“Spirited”, “dramatic”, “highly expressive”, and “masterly” are among the comments made upon Mendelssohn’s String Quartets op. 44 nos 1–3. He wrote them in 1837/1838, at a very happy time: he had just married, was becoming world famous, and had been appointed director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Concerts, one of the highest positions in the German musical world at that time. The quartets were written in the order 2 (in e minor), 3 (in E-flat major) and 1 (in D major). Mendelssohn himself considered the Quartet in D major as his best – perhaps a reason why he placed it at the beginning of the collection.
- String Quartet D major op. 44,1
- String Quartet e minor op. 44,2
- String Quartet E flat major op. 44,3
Mendelssohn wrote his op. 44 string quartets in 1837–1838, and hence roughly ten years after his two string quartets opp. 12 and 13 (also published by Henle; see HN 270). The first to be composed was the e-minor Quartet later issued as no. 2. He started work on it in spring of 1837 while on his honeymoon, and finished it in July. The completion, it would seem, was … more
About the composer
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.
|1809||Born 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.|
|1819||He becomes a pupil of Carl Friedrich Zelter.|
|1820||Joins the Sing-Akademie in Berlin.|
|1821–23||Twelve sinfonias for strings.|
|1825||String Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20.|
|1826||Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 21|
|1827||Begins studies at the University of Berlin.|
|1829||Revival 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.)|
|1830–32||Extended 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).|
|1833||Music director in Düsseldorf. “Italian” Symphony in A major, Op. 90 (1830–33).|
|1835||Director of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig.|
|1836||Premiere in Düsseldorf of his oratorio “St. Paul: Oratorio on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 36.|
|1838-44||Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.|
|1840||Composition of “Hymn of Praise, a Symphony-Cantata on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 52.|
|1841||Berlin, in the service of the Prussian king. “Variations sérieuses” in D minor, Op. 54, for piano.|
|1842||Completion of Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”) in A minor, Op. 56, with a songlike opening.|
|1843||Incidental music to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 61. Director of the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory.|
|1846||Premiere of his oratorio “Elijah,” Op. 70, in Birmingham.|
|1847||String Quartet in F minor, [Op. 80]. Death in Leipzig on November 4.|
About the authors
... Um so mehr soll auf die bei Henle herausgekommene Neuausgabe der Quartette op. 44 hingewiesen werden, die virtuosen Glanz zu verstrahlen vermögen, ... . Gerade wenn man sich bei diesen Stücken in die Details der Artikulation und Phrasierung zu vertiefen gedenkt, sei die Neuausgabe empfohlen, da in dieser Hinsicht etwa in der alten Petersschen Ausgabe etliche Abweichungen vom Original zu finden sind. Die Neuausgabe zeichnet sich außerdem durch das übliche ansprechend-übersichtliche Henle-Layout aus sowie dadurch, daß konsequent eingetragene Taktzahlen das lästige Suchen (23 Takte vor "B" auf zwei und ...! - wo?) erleichtern. ... Unentbehrlich für die weiterführende Auseinandersetzung mit diesen Stücken: die Quartette in der Studien-Edition desselben Verlages mit kritischem Bericht.
... presented in Henle's immaculate study score format.