String Quartets op. 13 et 44.1

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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
String Quartets No. 2 Op. 13 & No. 3 Op. 44,1
Kazakh State String Quartet

At the age of 18, Felix Mendelssohn composed his String Quartet Op. 13, one of his major early works. The fact that it was written after Beethoven’s death reveals a wealth of references: the youthful master experimented blithely with form and content. The Quartet also has an autobiographical component going back to the song “Frage” (“Question”), the beginning of which (underlaid with the question “Ist es wahr?” – “Is it true?”) provides the motto of the first movement and returns toward the end of the finale – a very personal message from Mendelssohn. The Quartet Op. 44/1 was written during a period of infatuation with Cécile Jeanrenaud, whom he married in 1837. Here the mature mastery of the composer is palpable; everything arises from his own intuition. He creates a fascinating symbiosis of traditional classical form and romantic stylistics which is profoundly his own and radiates great unity – in addition to a wealth of musical themes, harmonic impulses, a songful, emotional slow movement and a rousing, virtuoso scherzo and finale. This music is performed with profound passion by the young musicians of the Kazakh State String Quartet.

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