Two early quartets of Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky
Both are masterpieces of the Romantic period: sonorous, melodious and passionate.
Mendelssohn Quartet no. 2 in A major, op. 13
Mendelssohn wrote his second quartet in 1827. He was 18 years old and had already published several masterpieces: the Octet op. 20 and the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream to name two. The quartet is constructed around a recurring melody from a song that Mendelssohn had written a few months earlier. The second quartet is regarded by musical critics as a landmark in ‘cyclical’ composition. It is a delight to hear.
Tchaikovsky Quartet no. 1 in D major op. 11
Tchaikovsky wrote three quartets. His first was written in 1871 when the composer was 31. The second movement, Andante Cantabile, is often played as a separate piece and has numerous anecdotes attached to it. According to Tchaikovsky,
“…Tolstoy, sitting next to me and listening to the Andante of my First Quartet, burst into tears”
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