String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.67
Arnold Mendelssohn (1855-1933) was a distant relation to Felix Mendelssohn. His early schooling took place in Berlin and Danzig. His formal music training was at the Royal Church Institute of Berlin where he studied organ, piano and composition with Friedrich Kiel. He subsequently worked as an organist at churches in Bonn and Bielefeld, eventually teaching at the Cologne Conservatory where Paul Hindemith was among his many students. He composed nearly 300 works in virtually every genre from opera to chamber music, although he was perhaps best known for his church music. He was widely respected as a composer of the Neo-Romantic Style and his music was frequently performed until it was outlawed by the Nazi Regime, after which it lay forgotten for many years and is only now being rediscovered.
The famous chamber critic and scholar Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players has this to say about Mendelssohn's First String Quartet:
Arnold Mendelssohn's First String Quartet appeared in 1916. One is amazed by what delicacy and refined taste he has placed into a classical structure. In the first movement, Allegro non troppo, for example, we find a superb lyrical main theme, dominated by its rhythm. The second movement, Andante, is a simple, soulful melody and a excellent set of variations which bring to mind those in Schubert's d minor quartet. In the place of a scherzo, there is a Waltz with a very charming coda. The finale, Allegro molto, might be styled hunt music. The joviality and humor are especially effective. The entire work brings pleasure. This is a winner."
We believe that this fine work deserves a place in the repertoire. It is a first example of post romantic, early modern writing. It is also to be recommended to experienced amateurs.