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Saverio Mercadante

An important contribution to the quartet production in early 19th century Italy, Mercadante’s second quartet in F major is part of a series of three composed in 1814 and confirms the characteristic traits of the quatuor brillant that he had initiated with the first quartet op. 53. The three movements that make up the work – [Allegro moderato], Largo, Andante con variazioni – feature all the types of articulation and phrasing that the composer would subsequently assign to the flute in his later works and the overall result is particularly pleasant. The Andante followed by four variations is unexpectedly placed as the last movement (Mercadante does so only in another two cases) and allows the flute to present a simple theme, most likely original, and to vary it in a crescendo of difficulty (broken octaves, split melody-line in the lower register with the note repeated above, arpeggios, embellishments of varying kinds), without forgoing the “pathetic” moment represented by the third variation in the minor.