Video of the Goldner String Quartet performing Felix Mendelssohn's second String Quartet.
|Date||12th August 2017|
I Adagio - Allegro vivace
II Adagio non lento
III Intermezzo, Allegretto con moto
IV Presto - Adagio
Felix Mendelssohn's Quartet in A minor, Op. 13, was published in 1830 and was written two years before his Quartet Op. 12. Although not as mature and formally concentrated as Op. 12, Op. 13 is still no less deserving of notice. Its bulk, which dwells essentially in A minor regions, is suspended between two short, warm and blissful A major Adagios, one of which opens the work and finally returns at the end. The melody of this Adagio is that of Mendelssohn's own song Ist es Wahr? (Is it true?), Op. 9 No. 1, composed in the same year.
After the introductory A major Adagio, the A minor Allegro section of the first movement begins on dominant seventh harmonies and features chromatic figures and running semiquaver passages as important thematic elements.
The F major Adagio opens with a fine melody which is followed by a yearning chromatic theme which is worked upon throughout the movement until its climax in the coda, heard after the repetition of the first melody.
The third movement, in A minor, is in a romantic vein, abandoning the 3/4 time of the Menuet or Scherzo type in favour of a gently 2/4 intermezzo, the prototype of many a Schumann and Brahms movement. This enchanting, melodious main section is contrasted by a fast A major trio-like middle section.
The Finale begins on diminished seventh harmonies leading to the passionate A minor main part with the agitated melody that forms its first subject, and then its second subject that recalls some of the thematic material of the first movement in a more breathless vein. The movement concludes with the return of the Adagio which prefaced the whole work.
This musical note was written by the late Walter Andreas Dullo, German-Jewish refugee and co-Founder of Musica Viva Australia with Richard Goldner. Prior to escape from Nazi Germany in 1937, Dullo was a promising pianist and lawyer. In Australia he made his reputation as a fine chocolatier, while continuing musical interests as a programme writer and arranger of music.
Special thanks to Musica Viva Australia for the use of this text.