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Quatuor Ébène|Mendelssohn Felix and Fanny

Mendelssohn Felix and Fanny

Quatuor Ébène

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France's Quatuor Ebène has been known for its classical-pop fusion experiments (they dislike the term "crossover"). Here they stick with classical string quartet pieces, but their style and choice of music is still plenty unusual. The chief repertory attraction here is Fanny Mendelssohn's String Quartet in E flat major, composed in 1834. This work, the composer's only string quartet, is not usually included in comparisons of music by Felix Mendelssohn and his older sister, but it deserves to be better known. It is clearly something of an exercise in mastering Beethoven's style -- hear the fugal central section of the second-movement Allegretto (track 6), for example, whose clear inspiration is the Scherzo of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 -- but in spite of this has a strong undercurrent of suppressed emotion. The work opens in harmonic ambiguity that is reflected in small moments of tension throughout. The work's appeal resides in that duality of exercise and strong feeling, and the Quatuor Ebène's high-intensity performance brings it out effectively. The work is short, but here it has a rather explosive quality. In the two quartets by Felix Mendelssohn you may find the quartet either bracingly tough or rather overbearing, but there are moments where both camps will agree: hear the live-wire tension in the opening explosion of the finale of the String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80. This is a must-have for those interested in Fanny Mendelssohn, and it's well worth sampling and considering for general string quartet listeners.

© TiVo

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Mendelssohn Felix and Fanny

Quatuor Ébène

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1
String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, MWV R22: I. Adagio - Allegro vivace
00:07:55

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

2
String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, MWV R22: II. Adagio non lento
00:07:43

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

3
String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, MWV R22: III. Intermezzo. Allegretto con moto - Allegro di molto
00:05:10

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

4
String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, MWV R22: IV. Presto
00:09:21

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

5
String Quartet in E-Flat Major: I. Adagio ma non troppo
00:04:31

Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Composer

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

6
String Quartet in E-Flat Major: II. Allegretto
00:03:37

Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Composer

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

7
String Quartet in E-Flat Major: III. Romanze
00:06:44

Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Composer

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

8
String Quartet in E-Flat Major: IV. Allegro molto vivace
00:05:39

Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist - Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Composer

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

9
String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80, MWV R37: I. Allegro vivace assai
00:07:36

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

10
String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80, MWV R37: II. Allegro assai
00:04:33

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

11
String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80, MWV R37: III. Adagio
00:08:26

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

12
String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80, MWV R37: IV. Finale. Allegro molto
00:05:30

Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2013 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2013 Parlophone Records Limited

Album review

France's Quatuor Ebène has been known for its classical-pop fusion experiments (they dislike the term "crossover"). Here they stick with classical string quartet pieces, but their style and choice of music is still plenty unusual. The chief repertory attraction here is Fanny Mendelssohn's String Quartet in E flat major, composed in 1834. This work, the composer's only string quartet, is not usually included in comparisons of music by Felix Mendelssohn and his older sister, but it deserves to be better known. It is clearly something of an exercise in mastering Beethoven's style -- hear the fugal central section of the second-movement Allegretto (track 6), for example, whose clear inspiration is the Scherzo of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 -- but in spite of this has a strong undercurrent of suppressed emotion. The work opens in harmonic ambiguity that is reflected in small moments of tension throughout. The work's appeal resides in that duality of exercise and strong feeling, and the Quatuor Ebène's high-intensity performance brings it out effectively. The work is short, but here it has a rather explosive quality. In the two quartets by Felix Mendelssohn you may find the quartet either bracingly tough or rather overbearing, but there are moments where both camps will agree: hear the live-wire tension in the opening explosion of the finale of the String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80. This is a must-have for those interested in Fanny Mendelssohn, and it's well worth sampling and considering for general string quartet listeners.

© TiVo

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