Mendelssohn & Mendelssohn-Hensel: String Quartets / Takács Quartet

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Felix Mendelssohn’s impassioned F minor quartet was the fiercely personal response to his sister Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s death in 1847, only a few months before his own. The Takács Quartet follows it with an equally committed account of a much earlier work, and open this album by championing Fanny's visionary contribution to the genre.

"Fanny was the elder sister to Felix by some three years, and, like him, a prolific composer and virtuoso pianist. Her sole string quartet—at the time a rare venture by a female composer into that genre—dates from 1834. In four movements, Hensel’s work begins with a deeply expressive adagio ma non troppo that is formally free and tonally adventurous. Her brother was an accomplished violinist and violist who began writing string-quartet fugues as early as 1821, when he was twelve. [He] took considerable inspiration for his Op 13 from one of his own miniature Lieder, the love song ‘Frage’ (‘Ist es wahr?’, Op 9 No 1), which, he announced to his Swedish friend Adolf Lindblad, would serve as the overarching theme for the four movements[.] His String Quartet in F minor, Op 80, dates from the closing months of Mendelssohn’s life in 1847; it was precipitated by the tragic death of his sister from a stroke on 14 May, as she was rehearsing her brother’s cantata Die erste Walpurgisnacht with her chorus in Berlin. [He] poured his grief into his most dissonant and emotionally charged composition: his final string quartet, essentially completed by September 1847, though left for posthumous publication in 1850."



Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: HYP68330.2


  • UPC: 034571283302


  • Label: Hyperion


  • Number of Discs: 1