Haydn Seven Words (The)

A performance that speaks as well as sings‚ finding the meaning behind the unspoken text

Author: 
Guest

Haydn Seven Words (The)

  • Seven Last Words

Like the Fitzwilliam Quartet‚ whose nuance­ sensitive Linn recording of The Seven Last Words I welcomed last month‚ this ECM version is alert not only to musical texture‚ but to the modulating phrase (try from 2'05" into the Introduzione) and the dramaturgy of key changes between movements.
The playing is limpid and subtly coloured‚ sparing of vibrato (in that respect the Rosamunde are heedful of various period­instrument models) and‚ at the beginning of the third movement‚ suspended in a sense of rapture. And yet when‚ in the same movement‚ the melody line shifts into the major (at around 1'21")‚ cushioned on a mobile accompaniment‚ they up the pace slightly‚ mirroring perfectly the idea of forgiveness. That’s another imaginative aspect of this performance‚ the way it reflects the sense of the text‚ just as Haydn does in those movements that seem to follow the pattern of the words he set. This feeling of narrative is especially keen in the fourth movement‚ ‘Woman‚ behold thy son!’ and the closing ‘Earthquake’.
So the list of virtues is fairly simple to enumerate: variety and refinement of tone‚ internal clarity‚ historical awareness‚ imagination and a certain poise that not all its rivals can claim in equal measure. It serves well as a compromise between period­instrument clarity and modern­instrument warmth‚ being broader than the Fitzwilliam by around four minutes‚ though the performance never drags. I marginally prefer it‚ mainly because I favour the Rosamunde’s fuller instrumental sonority. But if you’ve already bought the Linn CD – which‚ like this one‚ is beautifully recorded – you needn’t feel tempted to swap. Either version provides first­rate reportage of a wonderful score.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018