From the notes: Claudio Arrau [1903-1991] has perhaps the widest performing repertoire of any pianist in history, but four composers were central to it: Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schumann. These composers he played in concerts and recordings all his life, reaching ever greater depths in interpretation as the years went by."… "Arrau's interpretations of Schumann and Chopin stress the darker, more complex and dramatic sides of the composers' personalities." Notes by Peter Warwick
In 1827, when writing his Quartet in A minor, Op.13, the 18-year-old Felix Mendelssohn was especially interested in Beethovens late quartets at a time when these works were generally written off as confused fantasies of a deaf musician. Mendelssohn's debt to Beethoven is evident in the important role of polyphonic techniques, particularly in the focus on cyclical connections between movements. Ten years on, Mendelssohn composed the three quartets, Op. 44, the D major quartet that closes the present disc the last of these to be completed; on publication, however, Mendelssohn placed it first in the set. Besides the seven complete quartets, Mendelssohn also wrote four individual string quartet movements. These were gathered together and published posthumously as op. 81, and on this second volume of their complete Mendelssohn cycle the Escher Quartet perform two of these pieces, both conceived in August 1847, shortly before the composers death.