The Jury Talks Back

8/13/2017

Sunday Afternoon Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:55 am

Felix Mendelssohn has always gotten a bad rap. Early on, he was dismissed as a lightweight — an astonishing child prodigy, to be sure, but “Mozart lite” at best. In recent years, he has started to earn more respect — but not as much as he deserves, in my opinion. He has always been near the top of the list of my favorite composers, since I was child. We would go on long car trips when I was young (I didn’t fly on a plane until I returned home on break from college my freshman year) — and I mean long. As in “Fort Worth, Texas to Long Island” long. A set of Mendelssohn symphonies on cassette helped make these trips bearable.

Mendelssohn’s string quartets are often overlooked by the general public, but they are among my favorite works in all music — and I am not alone in that opinion. I spoke with one of the members of the Mandelring Quartet after a recent Los Angeles performance, and he ranked Mendelssohn’s quartets among his favorite in all the literature.

What you’re about to hear was written by an 18-year-old. If you were not already familiar with Mendelssohn’s astounding precocious musical ability at a young age, you would never guess that. Passionate and melodic, this stands as one of the great works of Western civilization.

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