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Mendelssohn: The Piano Quartets / Domus


Release Date: 08/18/2008 
Label:  Virgin Classics Special Import Catalog #: 91183   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Richard LesterSusan TomesKrysia OsostowiczTimothy Boulton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domus Piano Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The boy Mendelssohn's precocity never ceases to amaze: not even Mozart as a teenager was so complete a master of the craft. These quartets contain some of the finest music he wrote during those extraordinary years, dating as they do from 1822 (when he was 13) to 1825. There are many of the characteristics that were always to mark his music: the instinct, shared among nineteenth-century composers virtually only with Weber and Berlioz, for the fleeting scherzo, including the somewhat elliptical, quasi-nocturnal scherzo; the gift for tender, expressive melody, not yet tinged with the sentimentality that could afflict him when the manner overcame the matter; and, which is less often emphasized, the extraordinary instinct for structure. He was Read more well-schooled by Zelter, but nothing in the old man's book could have accounted for the originality which Mendelssohn showed all his life, already in these works, for expressing melodic and harmonic material in surprising, novel, beautifully effective forms.

The Domus players respond quickly and sensitively to the considerable demands put upon them. Susan Tomes is fleet of finger, rather too fleet and light for the recording engineers here and there, for instance, near the start of the First Quartet; but in general the balance is fair, and takes trouble to make musical sense of such an odd passage as the central section of the Scherzo of No. 1, when viola, cello and piano left-hand dialogue eloquently. The beautiful Intermezzo of No. 2 is charmingly played, lightly and without over-emphasis. The tougher movements, in which Mendelssohn is setting out quite a complicated musical argument, are clearly articulated. This is an attractive set of performances of some marvellous music.

-- John Warrack [6/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in C minor, Op. 1 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Richard Lester (Cello), Susan Tomes (Piano), Krysia Osostowicz (Violin),
Timothy Boulton (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domus Piano Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Venue:  St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, UK 
Length: 25 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2. Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 in F minor, Op. 2 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Timothy Boulton (Viola), Richard Lester (Cello), Krysia Osostowicz (Violin),
Susan Tomes (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domus Piano Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1990 
Venue:  St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, UK 
Length: 22 Minutes 20 Secs. 
3. Quartet for Piano and Strings no 3 in B minor, Op. 3 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Susan Tomes (Piano), Richard Lester (Cello), Timothy Boulton (Viola),
Krysia Osostowicz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domus Piano Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Venue:  St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, UK 
Length: 30 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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