Johann Baptist Vanhal – Four String Quartets

Johann Baptist Vanhal was one of the most successful composers of the classical era. Although Vanhal wrote over hundreds of works, he’s mostly remembered today for his concerto for contrabass.

The Lotus String Quartet helps fill out our understanding of this composer with their performances of four of his string quartets.

The earliest, (string quartet in C minor, Op. 1, No. 4) was published in 1769, and sounds similar to the contemporary quartets of Haydn. The latest, the String Quartet in E-flat major from 1786 shows some development, but perhaps not to the same extent as Haydn’s “Prussian Quartets” or Mozart’s “Dissonance” quartet written the year before.

Nevertheless, these quartets are all tuneful and well-crafted works. Vanhal’s quartets are true ensemble pieces, where all four players interact with each other.

The Lotus Quartet play with a light touch, and a spark of energy that make these performances quite enjoyable. At times, especially in the slow movements, the quartet’s expressive playing is quite moving, without being overly emotional. An enjoyable listening experience from start to finish.

Johann Baptist Vanhal: Four String quartets
Lotus String Quartet
CPO 777 475-2


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