A Magnificent Recital by the Ebene Quartet at the Perelman

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
"The way scents seem to transition into sounds, echoes resonate from the depths of space, and the Four intertwining attentively, only to then grab hold vigorously and expand vivaciously - it was exhilarating."
Süddeutsche Zeitung
March 2023

The Ebene Quartet (Quatuor Ebene) appeared Saturday, April 6, 2024, at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, in Philadelphia with a splendid program:

Haydn: Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20, No. 3, Hob. III:33
Bartók: Quartet No. 3
Schubert: Quartet in G Major, D. 887

Founded in 1999, the Ebene Quartet has many celebrated recordings to its credit. It maintains a rigorous performing schedule abroad as well as here in the United States. Its website informs us that the quartet appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York City the day before appearing here in Philadelphia. The next day, April 7, they played in Baltimore, with no real time out for the rest of the month. Cellist Yuya Okamoto recently joined the quartet, and one would never know, so finely do they play together. 

The pre-concert talk featured Karl Middleman, who brought insights into focus for those who chose to attend. 

At first glance, the three composers featured this night seemed to be chosen totally at random. After listening to the program, one could see the connections among the three works. All three used startling surprises, even though the three works were written in three different centuries. The program notes use words such as fiery, passionate, spirited, and dramatic to describe the quartets, and that they certainly were, especially the final work on the program by Schubert. All three quartets were the work of mature artists creating in their prime. The same description can also be applied to the members of the Ebene Quartet. In lesser hands than theirs, the music would have been far less buoyant and profound. Indeed, one can only admire their concentration amid such passionate playing. At the beginning of the Schubert, there appeared to be a heckler sitting close to the stage which caused Mr. Colombet to stop playing and address the man directly. Mr. Colombet continued to thrill us with his musicianship afterwards, displaying intense concentration and professionalism. Bravo to you, sir. 

At the conclusion of the evening, the audience showed their warm appreciation to the four musicians, which was well-deserved. Bravos should also go to the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (the PCMS) for bringing these remarkable artists to Philadelphia. Their season continues with many more esteemed artists. Their new season has also been announced. For more information about this season as well as the next, visit:  

www.pcmsconcerts.org .

The Instruments & bows used by the Ebene Quartet:

Pierre Colombet is playing two violins: a 1717 Antonio Stradivari violin, the « Piatti », kindly loaned by a generous sponsor through the Beare’s International Violin Society, and a 1736 Matteo Goffriller violin generously loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider, as well as a bow by Charles Tourte (Paris, 19th century) also loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider. 

Gabriel Le Magadure is playing two violins: the ex-Baron Rothschild Peter Guarneri of Venice kindly loaned by the Miller-Porter Collection through the Beare’s International Violin Society, and a violin from around 1740 with a Guarneri label loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider. He plays a bow by Dominique Pecatte (ca.1845) loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider.

Marie Chilemme is playing two violas : a 1734 Stradivari, the « Gibson », generously loaned by the « Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger », and a viola by Marcellus Hollmayr, Füssen (1625) loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider.

Yuya Okamoto is playing a violoncello by Giovanni Grancino, Milan, from 1682.

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