Mendelssohn Bartholdy: String Quartets Nos. 2 & 6

Minguet Quartett

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Mendelssohn Bartholdy: String Quartets Nos. 2 & 6 Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Felix Mendelssohn penned a total of seven string quartets during his short life. Two quartets at the antipodes of his output are both tragic works in their own right, the Second Quartet written in response to Beethoven's death, and the last following the debilitating loss of his sister, Fanny, and only months before his own untimely death. Though only 20 years span the two works, they represent a lifetime of maturation and musical advancement, with the Quartet in F minor, Op. 80, clearly paving the way for the quartets of future generations. The Cologne-based Minguet Quartet offers electrifying, sweepingly passionate performances of these two emotion-packed compositions for this CPO album. Each member possesses a decisively meticulous technique that is mirrored in the precise intonation, detailed articulation, and seamless interplay heard throughout the disc. An almost electric vibrance of the inner voices propels the fast movements forward, and careful control of pacing and poignancy of tone allow listeners to savor the emotional impact of the slow movements. CPO's sound is punchy and responsive, capturing the broad dynamics, myriad colors, and forcefully present tone of the Minguet Quartet.

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