For an aspiring string quartet, Haydn is basic literature; more practically, it’s likely that a young quartet will perform some of Haydn’s 68 quartets in chamber music competitions, meaning that, more than 300 years after his death, the man called “the father of the string quartet” continues to have an impact on ensembles, and their reputation and success.

Doric String Quartet album art

While this set of six quartets is a book in the “Old Testament” of the string quartet, Op. 33 actually offers quite a few laughs. Musicologist Rosemary Hughes once observed that the years following the appearance of these six works mark “the point at which the string quartet, as such, became… recognised as a medium and genre of composition” but...

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