The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Mendelssohn: String Quartets in E minor op.44 no.2 & F minor op.80, Capriccio op.81 no.3
A generally successful first volume in a Mendelssohn cycle
Thursday, 20 June 2013
MERIDIAN CDE 84618
Having gained much critical acclaim in the field of rarely recorded British music, the Maggini Quartet is spreading its wings with this first release in a projected cycle of Mendelssohn’s works for string quartet. It is obvious from the robust opening movement of the E minor Quartet that this will not be the genteel approach to the composer we remember from yesteryear. There is an abundance of drama and red-blooded passion that spills over into the players’ hard-driven scherzo and exciting finale.
The sense of spontaneous creativity continues through their interpretation of the F minor Quartet, where their sensitive approach to the Adagio provides a moment of peace within a suitably bleak and despairing mood for outer movements that convey the composer’s angst following the death of his sister.
Although not overly generous in content, the disc ends with a nicely paced account of the Capriccio from the Four Pieces that were collected together after Mendelssohn’s death as his op.80. But the Maggini is entering a highly competitive market, and the disc is not without worries regarding intonation, most notably in the slow movement of op.44 no.2. The disc’s closely recorded sound could have benefited from a little more warmth.
From the July 2013 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.