Final Quartets

Mendelssohn & Beethoven: String Quartets


  • String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135


  • String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80

Performed by the Jupiter String Quartet

This is an interesting recording because it allows us to hear the final compositions of two musical giants: the Beethoven last quartet, Op. 135, and also the last quartet composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

Felix Mendelssohn was the son of a well-to-do family in Germany. He was highly educated; he was a terrific watercolor painter, and he was schooled in languages, history, and literature. He lived a relatively happy life, yet in his String Quartet No. 6 in F minor op. 80 we discover the tragically sad side of his normally sunny personality. The quartet was written in 1847, soon after the death of his beloved sister Fanny; and he died only two months after its completion. The music is powerful, turbulent, and highly charged with tragic emotion.

The last few quartets of Beethoven show us a composer at the peak of his creative powers. His final quartets are the harbingers of what is to come in chamber music for the following 100 years. Earlier works in this form, such as the Op. 131 represent a totally new direction in terms of structure, content and originality in quartet writing. Beethoven’s last String Quartet in F major opus 135 was written on a smaller scale than his other late quartets. This work ends in a spirit of great humor and joy.

The Jupiter Quartet received many major chamber music awards since it was formed in 2001, including First prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, Grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. Most recently they were honored with an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Here is the Jupiter Quartet plays Mendelssohn op. 80, first movement:



Tags: Jupiter String Quartet, Mendelssohn, Beethoven

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