‘Papa’ Haydn was the father of both the symphony, and the string quartet, and this Sunday afternoon, Stanford Live presents the St. Lawrence String Quartet performing all six of the seminal Opus 20 quartets that launched the genre. Violinist Geoff Nuttall says “Haydn was remarkable in his effortless imagination.”
There’s more information about the concert at the Stanford Live website.
Haydn’s compositional output was astounding – after essentially inventing the genres, he would write 68 quartets, and 106 symphonies. Programming this set of six quartets, says Nuttall, is really going to the source. “Haydn Opus 20, because that’s where really it all began. Crucial to start with that, because everything is like the spokes of a wheel, disseminates from that moment in time.” He says it’s also more helpful in bettering his technique to play them than to practice alone. “My ideal day would be to sit down with my quartet and start playing Haydn quartets. Maybe it’s because I’m not actually that physically gifted; when I don’t practice, it doesn’t feel a whole lot different than when I do practice. I’ve been also incredibly lucky, because when you play in a string quartet, to get good, you have to rehearse a lot. The St. Lawrence Quartet is more than 25 years old now, we still rehearse a lot. And then you get to play a piece in public 50 times. I mean, that allows you to get better.”