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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henschel Quartet play Mendelssohn complete string quartets, 20 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Complete String Quartets, The (Henschel Quartet) (Audio CD)
The Complete String Quartets (Henschel Quartet)

The eminent and world famous German based Henschel String Quartet under the leadership of first violin Christoph Henschel is notable in that three of the players are siblings. Their outstanding versions of the Mendelssohn String Quartets have previously only been available in three separate volumes on the Arte Nova label, without the advantage of the early String Quartet in E flat major (1823). Their Arte Nova set of the complete Mendelssohn String Quartets include the early String Quartet in E flat major (1823).

The aristocratic playing of the Henschels is so sparkling, exhilarating and consistently expertly performed throughout the complete works that this Arte Nova set is my first choice of all the available sets in this terrifically competitive market. These outstanding interpretations from the Henschels are surely the closest to Mendelssohn's favoured Viennese Classical period. I felt that these Henschel accounts would undoubtedly have won the advocacy of the ultra-classically orientated Mendelssohn as they consistently discover the tempi that seems to completely convey both the letter and the spirit of the music, and the most sparing use of vibrato feels just perfect. The ultra professional Henschels clearly have a special affinity for these scores and their scrupulously prepared interpretations are masterly illustrations of humane, old world music making. Recorded in Munich at the Bavaria Studio and the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the fine sound quality is clear and cool. The high standard annotation from Arte Nova has proved extremely useful. More good news is that these performances are available from Arte Nova at super-budget price. However, the reality is that this quite magnificent set of the complete Mendelssohn String Quartets from the Henschels would have been my first choice selection even at full price.
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