Thursday, October 25, 2012

Album of the day: Mendelssohn's Complete String Quartets with the Pacifica Quartet

Apologies to all for the hiatus ... it was a very very busy summer with unfortunately very little time for blogging.  I did get a chance to do a lot of listening en route to work, in my office, at night at home, and I hope to have the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on some of the finer albums to have come through that listening experience.

For today, however, I just wanted to highlight this gem of an album which I just pulled from the shelf.  If you haven't heard anything from the Pacifica Quartet, then this is an urgent recommendation to give them a try.  They were previously based in my home town of Chicago and they have been recording almost exclusively for the Chicago based record label, Cedille (with a couple of exceptions for the Naxos label).  If you know the Cedille label, then you are familiar with their excellent recording engineering for not just these artists but also others including Rachel Barton Pine, Jorge Federico Osorio, and several others.  This is the only recording of the Mendelssohn string quartets which I own, though I have recently sampled the first album of a new cycle by the Mandelring Quartet.  This one has garnered a great deal of praise from Classics Today (with a 10/10 rating) and Fanfare, and I'm happy to also throw my hat into that ring.  This is a thoroughly enjoyable CD set.  The Pacifica Quartet has a wonderful sense of ensemble, intonation, and musicality.  If any of you have had the chance to listen to other Mendelssohn string quartet cycles and have been able to compare, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts!