Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets

Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets

by Pacifica QuartetPacifica Quartet


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This set of Mendelssohn's complete string quartets is like a clever, interlocking puzzle that forms an artful whole. There are many different elements at work here, each of which plays a part in the success of this set. First is the ensemble. The Pacifica Quartet is impressively matched not only in timing and phrasing, but also in tone and articulation to such a degree that the separate instruments form a single unit, which perfectly suits Mendelssohn's writing. Even though these quartets have solo melodic passages, contrapuntal movements, bowed lines against pizzicato, all the musical lines in Mendelssohn's music -- whether for piano, chamber ensemble, or orchestra -- work together toward the same emotional expression. The Pacifica finds an excellent balance between that Romantic sentiment and the Classical refinement in this music, between drama and form. This is possible because the Pacifica is firmly and confidently in control of everything it does, both as individuals and as a group. Even in the fast movements, such as the finale of the "String Quartet No. 3," there is exhilarating speed, but never any danger of flying off the track. There is a tautness in the playing that also helps intensify the drama. In the Presto of the "String Quartet No. 2," the first violin's recitatives and the accompaniment become almost dark in their closely held ardency. Finally, the sound of the recording is so close and rich it feels like a private, personal performance for just one listener. All of these pieces put together make for a truly rewarding set of quartets.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/26/2005
Label: Cedille
UPC: 0735131908221
catalogNumber: 82
Rank: 90634


  1. String Quartet in E flat major
  2. String Quartet No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 12
  3. String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80
  4. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
  5. String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op.44/1
  6. String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op.44/2
  7. String Quartet No. 5 in E flat major, Op.44/3
  8. Pieces (4) for string quartet, Op. 81

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