Wednesday, 28 January 2009

239. Feliz Mendelssohn - Octet (1825)


Title: Octet in E-flat for Strings, op.20 & Sextet in D for violin, 2 violas, cello, bass and Piano Op.110
Performers: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Year: 2002
Length: 30 minutes


Felix Mendelssohn is 16, his life is an idyll of arts, music, frolicking, whatever, and he manages to compose a piece which really funnels that into an explosion of joy. The first movement is particularly exemplary of this.

This is that rare form of an octet, and in this case only for strings, basically it is little more than a double string quartet, but it does sound fuller because of it, and it is almost symphonic in character.

This is really fun to listen to, even if next to Beethoven's string quartets we had yesterday these do sound like the works of a 16 year old boy. But because of this they have an innocence ad a sheer disarming simplicity that is great.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The scherzo, later scored for orchestra as a replacement for the minuet in the composer's First Symphony at its premiere, is believed to have been inspired by a section of Goethe's Faust entitled "Walpurgis Night's Dream." Fragments of this movement recur in the finale, as a precursor to the "cyclic" technique employed by later 19th-century composers. The entire work is also notable for its extended use of counterpoint, with the finale, in particular, beginning with an eight-part fugato.

a documentary on Emerson Quartet playingthe Octet:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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