String Quartet no 35 in D minor, Op 42 – Haydn


                         “Joseph Haydn (ca. 1791) 

                              Ludwig Guttenbrunn



                                             for, especially, Collin

Haydn’s Opus 42 was written in 1785,
he would’ve been 53, which might 
explain his return to a less 
ideologically driven music than his 
earlier more vociferous compositions, 
one gets more conservative, nearly by 
definition, as one gets older

there is no vehemence in this quartet,
it is meant to merely delight listeners, 
lords and ladies looking to be 
impressed, there is no call to arms
here, there’s even a minuet

the final movement, the presto, might
seem urgent, but is rather, I think,  
engaging than peremptory, more 
entertaining than adamant

there’s only one string quartet in the 
Opus 42, usually there are six in 
Haydn’s opuses, or opera, the piece 
is also terse, a wonderland of 
extraordinary music within the span 
of, however improbably, just 13 

Haydn seems to be giving us his idea 
of the string quartet, a nearly Platonic
proposition, in a nutshell

Plato thought that there was an ideal 
string quartet somewhere up there in
an ordering space, a mystical 
system of specifically representative 
entities, determining the accuracy of
definitions, religions presently 
struggle with that, the inflexibility of 
their intractable propositions, Haydn 
was giving us something to think 
about, a string quartet to define the 
very ages

note the recurrence of the original 
theme always with all of its 

note the rhythmic consistency, 
though the several movements are
decidedly, and effectively, divided 
according to their strict tempos

note that all, though here and there
a strident note may appear, the 
tonality, the key, the modality, is  

this will change

but for now we have the very essence 
of the Classical Period

and it’s hot 

R ! chard

psst: to a friend who’s become impressed 
          by my choice, incidental of course, 
          of cellists, I would suggest it has  
          more to doperhaps, with its sonority,  
          the low thrum of their instrument, it 
          can really unsettle one’s kundalini,   
          the sleeping serpent at the base of 
          the spine, and not so much the   
          individual cellist, maybe