Mendelssohn: String Quartets

Album cover art for upc 761203793129
Label: CPO
Catalog: 777931-2
Format: CD

Minguet Quartett

Here, cpo’s complete edition of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s string quartets in gripping interpretations by the Minguet Quartet continues with Vol. 2. At the young age of twelve Mendelssohn composed Twelve Fugues for String Quartet (1821), and in his String Quartet in E flat major composed shortly thereafter a fugue forms the finale. Such contrapuntal pieces pointing to Johann Sebastian Bach were regarded as proofs of compositional proficiency. However, this work was in no way an object of study merely copying classical models. The adagio alone with its melancholy, emphatically intensified melody and quartet texture finely spread over all the instruments radiates a new and very unique sound magic. What is remarkable about Mendelssohn’s Quartet op. 12 is the lyrical character of the first movement, which quite obviously engages in dialogue with Beethoven’s late Quartet op. 127 in the same key. Of course the individual tone of the composer, who was a mere twenty years old at the time, is also very clear. His Four Pieces for String Quartet are not a homogeneous work, even if after his death they came to be known as his String Quartet No. 7 op. 81. The four movements are from different periods of time: the variation movement and the scherzo from 1847, the year of his death, the capriccio from 1843, and the concluding fugue from as early as 1827. The stylistic aspect shifts from movement to movement.

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