Hyacinthe Jadin

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String Quartet in E flat Major, Op.2 No.1

Hyacinthe Jandin's Op.2 string quartets were composed in 1795 and published shortly thereafter. At that time there were no public chamber music concerts in France. Chamber music was exclusively and privately performed at the palaces and homes of the wealthy and the kind of string quartets then in vogue were the so called quatuors brillants of Rudolfe Kreuter and Pierre Rode, which were essentially a showcase for the first violin. Jadin's Op.2 quartets are not quatuors brillants, but closer to the style of Haydn to whom he had dedicated his first set of three quartets. The fact that this quartet as well as the other two of opus 2 are in four movements shows that Jadin was conversant with developments coming from Vienna. The chromaticism and style of opening bars to the Largo-Allegro moderato is so similar to Mozart’s Dissonant K.465, one can but wonder if Jadin was paraphrasing. This is not true of the faster section where the writing is assured and more individual sounding. The beautiful second movement, Adagio, opens with a lovely chanson given to the cello. The tonalities are very fresh and original throughout this striking movement.  The concluding Menuetto and Finale allegro are both good movements.


Hyacinthe Jadin (1776-1800) was born in Versailles where his father was a musician in the Royal Orchestra. He was one of five musically gifted brothers, the most famous of which was Louis-Emmanuel Jadin. His first lessons were from his father and Louis-Emmanuel who was four years his senior. Later he was sent to Paris where he studied with Hüllmandel, who had been a student of C.P.E. Bach. The French Revolution put an end to his studies as his teacher fled France. He eked out a living as a pianist and brief taught at the Paris Conservatory. Because of his early death, he did not achieve the same fame as Louis-Emmanuel but the famous music critic Fetis wrote that his chamber music was of a very high standard and deserved to be better known. While most of his works were for his own instrument, the piano. However, he did not ignore chamber music. It is thought that he wrote at least 12 string quartets and several string trios. Like many composers, such as Boccherini, from this period who gave their works to different publishers, the opus numbers of Jadin’s works are in some confusion. For example, the present quartet, probably No.4 traveled under the opus number of Op.2 No.1 but this opus number also is the same as one of his trios.


This an historically important work as it gives an idea of developments in late 18th century Paris. It can be programed in place of a Haydn or early Mozart. Our new edition is based on the original published in Paris by the Magazin de Musique in 1796.


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