FRY STREET QUARTET; Haydn, String Quartets Op. 9, no. 4 and Op. 77, no. 2 (Fry Street Quartet) ****
The Fry Street Quartet is a delightful ensemble consisting of wonderfully talented players who exhibit remarkable artistry in both the concert hall and on recordings. Their most recent release is a captivating album that juxtaposes one of Joseph Haydn's earliest quartets with his final venture in the genre. The quartets of op. 9 are almost never heard today, so it's a real treat hearing one of them (no. 4, which is arguably the best of his early quartets) on this album, especially so since it's paired with the op. 77, no. 2, in which Haydn displays his mastery of the form to the fullest. The Fry Street Quartet plays both with artistic conviction. The refined phrasings, eloquent articulation and rich expressiveness bring depth and insight to both works, in particular to the op. 77. These are magnificent readings by one of this country's most dynamic and compelling quartets.