This is the second octet I am writing about and by far the best I have heard. I’m not much of a lover of Mendelssohn, but even I have to admit this is superb. Mendelssohn might have heard Spohr’s earlier attempt at the genre, but with this he created a work that is not like two string quartets. He instructed the players to play it like it is a symphony, and it is sometimes played like a string orchestra. What I find most surprising about all of this is that young Felix wrote it when he was just 16.
Having said all that, I did notice this specific recording was sounding a bit flat. And then I checked a little better. My version is mono, no matter what my Discogs link is showing. Actually, there is no mention on Discogs of a mono version, but it is clear to me. It does explain why I didn’t listen to it that much in the past. I might not have noticed it was mono, but I certainly missed a bit of depth to the sound. I am now left to wonder if that might have caused me to judge Mendelssohn a bit too harsh. Time to find a good recording of this work.