Rued Langgaard suffered the worst fate of any composer, not only was he ignored by his contemporaries but he could not even get his major works performed. Today’s Third Quartet was one of the exceptions getting four performances in his lifetime. It is an exciting work, changing direction several times every page of the score giving the impression of a brilliant but angry young man. Tempo directions race from rapinoso
only occasionally tranquillo.
Mendelssohn’s last quartet is known as Requiem for Fanny
as he wrote it after his beloved sister died unexpectedly. He followed her a few months later, but not before composing this overwhelming quartet also known as a second Death and the Maiden
due to its similarity to Schubert’s masterpiece. In recent years this powerful work has captured the imagination of every young Quartet leading to a succession of hard-driven and anguished performances that would break your heart even if you did not know the story. The Adagio in particular is deeply affecting.