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String Quintet A major op. 18
String Quintet B flat major op. 87

About the Composer

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Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

A German composer, conductor, pianist, and organist who already numbered among the most important composers in Europe during his lifetime. While still young he found a unique tonal language. Reflected in his oeuvre, which spans all genres, are the contradictory tendencies of the age – Classicism and Romanticism. His endeavors over the course his life to perform the works of Johann Sebastian Bach led to a “rediscovery” of that composer which continues unabated. His intensive engagement with Bach and his counterpoint influenced his own compositional technique.

1809Born into a wealthy banker’s family in Hamburg on February 3. Escape to Berlin with his parents in 1811. First musical instruction from his mother.
1819He becomes a pupil of Carl Friedrich Zelter.
1820Joins the Sing-Akademie in Berlin.
1821–23Twelve sinfonias for strings.
1825String Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20.
1826Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 21
1827Begins studies at the University of Berlin.
1829Revival of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin on March 11 and 21. Travels to England and Scotland.
1829–30“Reformation” Symphony in D minor, [Op. 107], with inclusion of the choral “Ein feste Burg“ (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.)
1830–32Extended travels, including to Italy and France. Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 25; Overture in B minor, Op. 26, “The Hebrides, or Fingal’s Cave” (1829–30).
1833Music director in Düsseldorf. “Italian” Symphony in A major, Op. 90 (1830–33).
1835Director of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig.
1836Premiere in Düsseldorf of his oratorio “St. Paul: Oratorio on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 36.
1838-44Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.
1840Composition of “Hymn of Praise, a Symphony-Cantata on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 52.
1841Berlin, in the service of the Prussian king. “Variations sérieuses” in D minor, Op. 54, for piano.
1842Completion of Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”) in A minor, Op. 56, with a songlike opening.
1843Incidental music to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 61. Director of the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory.
1846Premiere of his oratorio “Elijah,” Op. 70, in Birmingham.
1847String Quartet in F minor, [Op. 80]. Death in Leipzig on November 4.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors

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Ernst Herttrich (Editor)

Dr. Ernst Herttrich, born in 1942 in Würzburg, read musicology, history, German and theology at the universities in Würzburg and Cologne. In 1970 he earned his doctorate in Würzburg with a study of the expression of melancholy in the music of Mozart.

From 1970 to 1990 he was an editor at G. Henle Publishers in Munich, after which he was Head of the Beethoven Complete Edition for over 15 years. In 1999 he took over as Head of the Beethoven-Haus Publishers, and from 2001 was made Head of the Beethoven-Archiv, the research centre at the Beethoven-Haus.

He has been a visiting professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and has undertaken several lecture tours both there and to Kyoto. His research interests include source studies, editorial techniques and music history. Herttrich’s publications include “Beethoven. Liederkreis an die ferne Geliebte” (Bonn 1999) and “Ludwig van Beethoven. Biographie in Bildern” (Bonn, 2000). Herttrich has edited over 100 Urtext editions for G. Henle Publishers.

Die vorliegende Henle-Ausgabe bietet also einen gewohnt hohen Urtext-Standard zu einem vernünftigen Preis.

ensemble, 2012

Henle's exemplary publication of these seriously underrated works will no doubt lead to a more informed assessment of Mendelssohn's work and personality and to more classically oriented interpretations of these delightful works. ... Henle's crystal-clear printing in the handy 9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch book-size study score is a bonus in rehearsal, and the parts are spaciously laid out with painstaking attention to clarity and detail.

Strings, 2012

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