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Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets

Mendelssohn / Talich Quartet
Release Date: 07/09/2013 
Label:  La Dolce Volta   Catalog #: 115   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With La Dolce Volta, the reissues don’t just look like treasure boxes in silver and pink, they also contain treasures: the best from the wonderful Calliope label; in this case the Talich Quartet interpretations of the complete Mendelssohn quartets. They were my favorites when they came out between 2000 and 2003, and although the Mendelssohn Quartet Competition has increased exponentially in the years since (Mandelring, Pacifica, Eroica, Leipzig, to name just the best), the combination of old-world charisma, elegance, saturation, and vibrancy makes the Czech outfit around Jan Talich, Jr. my continued frontrunner in what includes some of Mendelssohn’s finest, most profound musical statements.

– Jens F. Laurson, Listen
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Two of the three discs in this set have been reviewed individually (by Dan Davis), who gave both of them our highest rating. That leaves the three quartets of Op. 44 for consideration, and they are every bit as fine as the rest. The Talich Quartet plays this music about as well as it can be played. Note for example how the group differentiates the two inner movements of the D major quartet (No. 1), avoiding the monotony that Mendelssohn risks in having two movements in similar tempos follow one another.

The quartet also plots the evolution of the three slow movements, from Andante con moto to Andante to Adagio non troppo, with ideal sensitivity to their individual characters, while the outer movements of each quartet have both the necessary buoyancy and rhythmic edge. The Talich players accomplish all of this with uniformly lovely tone, total unanimity of ensemble, and perfect intonation, making the “appassionato” and “agitato” designations in the E minor quartet especially compelling.

Mendelssohn’s quartets have been receiving a good bit of attention on disc lately, and for good reason. They are not as well known as they should be, yet they remain the finest works in their medium between Beethoven and Dvorák. One of them, the F minor quartet Op. 80, just might be Mendelssohn’s finest instrumental work in any form. More consistent in quality than his symphonies, elegant and shapely, these quartets deserve much wider exposure. The sonics are extremely natural, warm, and present, with remarkably little extraneous performance noise (a few of the usual sniffles aside)–in short, an essential set for lovers of great chamber music and great quartet playing.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings in E flat major by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1971 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 22 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in A minor, Op. 13 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 28 Minutes 30 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in E flat major, Op. 12 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 22 Minutes 51 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 4 in E minor, Op. 44 no 2 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 22 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 5 in E flat major, Op. 44 no 3 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 29 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6.
Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 44 no 1 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 26 Minutes 27 Secs. 
7.
Quartet for Strings no 6 in F minor, Op. 80 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 23 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8.
Pieces (4) for String Quartet, Op. 81 by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Talich String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827-1847; Germany 
Venue:  Prague au Studio Arco Diva Domovina 
Length: 20 Minutes 4 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Exquisite Playing October 2, 2013 By John Rathbun (Mills River, NC) See All My Reviews "Talich shows us a hidden side of Mendelssohn: pensive and at times tragic. Their interpretations are passionate and the playing technique flawless." Report Abuse
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