After a first volume praised by the press, including an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, the Quatuor Van Kuijk concludes its complete recording of Mendelssohn’s string quartets with op.44 nos. 2 and 3 and the Quartet op.80, which bears the mark of the sudden death in 1847 of his sister Fanny, to whom he was very close, at the age of only forty-two. As Stéphane Goldet writes in the booklet: ‘The act of resistance that is the Quartet op.80, written in a single burst during the summer of 1847, its overwhelming “No, not that, not her!” shouted by four instruments for twenty-five minutes, was to be the composer’s last completed work. The four movements of this “confrontation with grief” (Bernard Fournier) in F minor are to be played con dolore, although that marking never appears in the score.’ She goes on to quote Brigitte François-Sappey: ‘This “Requiem for Fanny” might be called “Death and the Young Woman”. As in Schubert’s last two quartets, the strings shiver in tremolos over ostinato pedals, like death knells.’
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