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Mendelssohn: String Quintets Nos. 1 & 2 / Mannheimer Streichquartett


Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777389   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Niklas SchwarzArmin FrommAndreas KrecherJone Kaliunaite,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mannheim String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MENDELSSOHN String Quintets: No. 1; No. 2 Mannheim Str Qrt (with Jone Kaliunaite, viola) cpo 777 389 (61:14)


For many years I kept my love of Mendelssohn pretty much a secret, something a little shameful, to be admitted ruefully—like one’s addiction to butter pecan ice cream or the music of Glenn Miller. After many years’ listening, reorganizing, abstinence, and then rediscovery, however, I can say with some certainty that Felix Mendelssohn (and, on a lower plane of existence, Glenn Miller) were a lot better Read more musically than they are often given credit for.


Yet trying to pinpoint what it is that makes Mendelssohn such a fine composer, as in the case of Mozart, is somewhat nebulous. Describing his music is not so much like trying to pin Jell-O to a wall as it is like describing an inspired vision, getting all the details exactly right, yet never quite conveying in words the feeling that the inspired vision brings to one’s consciousness. The closest I can come is to say that in extending Mozart’s style into the 19th century, Mendelssohn also caught his wave of inspiration and took it in new directions; and that, in doing so, something inside him kept kicking him to be self-critical and determined to inspire the listener nearly as much as he himself was inspired in the act of creation.


Such is the feeling I get every time I listen to Mendelssohn’s music, and these quintets are no exception. Well crafted, yes, of course, but always, always that kick of inspiration that lifts them into another realm. He never quite caught the drama of Beethoven or the ruminating quality of Schubert, but he didn’t have to. He was concise, lyrical, and dramatic in his own way. The Mannheim Quartet, consisting of violinists Andreas Krecher and Shinkyung Kim, violist Niklas Schwarz, and cellist Armin Fromm, is like so many of today’s quartets, well blended yet adept at delineating the individual strands and inner conversations within the pieces performed. There is so much passion in these musicians’ performances that they rather deflect comparison, though the Guarnieri Quartet’s classic 1966 recording of the Second Quintet (RCA 94198) is excellent in its own way, but Guarnieri was more a child of its time, meaning that the group emphasized a cohesive string blend à la the Budapest Quartet rather than greater detail. But both readings are dramatic and valid.


For once, cpo has eschewed its usual syrupy reverb in favor of a cleaner, crisper aural perspective, which is all to the better. Highly recommended.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quintet for Strings no 1 in A major, Op. 18 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Niklas Schwarz (Viola), Armin Fromm (Cello), Andreas Krecher (Violin),
Jone Kaliunaite (Viola), Shinkyung Kim (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mannheim String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826/1832; Germany 
2.
Quintet for Strings no 2 in B flat major, Op. 87 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Niklas Schwarz (Viola), Armin Fromm (Cello), Andreas Krecher (Violin),
Jone Kaliunaite (Viola), Shinkyung Kim (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mannheim String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Germany 

Sound Samples

String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18: I. Allegro con moto
String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18: II. Intermezzo: Andante sostenuto
String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo: Allegro di molto
String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro vivace
String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87: I. Allegro vivace
String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87: II. Andante scherzando
String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87: III. Adagio e lento
String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87: IV. Allegro molto vivace

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