Mendelssohn: Octet, Piano Sextet

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Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Artists: Amati String Orchestra & Ensemble, Gil Sharon

Mendelssohn was perhaps the most precociously gifted of all composers. As a child prodigy he stands out from other famous examples such as Mozart, Saint-Saëns, and Britten as he reached musical maturity so quickly – probably only Korngold can rival his precocious abilities. The two works on this CD are prime examples. Both were composed in the years 1824/5 when Mendelssohn was in his sixteenth year. The sheer effortlessness of the Octet, its textures, and the seamless way he writes for the 8 players has never been surpassed. Mendelssohn’s inspiration to compose a work for 8 string players was probably inspired by the Double Quartets of Spohr. However, the older composer deliberately wrote for two groups of 4 players, and made little attempt to meld the 8 into an orchestral unit.

The sextet is almost a piano concerto, and the dazzling writing he gives the piano illustrates not only Mendelssohn’s prowess as a virtuoso, but also how well he had studied his older contemporary’s music, especially Hummel and Moscheles.

Tracklist:
00:00:00 Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D Op.110: I. Allegro vivace
00:12:53 Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D Op.110: II. Adagio
00:17:49 Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D Op.110: III. Menuetto
00:20:59 Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D Op.110: IV. Allegro vivace
00:31:55 Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat Op.20: I. Allegro moderato ma con fuoco
00:46:04 Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat Op.20: II. Andante
00:53:17 Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat Op.20: III. Scherzo: Allegro leggierissimo
00:57:47 Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat Op.20: IV. Presto

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