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Haydn Opus 20

As first prize winners of the 9th Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Tinalley String Quartet was awarded the opportunity to make this CD at The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada.

In writing his Opus 20 set of string quartets, Haydn pioneered a new voice of expression. Composed in 1772, these works heralded a new age in string quartet composition and would define a genre that would serve as an outlet for many composers’ finest contemplations.  


Tinalley String Quartet

Tinalley String Quartet has rapidly achieved recognition as one of the most exciting quartets, not only in their home of Australia but also on the world stage.

Press quotes

“Although the Tinalley String Quartet have been performing together for over a decade, it is only now that they have released their first recording - devoted to thee of Haydn't six Sun quartets. Written in the 1770s at the same time that Cook was making his first explorations of the Australian East coast, this cycle is an appropriate choice for an Australian ensemble. The Quartet has been mentored by many of the world's finest ensembles including the St. Lawrence, Keller and Takács quartets and like these bands, have attained that all too rare balance of intellectual enquiry and technical virtuosity which sets apart the finest quartets in the field. And here are the quartets with which Tinalley are most conversant having played them often in recital both here and overseas. The Op. 20 is a pioneer in its means of expression, in that Haydn had had defined in what Goeth suggests in the best quartet writing always is - and ever-changing conversation between four instruments. And it is this new approach which would lead the way forward in the Austro-Hungarian quartet writing form Mozart and Beethoven, through to Bartók and Legeti. Similarly, Haydn achieves something new by bringing together seemingly disparate ideas _ serenades withe folksong and gypsy music…Here's a disc which can hold its own amongst other newcomers. Australian music-making at truly a world level.” ★★★★½

— Brett Allen-Bayes, Limelight Magazine

“Although recorded back in 2011, this compilation of Haydn String Quartets from opus 20 has only been released now in 2014. It’s been well worth the wait.

From first note to last, the four musicians hit all the right buttons. Banff, in Canada, was the scene for one of the Tinalley players’ best moments – and if the quality which informs this compilation is anything to go by and the ensemble maintains its sharp focus on what it plays – the Tinalley musicians could well be on a fast track to international success.

Michelle Wood coaxes a warm-toned stream of finely fashioned sound from her cello, profoundly expressive but always within the line and contour of good taste. But it is perhaps invidious to single out any one player because all four are clearly as one in revealing the essence of whatever they essay. It’s a rare pleasure to listen to playing that is so committed to musicianship at its highest.

The gypsy minuet movement of the Quartet number 4 in D is informed by an engaging bucolic quality. It’s presented with an appealing freshness. And the finale, a little gem of scurrying insouciance, makes the finale a delight.

One of the spin offs for the Tinalley Quartet as winner of the 9th Banff International String Quartet Competition was the opportunity to make a compact disc recording – and this is it. The sheer professionalism brought to bear on this recording is unambiguous evidence that the Tinalley players are worthy winners of the prize.”

— Neville Cohn, OzArts Review Website

“A decade of life has seen the Tinalley String Quartet go from success to success, garnering international attention with a first-prize win at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. This new recording, canvassing half of the epochal Op. 20 quartets, makes a superb contribution to the discography of the Haydn string quartets, and marks another major achievement in the life of this quartet.”

— John Weretka, The Music Trust

“Haydn wrote almost 70 string quartets and in writing his Opus 20 set of string quartets he pioneered a new voice of expression. Composed in 1772, these three works heralded a new age in string quartet composition and became a template for many of his contemporaries and followers…In this performance members of the quartet rise easily to the challenges necessary to fulfil the various emotional demands the music makes on them. The general control and musical achievement is exemplary and I hope to hear them perform more often. Tinalley has become one of many chamber music groups who've done the OS commitment and have been there winning awards and we're proud of them.” ★★★★★

— Emyr Evans, 2MBS Fine Music Magazine

“‘Extraordinarily superior playing in very sophisticated and deeply felt interpretations. ’”

— Forum Kultur Heppenheim,

“‘They play with dedication in every note, in every well-crafted phrase that emerges with a judicious mix of spontaneity and maturity’”

— Courier Mail Australia,

“The Tinalleys play with superb uniformity and each player can blend their sound or jump into the fray with beautiful solos. These qualities are only the beginning for a string quartet’s musical journey. Their intonation is excellent — even the slightest variance can stick out like a sore thumb. No sore thumbs, here. Yet, I know of three very famous quartets whose wonky intonation (sharp first violins, primarily) almost kneecapped them. What saved them is the final part of the musical equation. Personality. The three quartets in question had musical charisma in spades. So, where does the Tinalley stand?

This is where time together is important. Ten years of togetherness shows in the risks they take and the obvious trust they have in one another. More time is required to develop its corporate identity — I put the CD on for some friends and they felt the playing wonderful but not especially idiomatic. That may be a little harsh — if you have a need for a recording of these amazing quartets, the Tinalleys will do nicely.

The three Haydn Quartets from Opus 20 (1772) were a great choice for their prize recording. The quartets went along way to making ‘Papa’ Haydn the ‘Papa’ of the string quartet. They are filled with rhythmic fire, wonderful melodies, variations (here is where the individual players get to really shine), and rock sold musical forms. They were written when Haydn was 40 and echo the ‘Sturm und Drang’ movement (Storm and Stress) and feature intense and stirring elements. I’m ashamed to say I did not know the music before this recording. I urge you to use this CD as a launching point to discover other Haydn chamber masterpieces.

Will the Tinalleys develop the unique qualities of stellar groups like the Alban Berg, Emerson, Amadeus, Hagen, LaSalle, Busch, etc.? Only time will tell. Individually, they are excellent musicians. But, are they world class? That’s where the soccer comparison comes in. I first listened to the CD on the upstairs system which flanks the flat screen. As I listened casually, and watched England’s ’superstars’ get clobbered by Costa Rica’s journeyman players, my thoughts fell to chamber groups and their development.

The Tinalley is comprised of first desk, Australian orchestral musicians. That, in itself is fine, but the Berlin and Vienna orchestras have their own quartets. They are wonderful and comprise world class players but are no better corporately than the Tinalleys. There are recordings of the world’s greatest string players dabbling in quartets (think Neymar on first violin, Saurez on second, Messi on viola, and Rinaldo on cello). I can’t think of one that is distinctive. Just like the world class players of England, Spain and Italy are heading home early from this World Cup, little Uruguay, Greece, etc go through. The Tinnaley String Quartet is not the ‘Socceroos’ from Australia (also going home early), its Uruguay. Very good quality but coupled with the great spirit, drive and teamwork that’s needed to conquer musical Everests.

So, a fine achievement all around, from Canada’s amazing Banff Centre that hosts the competition and provides training, Move Records, which produced a wonderful recording, full of ambiance, clarity and a wide, deep soundstage, and the Tinalley String Quartet. A great quartet in the making.”

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— Anthony Kershaw, Audophilia

“This recording opportunity formed part of the Australian Tinalley Quartet’s first prize in the ninth International Banff String Quartet Competition (2007). For various reasons the end product, captured in 2011, has taken an age to reach the catalogue, but the wait has been worthwhile.
These performances are technically assured, warm-toned, beautifully blended and ideally balanced. The Tinalley’s approach to articulation is especially striking: the players separate some notes that are normally syncopated in the finale of no.1 and ignore much ‘traditional’ slurring. They characterise Haydn’s differing moods with sharp insights (especially in the cheeky finale of no.4), relish his developing dramatic language, occasionally add ornamentation in repeats, and make telling use of silence as an expressive device (finale of no.3). They draw full value from his digressions to remote keys and his excursion into folk music (in no.4’s extrovert Menuetto alla zingarese) and communicate detail vividly, yet bring to the music breadth, control and cohesiveness (as in the Affettuoso of no.1).”

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— Robin Stowell, The Strad Magazine

“The Tinalley String Quartet is one of the best-known and successful Australian string quartets in the 21st century. They have performed in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. When I received this CD, there was an expectation of accomplishment which on the whole, was met. They present a conservative interpretation of these three famous string quartets by Haydn. The sublime tone of the first violinist perfectly matches the second violin and viola in their accompanying roles. The cellist sounded grainy but still blended in well with the other platers. Tempi, especially in the final movements were on the steady side, while phrase-endings were not always treated with the level of care and detail expected…Overall and enjoyable CD...”

— Sharon Lierse, AUSTA Magazine (Stringendo)

Track Listing

    String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4, Hob. III:34 Franz Joseph Haydn

  1. Allegro di molto 7:52
  2. Un poco Adagio e affettuoso 8:41
  3. Menuet alla Zingarese. Allegretto 1:41
  4. Presto e scherzando 4:46
  5. String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 20, No.1, Hob.III:31 Franz Joseph Haydn

  6. Allegro Moderato 5:41
  7. Menuet. Un poco Allegretto 3:53
  8. Affettuoso e sostenuto 5:15
  9. Finale. Presto 3:45
  10. String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3, Hob.III:33 Franz Joseph Haydn

  11. Allegro con Spirito 6:18
  12. Menuet. Allegretto 3:56
  13. Poco Adagio 9:02
  14. Finale. Allegro di molto 3:44



Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms.

Where to buy

Haydn Opus 20 is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
It's available for streaming through Apple Music.

Haydn Opus 20 is available as as CD. It can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Total playing time
64 minutes 34 seconds
Release date
May 2014
© 2011 Tinalley String Quartet
℗ 2014 Move Records
Catalogue number
MD 3374
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574337426