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Haydn, String Quartet “Emperor” Op.76, No.3

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Illustration by Nereid

I had it all arrange to be back to Palais Garnier for their piano and string concert first time this year. Who knows, a sudden global pandemic had forced all the performances to be cancelled at least to the beginning of 2021. Luckily, I had already enjoyed the noontime musical under that splendid dome last November.

The first movement, Allegro

Haydn used to set up an obvious theme at the beginning of the piece that ran through the first movement. The agile notes and the clattering dotted notes were resembling my rapid breath due to the long walk and the exciting heartbeat because of the cheerful feelings.

In the middle of the movement, the first and second violin created an atmosphere of a pleasant walk in the countryside with a short transformation filled with the Hungarian style.

The second movement, Poco adagio cantabile

Haydn used his anthem “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” as the theme to compose a solemn second movement and the second movement of the “Emperor” had been keeping its distinct theme. Haydn only played around with the layer of the string instruments, established a slow and riverlike melody.

The third movement, Menuet allegro

Here, we heard the delightful dotted notes played by the string instruments again after the dignified poco adagio. The first theme of the movement is the captivating minuet, I could imagine that maybe it was the feast in the grand palace after chanting the anthem in front of the emperor.

The fourth movement, Presto finale

Suddenly, the string quartet clanged 3 times of the powerful C minor chord. The cello created an awe-inspiring air with the semiquavers of the violins. Unlike previous movements, the finale with the minor chord had been delivering the turbulence.

At the end of the finale, the chords finally turned back to the C major and responded the first to the third movement.

Among these 3 master composers in the Classical era, Haydn was not only the “Father of the Symphony”; composed 68 pieces for the string quartet, he was also the “Fashion of the String Quartet”. Before Haydn, fewer composers were composing this type of genre. With plenty of innovation and research, he set the basis of chamber music for the later ages.

Text and photo: Nereid @bunheadodelette_nereid

(Full article with the music introduction on Nereid, Elle Rêve)

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