92. At the Top of Their Game
- Haydn: String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 71, No. 3
- Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
The idea of the underappreciated composer has a strong foothold in popular lore. But, of course, that myth is far from universal. Today, we’ll hear string quartets written by two composers at the top of their game. Haydn’s opus 71 quartets were written with an eye towards Haydn’s upcoming appearances in London. Unlike some of his earlier quartets, this piece is designed for an 800-seat concert hall, not the parlor. The Mendelssohn quartet, his fourth, was an immediate hit. He was just 28 years old and was already leader of the acclaimed Gewandhaus orchestra, as well as a love-struck newlywed. Portions of this quartet are believed to have been written during his honeymoon.