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Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, January 2020

Felix Mendelssohn composed his remarkable String Octet in October 1825, when he was 16 years old; the first performance took place before the end of that year in one of the Sunday musicales at his family’s home in Berlin.

The composer’s original scoring called for double string quartet—that is, four violins, two violas and two cellos. Apart from simply expanding the numbers of these instruments, later performances sometimes include double basses as well, which were added by Arturo Toscanini for his broadcast performance of the work with his NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1947. © 2020 My Classical Notes

Harriet Smith
Gramophone, August 2012

The Specialist’s Guide To…Mendelssohn’s chamber music: #10

The Sextet, scored for violin, two violas, cello, double bass and piano, predates the Octet by a year and offers a fascinating reflection of where Mendelssohn’s preoccupations lay at this time. You can trace his musical roots, be it Weber in the bubblingly extrovert finale, or Hummel, Moscheles and Kalkbrenner in the virtuosity of the piano-writing. The performers here combine considerable dexterity where needed with warmth in the touching Adagio. © 2012 Gramophone

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