I am not one for saying you should've been there, but last night's concert of the Mendelssohn Octet by the Pacifica and Miro Quartets was stratospherically good, as I wrote in today's paper and online.
The Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society should be proud of the entire "Mendelssohn Project" events. I still can't believe this was written by a 16-year-old. I mean, when I was 16 I, like most teens, thought I knew it all, but Mendelssohn in this case actually did. You could make the argument that the Octet has no work of chamber music ahead of it. It has equals, like the late Beethoven quartets, Schubert's Quintet and other great pieces, but Mendelssohn's opus doesn't take a back seat to anything.
In any case, if you didn't make the concert -- and it was not well attended, alas -- you still can have a very special experience with it.
The Library of Congress happens to own the autograph score of the Octet, and it has wonderfully scanned every page for online viewing. All you have to do is to visit its "Pageturner" site for the Octet, put your favorite recording of the Octet in your CD player or iPod (or go to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and listen to it for free through the Naxos Music Library) and click on each page as you go and you will get a feel for the music like never before by seeing Mendelssohn's own handwriting!
I love how careful he is with the notes, but then the vertical bar lines are so sloppy! Also, you can clearly see the letters "L. e. g. G" (German, for "Lass es geling, Gott" or "Let it succeed, God!") on the title page, as I wrote about in my advance of the Pacifica Quartet concerts this weekend.
And if you really want to try to re-live this weekend, pick up the Pacifica Quartet's amazing Mendelssohn quartets box set on the Cedille label and listen to it when you view the Octet manuscript. The PQ set is simply amazing, even bumping out my beloved Melos Quartet set.