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Mendelssohn: String Octet, Etc / Prazak Quartet, Et Al

Release Date: 11/08/2005 
Label:  Praga   Catalog #: 250221   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Jaromír KlepácJiri Hudec
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String QuartetKocian String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

In the late 1960s the combined Smetana and Janácek Quartets recorded for Supraphon a stunning version of the Mendelssohn Octet, one that to this day has remained a reference. Now Praga offers a new performance featuring two of the current generation of Czech quartets, and the results are every bit as fine. Despite the fact that the Octet enjoys plenty of attention on disc, this is a performance of unusual distinction. Right from the opening, with its sharp rhythmic profile and bold dynamic contrasts, it's evident that the players have taken to heart Mendelssohn's injunction to play the
Read more piece with the drama and weight of an orchestral piece. The music thrillingly surges forward from first bar to last. The slow movement has plenty of warmth, allied to impeccable intonation and a perfectly flowing tempo, while the scherzo is so tautly buoyant that it practically quivers with tension. There isn't a single moment in the finale, or anywhere for that matter, that fails to convey a feeling of rightness and inevitability.

In short, this performance rises to the very highest standard, and the same holds true for the ebullient Sextet for piano, string quartet, and double bass. Comparisons with Schubert's "Trout" Quintet are unavoidable, perhaps to the disadvantage of the Mendelssohn, but it dates from 1824, just a year before the Octet, and although Mendelssohn was only 15 years old, he already was a composer of considerable ability. The piece has plenty of good tunes and contains a brief but beautiful adagio slow movement, and the momentum in the large outer movements is effectively sustained. Pianist Jaromír Klepác leads a clearly energized ensemble in a sparkling rendition of this neglected work, and the sonics, whether in stereo or SACD multichannel formats, are perfect. A fabulous disc on all counts. [11/30/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet,  Kocian String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Germany 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
Sextet for Piano and Strings in D major, Op. 110 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Jaromír Klepác (Piano), Jiri Hudec (Double Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Germany 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

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