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MENDELSSOHN, Felix: String Quartets, Vol. 1 (New Zealand String Quartet) - String Quartets Nos. 1, 4, 6

Composer(s):Mendelssohn, Felix
Artist(s) New Zealand String Quartet, Ensemble
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.570001
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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With their often turbulent and dark-hued openings, poignant slow movements, elfin Scherzos reminiscent of the music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and tense, thrilling last movements of perpetual motion, Mendelssohn’s String Quartets are works of considerable emotional range and mastery of form. This first disc of the complete String Quartets ranges from the youthful No. 1, Op. 12 (actually the second of the published quartets) to the great, tragic String Quartet No. 6, Op. 80, Mendelssohn’s last major work, composed after the death of his sister.


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The New Zealand Quartet’s performances are very compelling indeed, distinctly looking forward to Beethoven in their urgency and strength. However, they don’t miss the charm of the First Quartet (especially the engagingly played Canzonetta), although by no means do they treat it as an immature work. They are enormously arresting in the F minor Quartet, which comes first on the disc, and both here and in the E minor, they catch all the music’s dark-hued turbulence in outer movements, and the Scherzo of the latter is similarly fierce. Yet slow movements have a disarming simplicity and beauty. The recording is state-of-the-art. We hope this is to be the first of a complete survey; if so, it will be hard to beat.

Review By Julian Haylock,Classic FM,June 2008

Following years of implausible neglect, Mendelssohn’s six string quartets have won a devoted following unparalleled since they first burst onto the music scene over a century-and-a-half ago. In this first volume of a new complete cycle, the New Zealand String Quartet gives a warmly affectionate account of three contrasted works ranging from the post-Beethovenian nobility of the String Quartet No 1 to the angst-ridden String Quartet No.6 in F minor. The three works are opulently recorded in a fine Canadian church (Holy Martyr’s in Bradford).

Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,May 2008

Three cheers for all concerned! This excellent quartet, recorded in the ideal acosutic setting of Holy Martyr’s Church in Bradford, Ontario comes across as a symphonically rich group with tight ensemble, perfect intonation and a pulsing energy most suitable to Mendelssohn. As the first in a projected complete traversal of he quartets, forthcoming discs in the series will be welcomed by all chamber music lovers.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,March 2008

I always regarded the performances of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets presently in the Naxos catalogue as no more than stopgaps, and I am pleased the label has now revisited the works in the capable hands of the New Zealand String Quartet. They set out their credentials in a hard-hitting account of the Sixth Quartet, a score that gives a rare glimpse of angst among Mendelssohn’s emotions that came as the result of the recent death of his beloved sister, Fanny. It is a work of turmoil, the New Zealanders digging deep into their strings to capture the restlessness as the score grows increasingly dark, a more conventional expression of sorrow in the third movement offering a brief respite from the surrounding bleakness. It is a work that would normally contrast with the



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