Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn: String Quintets-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn: String Quintets-No 1

Article excerpt

Mendelssohn

String Quintets--No 1, Op 18; No 2, Op 87

Leipzig Quartet with Barbara Buntrock va

Dabringhaus und Grimm (F) MDG3071806-2 (57' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Leipzig Quartet add a viola and I move to Mendelssohn for five

The Leipzig Quartet have already abundantly proved their Mendelssohn credentials with a cycle of the quartets. Now, joined by viola player Barbara Buntrock, they turn their attention to the woefully underrated quintets, the First written when he was 17, the Second from nearly two decades later and only posthumously published. The Intermezzo of the First is a good example of the Leipzig's approach, thoroughly involving, bringing out the quiet rhetoric of Mendelssohn's writing so it absolutely registers but never feels overdone. And in the remarkable fugal Scherzo--the manic momentum here sounding uneasy rather than ebullient (as found in the Octet's equivalent movement of a year earlier)--they bring out the darkness with tremendous clarity, though the Mendelssohn/Mann are still more febrile here. In the free-spirited finale, the Leipzigers react with wonderfully liquid phrasing and a cheekier aplomb than the more classical Zemlinsky or the smoother-contoured Mendelssohn/Mann. …

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