Mendelssohn String Quartet Op. 80
Felix Mendelssohn left us lots of wonderful music, which we commemorate this year, because it is the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Think of it: At age 17, he composed the masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and we have much chamber music, symphonies, piano pieces, concertos for violin and piano, as well as religious music.
Felix and his sister, Fannie, were very close. She was a musician and an outstanding composer in her own right. A year before Mendelssohn’s death, his sister died, and her brother was not consolable. We hear the tragedy in his music.
This string quartet was written after Fannie’s death. And one can hear the transformation: Previous wonderful melodies in his songs, symphonies, and quartets have now turned to frenzied anger as expressed in his music. If you have access to it, listen to the Violin Concerto in E-Minor. After hearing that, listen to this quartet! And you’ll hear the agony, anger, turmoil, and disbelief that Felix’ sister is gone. The Adagio speaks of that sadness, and the Finale which follows paints the grinding pain of the composer.
You, as the listener, however, need to be consoled too. Fortunately, this recoding also contains the Schumann Piano Quintet. What music that is!! Just what the Doctor ordered to assure that you are left feeling great, even though you heard Mendelssohn’s pain in that selection…
To hear audio samples, please go to: