Brahms: String Quintet No. 1 In F Major, Op. 88 &
Mendelssohn, Vladimir; Quartetto Energie Nove
The soaring, optimistic opening of Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 is one of the great moments in chamber music: the upper strings shimmer, enriched with the addition of a second viola, while the cello delivers its leaping melody. The work is equal to his Op. 88 string quintet: it has an even more intimate and abstract character, with rich and complex writing within the concise form that also characterizes its twin work. The Quintet in F major, Op. 88 was completed in the spring of 1882 at Bad Ischl, a place particularly favored by Brahms. Unusually, the composer immediately declared himself very pleased with the work, to the point that he wrote, after the customary private performance, to the publisher Simrock: ‘I can assure you that up to today I have never listened to a better work written by me.’ Cast in three concise movements, the Quintet in F major is an extraordinary work, warmly communicative, and undoubtedly one of the Hamburg composer's best chamber works. The two String Quintets Op. 88 and Op. 111 are particularly noteworthy and should be counted among Brahms’s chamber music masterpieces, even though they are rarely performed in concert because of the peculiar scoring for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello. Since there are no regular ensembles with this make-up, they are usually performed by an established string quartet to which a second viola is added.