Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13, written at the age of 18, and his String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 12, written at the age of 20, are at once the most knowlegeable glosses on Beethoven in existence and yet at the same time deeply original works. Beethoven’s late style was not exactly terra incognita for the early romantics, but middle period works, especially the Fifth Symphony, exerted much more influence, generally. Mendelssohn is the exception. As he comments himself, “You don’t have to start at the beginning…”. Early Mendelssohn bends back only a year or two to embrace late Beethoven. These quartets are from 1827 and 1829, and therefore can properly be regarded as a sort of continuation of late Beethoven rather than works with a retrospective orientation. Consider a wildly different repertory that looks back to late Beethoven, the Rochberg quartets, especially the “Beethoven” movement in the Third, and you will understand the difference between the creator and the curator.