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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Quatuor Ebène

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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Quatuor Ebène by Julien Mignot
This is a genre made particularly famous by Beethoven, so that anyone who is not Beethoven is scared stiff of it,” wrote Gabriel Fauré of the string quartet. Fauré’s String Quartet in E Minor—his final work—borrows from an unfinished youthful violin concerto and fearlessly explores new thematic and harmonic territory. Beethoven’s turbulent and compelling “Razumovsky” Quartet takes some bold steps as well, including quotations from a Russian folk tune. Dutilleux’s daring Ainsi la nuit (Thus the Night) has an impressionistic quality befitting its nocturnal theme with each of its seven movements making striking demands of each player.


Quatuor Ebène
·· Pierre Colombet, Violin
·· Gabriel Le Magadure, Violin
·· Marie Chilemme, Viola
·· Raphaël Merlin, Cello


FAURÉ String Quartet in E Minor
BEETHOVEN String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, "Razumovsky"

DAVIS "Milestones" (arr. Quatuor Ébène)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

This concert is made possible, in part, by The Joan and Ernest Bragin Endowment Fund.

At a Glance

GABRIEL FAURÉ  String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 121

Like many of his contemporaries, Fauré stood in awe of Beethoven’s achievements and put off writing a string quartet until the very end of his life. Even then, he felt far from certain that he had risen to the challenge, telling his son, “I did what I could … now … let God judge!” Not until seven months after his death was the E-Minor Quartet first performed at the Paris Conservatoire, the institution that Fauré had long led as director.


HENRI DUTILLEUX  Ainsi la nuit

Written for the Juilliard String Quartet, which gave the work’s American premiere in 1978, Dutilleux’s first and only string quartet is recognized as a modern masterwork. Attuned to a wide range of stimuli—literary and artistic as well as musical—the late French composer conjured a dreamlike, unstable soundscape that reflects his innovative approach to harmony, form, sonority, and temporal organization.


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, “Razumovsky”

The three quartets that Beethoven composed in 1806 for Count Andrey Razumovsky marked a turning point in both his stylistic development and the evolution of the string quartet. They also exerted a seminal influence on composers such as Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Like its companions, the E-Minor “Razumovsky” Quartet illustrates the boldly iconoclastic style of Beethoven’s so-called middle period.


Quatuor Ebène

What began in 1999 as a distraction for four young French musicians in the university practice rooms has resulted in lasting reverberations throughout the music scene.

The Quatuor Ebène’s unprecedented victory at the 2004 ARD International Music Competition marked the beginning of its rise, which has culminated in numerous prizes and awards. The quartet was presented with the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2007, and received support from the organization for a decade. In 2005, the ensemble won the Forberg-Schneider Foundation’s Belmont Prize; since then, the foundation has worked closely with the musicians, who perform on instruments that have been loaned by Gabriele Forberg since 2009.

The quartet’s recordings have won numerous honors, including Gramophone, ECHO Klassik, BBC Music Magazine, and Midem Classical awards. The 2010 album Fiction, which features jazz arrangements, further solidified the Quatuor Ebène’s unique position in the chamber-music scene, as did Brazil (2014) in collaboration with Stacey Kent and Eternal Stories (2017) with Michel Portal. In the fall of 2014, Erato released A 90th Birthday Celebration: Live in Paris, a CD and DVD of Menahem Pressler’s birthday celebration concert with the Quatuor Ebène. In 2015–2016, the quartet collaborated with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky on the CD Green: Mélodies françaises, which won the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Award, and released a CD of Schubert lieder with baritone Matthias Goerne, plus the composer’s String Quintet with cellist Gautier Capuçon.

The fundamental classical repertoire for string quartet remains a cornerstone: This season, the Quatuor Ebène focuses on Beethoven’s string quartets. The ensemble will present the complete Beethoven cycle in 2020 in celebration of the Ebène’s 20th anniversary and the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

The 2017–2018 season finds the Quatuor Ebène performing at the Berlin Philharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris, Vienna Konzerthaus, Konserthuset Stockholm, and Brussels’s Centre for Fine Arts, as well as the Musikfest Bremen and Verbier Festival.

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