Boundless energy is the word! When the Leipzig String Quartet takes on Mendelssohn’s string quintets, the atmosphere is electrifying. Nervous sixteenth repetitions, above them the animation and euphoria of the theme in the first violin, propelled by accents in the lower voices: this is music charged with energy, and it rushes forward on its stormy path. And then we suddenly find ourselves in another world: the greatest intimacy pervades the presentation of the second theme, and with quiet legato motion it opposes an idyll’s pastel hues to the eruption initially staged by the forces of nature.
Daring and Dramatic
Mendelssohn’s late quintet shows us this composer at the height of his creative power. Composed around the time he was working on Elias, it is a unique chamber work full of orchestral drama. Even by itself, the magnificent intensification in the adagio to a glorious apotheosis in D major at the end transcends all conventions. And the Leipzig musicians, joined by Barbara Buntrock, insist on savoring all the dynamic extremes, taking instrument and instrumentalist to their physical limits.
Fast and Furious
Mendelssohn had composed a string quintet already at the age of nineteen. This youthful work from the period of the overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the genial octet is absolutely Mozartian in its clarity. Two unique highlights are found in the scherzo designed as a breakneck fugue and the furious finale developing into a massive double fugue, once again mpressively demonstrating the composer’s early mastery.
In Mendelssohn the Leipzig musicians are in their element: sovereign instrumental command, consummate sound design, and precision teamwork perfected in detail offer a dynamic listening experience in a special class of its own.