When 16-year-old Felix Mendelssohn completed his Octet in 1825, the prodigious young composer created a whole new genre of chamber music.
Unfolding over 30 completely captivating minutes, the work for four violins, two violas and two cellos was the first of its kind – and 200 years on, it has rarely been bettered.
A work of extraordinary invention and meticulous string writing, the Octet calls on every imaginable combination of voices possible from just eight string players. One critic summed it up when he wrote, "Its youthful verve, brilliance and perfection make it one of the miracles of nineteenth-century music."
A century earlier, Georg Philipp Telemann was an important link between the late Baroque and early Classical styles, and a major influence on Mendelssohn. His concertos for four solo violins are exquisite works, the strings weaving and dancing around each other with great verve and energy. It’s not hard to imagine Mendelssohn taking inspiration from these intricate delights.
TELEMANN Concerto for Four Violins
MUSICIANS OF THE SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA