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?"

  • Encore:
  • QUATUOR EBÈNE "Brazil Odyssey" (after Ari Barroso's "Aquarela do Brasil")


  • Quatuor Ebène

    From a promising young ensemble, Quatuor Ebène has grown to become one of today's foremost quartets on the international scene.

    After its dramatic 2004 triumph at the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, where the ensemble was also awarded five additional special prizes, Quatuor Ebène went on to win the Forberg-Schneider Foundation's Belmont Prize in 2005. It has since remained close to the foundation, which has very generously arranged to have the quartet outfitted with several unique Italian instruments, on loan from private owners.

    The year 2009 marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Virgin Classics label. The quartet's Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré album was honored with several prizes, including the Chamber Music Recording of the Year ECHO Klassik award and the Choc du Monde de la Musique award, in addition to being named Recording of the Year by Gramophone. A CD featuring music by Brahms with pianist Akiko Yamamoto demonstrated the ease with which the quartet moves between styles.

    A jazz and world music album, entitled Fiction, was released by the quartet in fall of 2010 and quickly climbed the charts, earning the ensemble another ECHO Klassik award. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, Virgin Classics released a live DVD of Fiction, recorded at Folies Bergère in Paris. This was followed by a CD of Mozart's K. 421 and K. 465 string quartets and the Divertimento K. 138, for which the quartet received yet another ECHO Klassik in 2012. Felix and Fanny-featuring Mendelssohn's Op. 13 and Op. 80 string quartets, as well as the only string quartet composed by his sister Fanny-was released in early 2013. Earlier this year, Quatuor Ebène collaborated with jazz vocalist Stacey Kent on her latest CD, Brazil.

    Highlights of Quatuor Ebène's 2014-2015 season include concerts at Wigmore Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and Munich's Herkulessaal.

    More Info


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?’”

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