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Mendelssohn: Complete Chamber Music for Strings, Vol. 3 - String Quartet Op. 44/1; Pieces (4), Op. 81; Octet, Op. 20 / Mandelring Quartett

Album Summary

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Quartet for Strings no 5 in E flat major, Op. 44 no 3
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Vier Stucke fur Streichquartett, op. 81
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Octet for strings in E flat major, Op. 20
Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Felix Mendelssohn did not write his six mature string quartets continually, but instead at particular pivotal points in his life and compositional career. In his youth, studying Bach and Beethoven proved to be fruitful, and later in life he was inspired by the exceptional violinist Ferdinand David to write his three Quartets Op. 44 between 1837 and 1839 (represented on this SACD by the final work in E flat major). They document the mature, formally assured Mendelssohn who sums up his instrumental writing: brilliantly composed (particularly for David's violin), full of color and formal attractions, romantic in their conduct. After completing his Quartet Op. 80 (contained in the second volume of the complete recording), Mendelssohn had not much time left to revisit and renew the string quartet. Two single surviving movements - a tenderly transfigured, but also irascible, Andante with five variations and a whispering Scherzo- were integrated into Op. 81 after Mendelssohn's death. To Mendelssohn admirers, this Scherzois faintly reminiscent of the Scherzo in the Octet Op. 20 with which the sixteen-year-old Felix, in a coup de main, created a new genre: 'symphonic' chamber music where all 'pianos and fortes need to be very precise and clearly separated and more distinctly emphasized than it is normally the case with pieces of this genre.' The jubilant opening of the octet, the romance-like Andante, the elastic, elf-like Scherzo and the rapid fugal finale - every movement is proof of the resourcefulness and the youthful genius of this 'lovely episode in German music', as Friedrich Nietzsche once referred to the composer Mendelssohn.'

American Record Guide, May/June 2014
What a treat! I love Mendelssohn and his quartets and octet, and it was a pleasure to listen to them repeatedly and get to know them in more depth. I couldn't ask for better renditions! The Mandelring Quartet has chosen extremely fast tempos. They play with astounding accuracy and attention to all the expressive details in the score (I checked!). The Octet, composed when Mendelssohn was 16, is one of those miracles of the repertory. The Cremona Quartet - whose early Beethoven I admired. I don't know a single recording that matches Mandelring's tempos.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Klingenmünster.



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Works Details

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Quartet for Strings no 5 in E flat major, Op. 44 no 3
  • Ensemble: Mandelring Quartett
  • Notes: Klingenmünster (04/25/2012-04/26/2012)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 02/06/1838

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Vier Stücke für Streichquartett, op. 81 :: 1. Tema con variazioni, Andante sostenuto
  • Notes: Klingenmünster (04/25/2012-04/26/2012)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1827-1847

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Vier Stücke für Streichquartett, op. 81 :: 2. Scherzo. Allegro leggiero
  • Notes: Klingenmünster (04/25/2012-04/26/2012)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1827-1847

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Octet for strings in E flat major, Op. 20
  • Ensemble: Quartetto di Cremona
  • Running Time: 32 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 10/15/1825