Composer: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (b. 1809 - d. 1847)
Performance date: 30/06/2014
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 1837
Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc
Instrumentation Category:String Quartet
Zemlinsky Quartet (František Souček, Petr Střížek [violins], Petr Holman [viola], Vladimír Fortin [cello]) -
In March 1837 Mendelssohn married Cecile Jeanrenaud and his music at
that time reflects his happy situation.
It was partly sketched during their honeymoon, which they spent in the
Black Forest area. The score is dated June 1837. Everything flows so easily and delightfully from my pen at this time, wrote
the composer. It was given its première
by Ferdinand David’s Quartet at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in November that year,
when it was a great success.
An ardent rising theme opens the first movement, a theme that looks
forward to his Violin Concerto, which he started work on the following year and
which shares the same key. It is a
richly scored piece both intense and lyrical. It is the longest movement of the
work and Mendelssohn develops his material with a sure hand. In contrast the
second-placed Scherzo is the Quartet’s shortest movement, and reflects the
shimmering strings we know and love from his Midsummer Night’s Dream
music. For a moment it appears he will
provide a contrasting central section, but it is a false start and the lovely
melody launched by the viola is quickly replaced by the opening tune which
brings the movement to an abrupt ending.
A Bach-like accompaniment leads into a soaring song-without-words tune
for the slow movement. A contrasting
melody follows with gentle staccato chords and a serpentine theme. Mendelssohn develops his ideas with complete
assurance, creating a gently thoughtful atmosphere. The finale explodes into
action with a surging arpeggio theme, this is set against a song-like secondary.
The material is skilfully interwoven with imaginative modulations and clever
variants of the basic material, bringing this honeymoon Quartet to a resounding
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