Day 84: Christmas Surprise, Part I

HaydnCD084I liked today’s CD from the opening movement, a very enjoyable Vivace assai from String Quartet Op. 33 No. 5 in G (nickname: “How Do You Do”).

When I imagine Classical music in my head, it sounds just like that.


Movement 2 (“Largo e cantabile”) reminds me of the music played during a scary movie when the knife is coming down. “Reee! Reee! Reee! Reee!” Yeah. You know what I’m talking about.

Cool ending to the movement, too. Just a plucked string around the 4:05 mark.

Movement 3 (“Scherzo: Allegro”) is another delightfully lively composition.

Movement 4 (“Finale: Allegretto”) isn’t a typical slam-bang ending. It kind of retards the pace and fun of the previous three movements.

By the way, there’s a Wiki article about the Op. 33 quartets. Interesting stuff, too. Take a look:

The Op. 33 String Quartets were written by Joseph Haydn in the summer and Autumn of 1781 for the Viennese publisher Artaria. This set of quartets has several nicknames, the most common of which is the “Russian” quartets, because Haydn dedicated the quartets to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia and many (if not all) of the quartets were premiered on Christmas Day, 1781, at the Viennese apartment of the Duke’s wife, the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna.

christmastreeNow, is that an interesting coincidence, or what?

Here I am, two days before Christmas, 2013, listening to these quartets…and they debuted on Christmas, 1781 – which means that precisely 232 years ago today, Haydn was likely scurrying around putting the finishing touches on his compositions and readying them (and himself) for their performance in two days.

Tomorrow, when I listen to CD 85 (the final three Russian Quartets), it’ll be even more coincidental — listening to quartets on Christmas Eve, 2013, that debuted on Christmas Day, 1781.

I didn’t plan it that way, I swear. I had no idea. This is my Christmas surprise, courtesy of Continue reading