Virile, colourful performances … sharply responsive to the music's robust earthiness and gleeful unpredictability. On 3 December 1781 Joseph Haydn dictated to his secretary a round robin letter inviting subscriptions to a new set of string quartets. The new Quartets, now know as Opus 33, were dedicated to the Russian Grand Duke Pavel Petrowich (1754-1801), hence their collective nickname. Opus 33 was a great success for Haydn. It was rapidly taken up and re-published in other European capitals, by Hummel in Berlin, by Schmitt in Amsterdam, by Napier and Forster in London, by Guera in Lyons, and by Le Menu and Boyer and then by Sieber in Paris.
The Salomon's beautiful playing of these important masterpieces make this set indispensable. When Haydn completed his Opus 20 String Quartets in 1772 he was in his fortieth year and was on the brink of international fame. Since 1761 he had been in the service of the Esterházy family at their castle in Eisenstadt, east of Vienna, or, after the mid-1760s, mainly at the palace of Eszterháza, over the present-day border with Hungary on the other side of the Neusiedlersee.