“We are fortunate to have a clutch of young, extremely talented string quartets in action today. … But none except the Ebène Quartet can sing four-part harmony on tunes like ‘Someday My Prince Will Come,’ improvise solos on standards like ‘Nature Boy,’ shred with conviction on the surf-rock classic ‘Misirlou,’ and uncover the unique sound world of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel.” — NPR Music
France’s dynamic young Ebène Quartet, whose unique ability to switch seamlessly from core classical repertoire to jazz and pop music has made it one of classical music’s most talked-about ensembles, returns to the U.S. in the 2011-12 season with live performances and master classes, and on two new recordings from Virgin Classics. Fall performances in Pasadena, CA (Oct 2) and Portland, OR (Oct 3 & 4), master classes at the Colburn School in Los Angeles (Oct 5–13), and a concert with the Colburn Chamber Music Society (Oct 9) will coincide with the release on September 27 of Dissonances, an all-Mozart album featuring two of the composer’s “Haydn” Quartets (K. 421 and K. 465, “Dissonance”) and the Divertimento (K. 138), as well as Quatuor Ebène: Fiction – Live at Folies Bergère, a new DVD filmed at one of Paris’s most famous music halls. The Ebène will return to the U.S. in March for performances across the country and Canada beginning in San Diego (March 2), and including stops in San Francisco (March 8), New Orleans (March 14), and New York City, where they will make their debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (March 18).
The Ebène’s new Mozart recording takes its name from the C-major quartet (K. 465), “Dissonance,” so named because of the strikingly modern harmonies that open the first movement. Also on the album is the String Quartet in D minor (K. 421), the only one of the so-called “Haydn” Quartets – the six quartets Mozart wrote for and dedicated to his friend, mentor, and fellow composer, Joseph Haydn – in a minor key. The final movement is a haunting theme and variations that brings to mind the otherworldly feeling of Schubert’s late works.