mendelssohn + schubert  


FCL 1995

"The young award-winning Afiaras play Mendelssohn's A Minor Quartet like compassionate angels... When the Octet starts, there is both more forward motion and less volume, a hush seems to fall over the music ... By the time you're at I/1010 and all the feeling has been drenched out of you, the ensemble comforts and raises you with Mendelssohn unexpected emerging out of the gloom and into the sunlight. It's one of the great moments in all of classical music... The liner notes are wise and entertaining... In all aspects, therefore, a CD not to be missed." — Audiophile Audition

Excerpt from liner notes by Eric Bromberger

This disc offers three works composed within a narrow band of time (1820–1827) by two very young composers: when they wrote the pieces heard here, Mendelssohn was a teenager and Schubert only 23. Mendelssohn, who grew up in Berlin, and Schubert, who spent his entire life in Vienna, never met, and it is likely that at the time of his death in 1828 Schubert had never heard of Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn, however, was quite aware of Schubert: his principal teacher in Berlin, Karl Zelter, strongly disapproved of Schubert’s songs, with their elaborate and often dramatic accompaniment. But Mendelssohn, who played the piano in a performance of Schubert’s Erlkönig in Berlin in 1828, had his own ideas about the Viennese composer, and in 1839 he led the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in what is considered the official premiere of Schubert’s “Great” C-Major Symphony.

Mendelssohn and Schubert may seem very different men and composers, but they had some things in common. Both played violin and viola, both took part in performances of chamber music, and both wrote a great deal of chamber music for strings. At its best, that music — beautifully conceived for stringed instruments — is among the treasures of the chamber repertory. This disc offers a generous sample of those works.

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String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13
1.  Adagio–Allegro vivace
2.  Adagio non lento
3.  Intermezzo. Allegro con moto–
     Allegro di molto
4.  Presto–Adagio non lento

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797–1828)

5.  Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 703


Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20
6.  Allegro moderato, ma con fuoco
7.  Andante
8.  Scherzo. Allegro leggierissimo
9.  Presto