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Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2

Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2

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After a first volume praised by the press, including an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, the Quatuor Van Kuijk concludes its complete recording of Mendelssohn’s string quartets with op.44 nos. 2 and 3 and the Quartet op.80, which bears the mark of the sudden death in 1847 of his sister Fanny, to whom he was very close, at the age of only forty-two. As Stéphane Goldet writes in the booklet: ‘The act of resistance that is the Quartet op. 80, written in a single burst during the summer of 1847, its overwhelming “No, not that, not her!” shouted by four instruments for twenty-five minutes, was to be the composer’s last completed work. The four movements of this “confrontation with grief” (Bernard Fournier) in F minor are to be played con dolore, although that marking never appears in the score.’ She goes on to quote Brigitte François-Sappey: ‘This “Requiem for Fanny” might be called “Death and the Young Woman”. As in Schubert’s last two quartets, the strings shiver in tremolos over ostinato pedals, like death knells.’


With Mendelssohn Complete String Quartets Vol. 2, the Quatuor Van Kuijk complete the cycle of the composer’s string quartet output. Included here are the String Quartets No.4 in E Minor Op.44 No.2, No.5 in E-flat Major Op.44 No.3 and No.6 in F Minor Op.80 (Alpha Classics ALPHA931 Both Op.44 quartets receive outstanding performances, but the real gem is Op.80, the last work Mendelssohn completed before his death and written in an outburst of grief following the death of his beloved sister Fanny. Described as “a confrontation with grief” it’s a striking work in which the composer’s pain is palpable, the performance here being one of quite stunning emotional impact and remarkable sensitivity and intensity. The CD runs to a commendable 83 minutes, giving Quatuor Van Kuijk an edge over competing sets, many of which run to three volumes. Not that they need any advantage – it’s difficult to imagine any playing coming close to this.

-- The Whole Note

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 10, 2023

  • UPC: 3760014199318

  • Catalog Number: ALPHA931

  • Label: Alpha

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Quatuor Van Kuijk

  • Performer: Quatuor Van Kuijk