Performance Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Quatuor Ebène

Zankel Hall
Quartets by two child prodigies grown up—Mozart and Mendelssohn—are featured. Mozart’s E-flat–Major Quartet, one of six dedicated to Haydn, is a masterful mix of the contemplative and boisterous. Mendelssohn took one of his youthful love songs and wove it into the fabric of his impassioned A-Minor Quartet. In a striking contrast, Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet is a visceral study in virtuosity and eerie night music.


  • Quatuor Ebène
    ·· Pierre Colombet, Violin
    ·· Gabriel Le Magadure, Violin
    ·· Mathieu Herzog, Viola
    ·· Raphaël Merlin, Cello


  • MOZART String Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 428
  • BARTÓK String Quartet No. 4
  • MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13, "Ist es wahr?"


Mendelssohn's String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13 (Presto)
Virgin Classics

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  String Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 428

Mozart’s masterful String Quartet in E-flat Major is one of the six “Haydn” Quartets dedicated to his beloved mentor, written between late 1782 and early 1785. The music looks both backward and forward, paying homage to Haydn’s Classical poise and wit even as it anticipates the more overtly dramatic string quartets of Beethoven and Schubert.

BÉLA BARTÓK  String Quartet No. 4

The six string quartets that Bartók composed at intervals between 1908 and 1939 are microcosms of his richly imaginative and highly distinctive sound world. Notable for their expressive intensity, these works also illustrate the composer’s interest in a wide range of musical material, procedures, and structures. The five interrelated movements of the Fourth Quartet are arranged symmetrically around a central slow movement, which Bartók likened to the kernel of a nut.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN  String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13, “Ist es wahr?”

Written when he was 18, Mendelssohn’s A-Minor Quartet bears the hallmarks of his precocious genius in its technical assurance and confident handling of large-scale forms, reflecting his close study of Beethoven’s quartets. The French predilection for Beethoven helps explain why Op. 13 became a popular set piece at the Paris Conservatoire. “The pupils there,” Mendelssohn proudly reported to his family, “are practicing their fingers off to play ‘Ist es wahr?’”

This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I, and Magic of Mozart.

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