This piece is nicknamed Largo, attributed to the tempo distinction that dominates the second movement both in length and in character. Named after Count Joseph Erdödy who had asked Haydn for the piece, the six “Erdödy Quartets of Op. 76” reflect a new profundity, especially in the slow movements. At the same time, the fast movements are powerful and technically challenging. Even the minuet takes on a more serious nature.
Movement I, Allegretto – Despite its gracious opening, the first movement has some serious underpinnings in its quick shifts to the minor, with a development section giving new attention to the cello. Then, things heat up, followed by a surprise moment of silence before returning to the spirit of the gracious opening with variations and a brief with a splendid cadenza for the first violin.
Movement II, Largo. Cantabile e mesto – As the longest of the four movements, the second movement brings out the profoundly touching qualities of the piece. This pensive movement has lyricism edged with sadness and certain strength, and ends on a gentle note.
Movement III, Menuetto. Allegro – The third movement is an elegant dance which offers a relief to the intensity of the Largo. A Trio section goes well beyond the spirit of dancing with its complex counterpoint.
Movement IV, Finale. Presto – The final movement reflects a happy spirit. This happiness carries a strong edge of the colourful Gypsy spirit.
Violin: Gábor Takács-Nagy
Violin: Károly Schranz
Viola: Gabor Ormai
Cello: Andras Fejér
Released on 1989 ℗ 1989 Decca Music Group Limited