Monday, November 30, 2009

Mendelssohn - The String Quartets - Melos Quartett

Mendelssohn - The String Quartets - Melos Quartett
Chamber | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 3 CD, 882 MB
October 25, 1990 | DG | RapidShare

Mendelssohn was a herald for the new Romantic movement, not quite out of the classical but not wholeheartedly into the new wave. This collection epitomizes that status - falling somewhere between the joy of Mozart, the classical possibilities of Beethoven and the arch Romanticism of Schumann and Brahms. Interpretations are truly magnificent, the individual parts crystal clear, phrasing perfect.

Cd review

Recordings of Mendelssohn's quartets have a way of not staying long in the catalogue; some excellent single discs have quickly fallen by the wayside in the last ten years. More recently three companies, presumably sharing my view that record buffs are missing something good, have tried releasing the lot, unsuccessfully; they comfortably fill four discs if you include the E flat Quartet he wrote when he was 14 (its delightful first movement makes it well worth hearing once in a while), and until these Melos discs arrived the catalogue could offer hardly anything but the complete recording by the Bartholdy Quartet (Acanta JB23075, 3/81), Inevitably the music varies in quality. The middle period quartets are beautifully written, clever as paint, and just a bit glib, yet, though Mendelssohn did not feel called on to express deep emotions there is much to enjoy, notably the Scherzo of Op. 44 No. 3, enchanting in content and original in form. But the F minor, Quartet which he wrote just after his sister's death and just before his own, has deep feeling in plenty. The first two movements sound like a cry of anguish, almost of rage, at Fanny's death, and the third is that rarity in Mendelssohn, an intense slow movement. But the two quartets he wrote when he was almost grown up (perhaps his best period) are my own favourites, especially the A minor which is full of ideas culled from Beethoven yet assimilated into a masterpiece, part of whose originality derives from the subtle and then unusual use of cyclic form. The influence of Beethoven's quartet in the same key is interesting for it had not yet been performed professionally, the Mendelssohns must have bought a set of parts and arranged a performamce in their Berlin home. There is excellent music too in the four pieces published posthumously as Op. 81, notably in the fugue that ends the Capriccio.

It must be tempting for an ensemble with unusual technical skills to try to astonish, which the Melos Quartet does by playing some movements at a speed one can only describe as incredible—for instance the first in the A minor; sometimes one so marvels at the precision and dexterity that one almost loses sight of the music, but they certainly strike fire from the F minor Quartet, which is superbly done, the slow movement being beautifully expressive. As I've mentioned in these columns before, I cannot like the modern habit of playing longish notes with a bulge in the middle; on these records this sometimes results in a minim in the tune not impinging on the ear until the second beat, which cannot be right. To my mind the trick sentimentalizes and slightly spoils parts of the first movement of the Op. 13 Quartet and of the first and third of the E minor; I think myself that tunes should be played with what singers call 'a line', though I realize many will not agree. However, this failing, if indeed it is one, is far outweighed by the virtues of the playing which is almost always magnificent. There are no repeats in the Op. 44 Quartet first movements. The recording quality is excellent. Recommended. R.F.--Gramophone

Melos Quartet (Wilhelm Melcher, Gerhard Voss, vIns; Hermann Voss, via; Peter Buck, vlc).

CD Content
No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 12;
No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13;
No. 3 in D major, Op. 44; No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44;
No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 44;
No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80;
Four Pieces, Op. 81.


  1. Excellent!.Thank you very much.

  2. Many thanks, I've been looking for these.

  3. Wow! been looking for this and the links are still alive! Thank you so much!

    1. Oops! Part8 and Part9 files are gone from the server. Could you kindly re-upload these files if you still have them?



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