Felix Mendelssohn’s string quartets take us through the different stages of his career. In 1823, when he was just fourteen years old, he rehearsed a first exercise. But it wasn’t until 1827 and 1829 that he composed those that would first be published – and catalogued with a reverse order number. So the String Quartet No. 1 that opens this program is actually the third. It is distinguished by the affectionate register of three movements that finally unravel into frenetic phrases and rhythms. The technical mastery demonstrated here is so excellent that it is recognized as one of the composer’s first masterpieces, largely modelled on Beethoven’s last quartets. In 1837 and 1838, Mendelssohn would compose another three quartets, which form Op. 44. Here, his unique style is already evident. Experimentalism and technique provide more coherent dramatic sequences. The instruments confront each other in an irreproachable musical fluidity. In particular, String Quartet No. 3 shows the happiness that marked this period of his life. He was then acclaimed as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the oratorio Paulus had won great success and he had recently married.
F. Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 1, Op. 12
F. Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 3, Op. 44/1
Alexêi Tolpygo, Ágnes Sárosi violins, Joana Cipriano viola, Nuno Abreu cello