Mendelssohn: Octet, Piano Sextet

Mendelssohn: Octet, Piano Sextet
Composer Felix Mendelssohn
Artist Amati String Orchestra & Ensemble
Gil Sharon violin and consert master
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 93991
EAN code 5028421939919
Release August 2009

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About this release

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.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Piano Sextet in D Op.110: I. Allegro vivace
  2. Piano Sextet in D Op.110: II. Adagio
  3. Piano Sextet in D Op.110: III. Menuetto
  4. Piano Sextet in D Op.110: IV. Allegro vivace
  5. Octet in E flat Op.20: I. Allegro moderato ma con fuoco
  6. Octet in E flat Op.20: II. Andante
  7. Octet in E flat Op.20: III. Scherzo: Allegro leggierissimo
  8. Octet in E flat Op.20: IV. Presto