Monday, June 10, 2019

Haydn Quartet Project Update

In August of 2016 some friends (a late-starter cellist, a post-career violist in a care facility, a life-long violinist who never really took adequate lessons) and I started a project of playing through all the Haydn Quartets, beginning with Opus 1, at the violist's care facility. We met once every two months or so, and in spite of our challenges, we made our way through the first 15 quartets.

Then the health of our original violist declined steeply, so she was moved to another facility. But my friend/student/consort partner who had never played string quartets before stepped gracefully into the viola seat, and we are now exploring the wonders of Opus 17. And what wonders they are!

Since starting this project the violinist who had never studied properly now has a good instrument and is now working with a great teacher. She is making great strides in her playing. Our cellist has become more confident, and our new violist (with a new gem of a viola) is having a ball. What have I been doing? Practicing violin. A lot.

The first violin parts of the Opus 17 Quartets are really demanding. They make me think like a violinist, and they make me act like one too.

Today we played Opus 17 #2 (Quartet No. 17), and in two weeks we are playing Opus 17 #1 (Quartet No. 18). Don't ask about the order. The numbering systems are all mixed up, so we're just going in Hoboken order.

Which reminds me of the joke about visiting the Hoboken collection in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna . . . (That's the joke).

Haydn makes me giddy.

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