The punchline comes at the end, but this quartet by Haydn sets throughout a standard of chamber music composition equaled by only the greatest masters. Haydn can indeed be devilishly humorous, and this quartet will seem all the more so in the company of his earlier Sturm und Drang Op. 20 quartet, and the sublime quartet by Mozart which was inspired by Haydn and dedicated to him with reverence.
Program: Haydn Quartet in F minor for Strings, Hob. III:35, Op. 20, No. 5 (1772) Haydn Quartet in E-flat major for Strings, Hob. III:38, Op. 33, No. 2, "The Joke" (1781) Mozart Quartet in C major for Strings, K. 465, "Dissonance" (1785)