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Complete String Quartets

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Product Details

  • Performer: Pacifica Quartet
  • Composer: Mendelssohn Felix
  • Audio CD (May 1 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Ced
  • ASIN: B00082ZSIY
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,544 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Pacifica Quartet

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa02e28ac) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02d2ae0) out of 5 stars Very good, but not great Nov. 24 2013
By LDubz - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I first heard one of the Op. 44 tracks from this CD on my local classical radio station, Classical New England, and indeed it was the first time I had heard any of the Op. 44 pieces, period. I enjoyed it so much, I borrowed the Pacifica CDs from my local library. I compared the Op. 80 performance with one I own by the Merel Quartet on the Genuin label (String Quartets Felix Fanny Mendelssohn and judged the Merel's performance and recording acoustics superior. This led to me to explore other artists who had recorded the complete set of Mendelssohn's string quartets.

There's been a lot of buzz about the Pacifica, and they continue to get quite a bit of exposure on Classical New England, but I ultimately settled on buying the Henschel Quartet on the Arte Nova label (Comp Str Qts F Mendelssohn I find Henschel's performances terrifically nuanced - they're not just plowing through the material; they're inhabiting it and fully bringing it to life. Also, the acoustics of the Henschel's performances are just about right - the recording venue for chamber music is critical and needs to provide a certain amount of resonance (technically, this may not be the right term, but I'm referring to the sound quality that represents the difference between a large performance hall vs. a recording studio with sound-absorbing, baffled wall coverings). While I found the Pacifica to be technically competent, the recordings are dry - they lack sufficient acoustic resonance for my ear to find pleasing. On the other hand, the Aurora Quartet on the Naxos label (e.g., Mendelssohn String Quartets Vol 2 Felix which is also highly rated, sounds like it was recorded in a performance hall that was a tad oversized - too much acoustic resonance.

I have sampled every other ensemble that ever recorded the Mendelssohn string quartets (quite a time investment!). The Melos Quartett on the DG label (Mendelssohn Streichquartette Complete String Quartets was a close second for me, but I found them to be shrill at times. For me, the Henschel Quartet represents the high water mark for the Mendelssohn string quartets, where this amazing music meets its match in terms of sheer performance talent and engineering quality.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02e512c) out of 5 stars Almost Sounds East German May 23 2013
By Peter P. Fuchs - Published on
Format: Audio CD
One of the other reviewers here has written a strange comment, which inspires an equally odd insight in me: "Tell me - does any one of us leap from our beds (of iniquity) in morning with the imperative: if nothing else today, I must listen to Mendelssohn's string quartets? Nothing is more important!" Well, yes sir, some of us do. Some of us even have a lot of rare recordings of these quartets. Their approach here is very similar, to my ears, to a very unique version of some of the quartets. Namely, that of the famous East German quartet called the Ulbrich Quartet. I have never since heard a similar take on these works, and it is a very different read on these masterpieces than most have given in recent decades. The New Ulbrich Quartet!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02e5600) out of 5 stars When Niceness Mattered June 9 2012
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Tell me - does any one of us leap from our beds (of iniquity) in morning with the imperative: if nothing else today, I must listen to Mendelssohn's string quartets? Nothing is more important! Give me Opus 44 or give me death!

The F Minor String Quartet has its merits - how could it not - and the A Minor is . . . . amiable enough but once words like that appear, so does the treacle.

This music is clever; it is civilised; its impeccable craftsmanship should be obvious to all. And sometimes faint praise can ring out more resoundingly than the Bells of the Kremlin.

The Aurora cycle on Naxos has been widely lauded for their Mendelssohn cycle and rightly so: their muscularity, timbre and unison of attack do much to pump up the tyres of these works (Mendelssohn: String Quartet Vol.1 et al). By comparison, the Pacifica are more lyrical if not sedate and to my mind, this approach does less to put some distance between the rims and the bitumen of the highway. Even so, they are first-rate and superbly recorded at that.

St Augustine said the world is a better place for being a mixture of perfect and imperfect alike. Quartets-wise, if the Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in your collection need to be tempered with some Mendelssohn, look no further.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02e59c0) out of 5 stars Pacifica Great Performances of All Mendelson's Quartets Sept. 11 2010
By Andrew T. Fisher - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In this great CD, the Pacifica quartet -- one of the most talented and expressive current string quartets -- gives ALL of Mendelssohn's quartets not only accuracy, but supurb expression as well.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02e596c) out of 5 stars A RELIEF Jan. 19 2013
By Bernhardur Gudmundsson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase