Hausmusik’s performance of the Mendelssohn Octet comes with the advantage of a sensibly steady tempo for the famous scherzo, allowing for maximum transparency and lightness; and a dazzling finale in which for once the cello’s first scurrying fugal entry sounds crystal clear. The First String Quintet, and the Op. 13 Quartet – Mendelssohn’s homage to the late quartets of the recently deceased Beethoven – are also miraculous products of the composer’s teenage years. The Quintet is quite beautifully done here, but the Quartet, like the late Quintet, Op. 87, is rather lacking in tension and urgency. Woldemar Bargiel was Schumann’s brother-in-law. For all its obvious weaknesses, his Octet contains some attractive ideas, and Divertimenti’s performance makes a strong case for it. Divertimenti is impressive in the Mendelssohn, too – though its finale is not quite as exhilarating as Hausmusik’s; and in the last resort neither group can quite match the élan of the ASMF Chamber Ensemble.
In this monumental Romanian film, a large family and its many generations vie for advantage, seeking to win the inheritance sure to be left behind by a wealthy older man of the clan. This movie is based on a very long and popular novel by George Calmescu, and is similar in some ways to England's BBC television series, The Forsythe Saga, based on Galsworthy's books. Along the way, stories of friendship, love and rivalry emerge. In one story, a poor young man is disappointed in love as his girl chooses lucre over love in selecting a mate.
Leila Schayegh, Václav Luks, and Felix Knecht present four of Franz Benda’s violin sonatas (and a movement extracted from another sonata) from a collection of 34 ornamented examples of the genre included in manuscript form among the holdings of the Berlin State Library. The ornamentation, provided for both the slow movements, for which Benda earned a reputation, as well as for faster ones, could serve as a sort of compendium of German period practice (Schayegh’s own notes suggest that the works hail from about 1760).