Arcana proudly announces the release of the last volume of the Haydn String Quartets performed by the Festetics Quartet.The long-awaited release is released on occasion of the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death.
Recorded by Michel Bernstein in Budapest in Spring 2006 this last volume represents the crowning achievement of a project conceived by the well-known founder of Arcana, who died a few months later. It is the first complete cycle on period instruments and features the complete 58 string quartets authenticated by the composer for the great Artaria edition: 19 CDs collected in 9 volumes in chronological order with liner notes written by the eminent Hungarian musicologist László Somfai. Founded in 1985, the Festetics Quartet was the first Hungarian ensemble to perform works of the classical quartet literature on period instruments. By their choice of name they decided to commemorate the outstanding figure of the Hungarian Enlightement and patron of the arts Count György Festetics. Their recording of Haydn's Op. 9. String Quartet series released in 1989 on Hungaroton met international recognition. Since then they have made more than 50 CDs and appear regularly on the stages of most European concert halls and festivals. Since 1996 they have toured the United States three times, where they gave concerts to great acclaim. The group has studied Haydn's manuscripts extensively and recorded a number for the Arcana label.
"This important period-instrument set of the quartets is now complete, against the odds, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the death of the most neglected of first-rank composers. Against the odds, the Festetics set is complete at last. For a decade, the Festetics have been releasing superbly springy recordings of Haydn's quartets on the Arcana label. But the death of the label's founder and producer Michel Bernstein a couple of years ago left the project one volume short: since then, I have hardly been able to look at my CD shelf, so maddening was it see the sequence of black spines: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. And now you'll have to excuse me while I head over to the CD player…" The Daily Telegraph, April 2009