"The spatial layout for this Tacet disc is even more unusual than the Mozart flute quartets. Producer Andreas Spreer reports that he always felt stereo recordings of string octets missed the feeling a performer in the octet has of being part of a large orchestra. By spreading the instruments around in a circle - basically with one string quartet around one half of the circle and the other around the other half - the listener is right in the middle of the octet and there is a much more open sound. He likens this position to that enjoyed by the Mendelssohn family cat when they all got in a circle to play this brilliant composition of the 16-year old boy. As the listener turns his/her head around the circle each point of the compass has a string trio directly in front - the violins alternating with the lower-pitched instruments, the viola and cello. For the string quartet the players are no longer placed one to a speaker but spread across the front in normal positioning. This has been my personal favorite Mendelssohn work most of my life. My favorite performance has been an old mono one from Toscanini in an expanded arrangement but the superb playing and in-the-room realism of this multichannel effort could easily replace that old classic in my estimation. The quartet is also exquisite, full of lovely tunes and perfect proportions."
John Sunier

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