Masterclass: Erik Schumann on the Haydn ‘Sunrise’ Quartet, first movement

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Erik Schumann, first violinist of the Schumann Quartet, looks at how a good structural understanding of the work’s first movement can lead to a more profound interpretation

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Haydn is one of my favourite quartet composers, and the ‘Sunrise’ Quartet is one of the first pieces the Schumann Quartet played together. Haydn’s works inspired quartets by Mozart and Beethoven, and they are very good training for playing the later Classical repertoire. He wrote very few markings in his scores, so we need to look carefully at the music to explore the structure and most important harmonic elements, to see why he wrote everything that he did. Having an understanding of the theoretical construction of the piece, and looking at how that construction brings life and character to the music, gives us a framework for our emotions.

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