Monday, October 18, 2010

Marriner, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields - Mendelssohn Octet/Boccherini Quintet Op37 No. 7







Most often the reissues from major studios are self-recommending, especially when they appear in series like EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" or DG and Decca's "Originals." Such is the case here with the Mendelssohn Octet for Strings, Op. 20, played by members of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
The very fact that Decca-Argo recorded it in 1968 and originally released it on the Argo label should be enough to induce music fans to buy it. It was a golden age and a golden label for great recordings. One of the remarkable things about the Octet is that Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) wrote it in 1825, when he was onlyMarriner sixteen years old, yet it is still one of his most-popular compositions.  Not that this should surprise anybody; while in his teens he wrote a slew of sonatas, quartets, songs, and such, including the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream the year after the Octet, and the Overture, too, remains among the most-popular pieces of music in the world. Hugh Maguire, Neville Marriner, Iona Brown, and Trevor Connah on violins, Stephen Shingles and Kenneth Essex on violas, and Kenneth Heath and Denis Vigay on cellos perform the Octet. They play immaculately, yet they play with such affection for the music, you'd think they were born to it. There is nothing stodgy here; the performance is light, graceful, spirited, and invigorating by turns. Like its companion piece on the disc, the Boccherini Quintet in C major, it is a total delight. One listen and you would probably agree with me that there is little difference between the sound of this analogue recording and the sound of any above-average digital recording made today. Indeed, the 1968 sound, somewhat closely miked, is better than most new digital recordings--smooth, clean, quiet, and detailed. It's hard not to love this album.--JJP





  1. Hi,
    A few of your Mendelssohn posts seem to have missing pieces at Filefactory. This one is missing part 1, as are these two posts. In addition, this post is missing parts 6 and 7. Please reupload the missing parts if you can.

    Thanks for sharing your extensive music collection. I always appreciate your posts!

  2. Thanks for the post.
    Sorry part 1 is lacking in filefactory, please reupload, if you can.

  3. I am doing a complete new upload. Please check back in 3-4 days.

  4. Hello,
    Part 1 appears to be missing again. Could you please fix it when you have the time? I am much looking forward to hearing this remastered version.

    Thank you in advance



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