mozart composed this quartet for a “most esteemed” friend - the most wonderful work that was ever written for the oboe. Mozart always wrote his solo works closely related to the abilities of his performers: Ramm’s playing and virtuosity on the oboe must have really inspired him. After numerous years as resident composer and Director of Court Music at the Esterhazy castle, Joseph Haydn’s fame as a great composer of genius had spread across all of Europe - no wonder, when one considers the consistency with which he developed the form of the symphony and the string quartet in more than 100 works, from “Sturm und Drang” to the beginnings of Romanticism, not to mention his many other creations.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Solo Musica - C130199

(CD)

$19.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Xenakis Quartet

Urania - LDV14012

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Krzysztof Kolberger (narrator)

Prima Vista Quartet

Dux - DUX0177

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

version by José Peris Lacasa for Mezzo-Soprano & String Quartet


Susanne Kelling (mezzo-soprano)

Henschel Quartett

Spanish composer José Peris Lacasa recently created a new version of Haydn’s “Seven Last Words” in which for the first time the leading part is taken by a solo voice, in this case a mezzo-soprano. The world premiere took place at the Royal Court in Madrid during Holy Week in 2008. It was performed, as it is here, by the award winning Henschel Quartet – a new signing for the Challenge Classics label – on the Spanish court’s unique Stradivarius collection of instruments. The singer is the German mezzo Susanne Kelling.

The Henschel Quartet is a German string quartet comprising the Henschel siblings, Christoph and Markus (violinists) and Monika (violist), and cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshøj.

The quartet has given many première performances of works of contemporary composers from Günter Bialas to Manfred Trojahn and played premières of recently discovered works of famous past composers. It belongs to the select group of guest ensembles who regularly play at the Spanish royal palace in Madrid and perform concerts on the 4 Stradivarius instruments that belong to the palace. Mezzo-soprano Susanne Kelling was recently named “Cavaliere dell`Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” O.S.S.I.), the highest decoration recognized to expatriates for outstanding contribution to the Italian people.

“the playing of Henschel Quartet - fierce and wiry in the more rhetorical passages; gently expressive in the more reflective moments - sounds quite fine enough to have stood on its own.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 **

“the Henschel Quartet play with fierce commitment. They choose their tempi shrewdly, balancing spaciousness with forward momentum, and are always sensitive to expressive import of the pauses and interrupted cadences so crucial in this music. Burning remorselessly into the strings, they make the final Earthquake more convincing than do most quartets...Susanne Kelling's light mezzo is pleasant enough and she sings with evident feeling.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2012

Challenge Classics - CC72546

(CD)

$18.25

Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.

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