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Goldmark, Mendelssohn: String Quartets / Klenke Quartet

Release Date: 11/26/2002 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93077   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Karl GoldmarkFelix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Klenke String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bulletin to chamber music buffs: If you have been putting off acquiring the now widely available Mendelssohn Second Quartet, and have no recording of Karl Goldmark’s only String Quartet, seriously consider acquiring this disc. The performances are outstanding, and so are the recordings, made by the Southwest German Radio in Baden-Baden in August 1998 and May 2001. The Klenke Quartet, formed in 1991, is new to me, but I will now be looking for its other recordings. The four instrumentalists—Annegret Klenke, Beate Hartmann, Yvonne Uhlemann, and Ruth Kaltenhäuser—play with splendid intonation, lovely tone, rhythmic zest, and plenty of feeling. These are truly romantic interpretations of two romantic masterpieces. I have never heard either Read more work played better.

However. The last two or three years have brought us outstanding new recordings of the first two Mendelssohn String Quartets by the Eroica, Leipzig, Vellinger, and Talich Quartets. If the serious collector on a budget has one or more of those, the rarely recorded Goldmark, a fine work, might reasonably be sought in a recent, excellent recording featuring the Fourth Dimension String Quartet, where it is coupled with Goldmark’s String Quintet, op. 9 (ASV CD DCA 1071). Still, one should have this new disc.

When the young Karl Goldmark brought his richly scored Quartet to Joseph Hellmesberger, that eminent violinist and leader of Vienna’s finest quartet declined to play it, noting that the themes were too short. The principal themes of the first movement are indeed quite short, so the listener might be confused as to what is theme and what is passagework. But Hellmesberger later changed his mind, and became one of Goldmark’s champions. However brief the principal themes of the first movement, one should have no difficulty figuring them out with the repeated hearings that recordings permit, and listening to either of the recordings mentioned here should be a pleasure. A further aid to figuring out the form of the first movement is the exposition repeat observed by both ensembles.

Mendelssohn’s No. 2 was written a year before his No. 1, but published later, perhaps because of its bold originality of form and daring paraphrasing of Beethoven’s great A-Minor Quartet, op. 132. Mendelssohn’s is an astonishing work for an eighteen-year-old, but then he was younger still when he wrote his great Octet and the Overture to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Robert McColley, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 8 by Karl Goldmark
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Klenke String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1998-2001 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden 
Length: 31 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 2 in A minor, Op. 13 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Klenke String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1998-2001 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden 
Length: 29 Minutes 53 Secs. 

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