L’allegro con moto qui ouvre le Premier Quintette, œuvre solaire coulée de la plume d’un jeune homme de dix-huit ans, regarde du coté des fantaisies charmantes des quatuors de Haydn, écriture svelte et un rien ironique que les Bartholdy savourent de leurs archets joueurs, œuvre de pur plaisir qui soudain, dans une tempête change de visage. Le romantisme y éclate par moment avant que la lumière classique ne reparaisse. Les cinq amis font entendre cette schizophrénie avec autant de poésie que d’éloquence. Ils ajoutent un Minuetto au lyrisme ténébreux saisissant, dont Mendelssohn avait initialement fait le 3e mouvement de l’opus 18, lui préférant finalement un Scherzo à la coupe et au ton plus classique. Tout change dès l’Allegro vivace du Second Quintette, qui se fait l’écho par sa tension du Quartettsatz de Schubert. L’œuvre est splendide, torrentielle, quasi orchestrale comme ne le seront jamais ses quatuors, l’alto supplémentaire donnant à l’ensemble une couleur plus sombre. Les harmonies populaires du Scherzando, la marche funèbre de l’Adagio, à nouveau si schubertienne de couleurs et d’allant, le final qui s’ébroue dans un franc soleil que les archets envolent, retrouvant le giocoso qui paraissait au long de l’opus 18, voila une œuvre qui a trouvé ses interprètes. En bonus une version alternative du finale, qui n’ajoute guère à ce disque exemplaire. (Discophilia - Artalinna.com) (Jean-Charles Hoffelé)
In February 2009, on a date very close to the celebration of Mendelssohn’s 200th birthday, we got together for the first time in a quintet lineup in order to perform a small concert in the form of a public rehearsal. The repertoire was rapidly chosen: it had to include at least one piece by Mendelssohn. After that successful experiment, we spontaneously decided upon thecomposer’s second surname for our new quintet.…….. A further inherent challenge lies in those aforementioned “spontaneous chamber music parties”: the two Mendelssohnquintets are simply too difficult to be treated off-handedly. In an insufficiently rehearsed B Flat Major Quintet, for instance, the main parts remain indistinguishable amidst a tumult of sixteenth notes. Performers can become entangled in the challenging virtuoso polyphony of the A Major Quintet’s last movement. In the Scherzo, there is a tiptoe spiccato balancingact that can cause insufficiently prepared performers to tumble head over heals into the chasm (even if the second viola manages to avoid loss of face in the first eight solo measures).)…..In Mendelssohn’s case, the time between a finished composition and its subsequent publication could occasionally span several years; he frequently introduced significant changes, including cuts. The reasons for such changes are often no longer clear to us today. In certain cases it is not even clear whether Mendelssohn himself was responsible for the changes, or ifthey were made with his approval or not. The fundamental dilemma in working with these sources is that one has to give priority either to the autograph manuscript or to the first printed edition. We have decided to record these works following Mendelssohn’s manuscript, thereby avoiding all cuts. As an alternative, however, we have included the later version of the finale of the B Flat Major Quintet, which was possibly not altered by Mendelssohn himself, but by Julius Rietz – a version which many connoisseurs will still have “in their inner ear”. We also find it quite beautiful. Decide for yourselves! We find our musical fountain of youth in the works we rehearse as a quintet and the way we approach them. In a climate of mutual trust and familiarity, we find true joy in uncovering new aspects in works with which we were already well acquainted. Geographically we hail from many different corners of Germany; without a “marriage certificate” (as would be required from each one of us if we were a string quartet), we are able to participate in this experience together with a great degree of individual freedom. As good friends, we can communicate with one another on a profound musical level, thus making our ideal of music-making a reality.