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Debussy, Fauré & Ravel: String Quartets CD

16 customer reviews

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Biography

“A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band,”
praised The New York Times’ Alan Kozinn after hearing the Quatuor Ebène perform in March 2009.
Mesmerized, Mr. Kozinn describes how the four musicians first performed Haydn and Debussy before – following the intermission – performing their own arrangement of the music from the movie ... Read more in Amazon's Quatuor Ebene Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Debussy, Fauré & Ravel: String Quartets + Felix & Fanny Mendelssohn: String Quartets Op. 13 in A minor, Op. 80 in F minor and Quartet in E flat major + Mozart: String Quartets KV 421 & 465, Divertimento KV 138
Price For All Three: £26.93

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Oct. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B001BWQWKS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,960 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10: I. Animé et très décidé 6:25£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10: II. Assez vif et bien rythmé 4:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10: III. Andantino (Doucement expressif) 8:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10: IV. Très modéré - Très animé 7:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. String Quartet in E Minor, Op.121: I. Allegro moderato 6:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. String Quartet in E Minor, Op.121: II. Andante10:07Album Only
  7. String Quartet in E Minor, Op.121: III. Allegro 7:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. String Quartet in F Major: I. Allegro moderato - Très doux 8:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. String Quartet in F Major: II. Assez vif - Très rythmé 6:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. String Quartet in F Major: III. Très lent 9:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
11. String Quartet in F Major: IV. Vif et agité 4:40£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

When the Quatuor Ebène was signed to Virgin Classics in early 2008. Alain Lanceron, the label's President, said: "The Quatuor Ebène is the embodiment of the modern string quartet. The extraordinary way its members craft their sonority, their re-examination of quartet masterpieces, their readiness to engage with music beyond the traditional repertoire, their innovative and creative approach: all these factors have led us to invite them to add their lustre to Virgin Classics' roster of artists. We welcome them with enthusiasm - the same kind of enthusiasm they bring to everything they do." Formed in France in 1999, the Quatuor Ebène took its name from ebony, the precious and exotic wood used in instrument-making. The award-winning ensemble has since achieved an enviable international reputation for refined, dynamic musicianship, minutely responsive teamwork, an adventurous spirit and even a taste for improvisation. The Quartet's repertoire ranges from Haydn and Mozart, cornerstones of the Classical repertoire, through the 19th and 20th centuries to contemporary composers and jazz. The Quatuor Ebène's debut recording on Virgin Classics brings together the string quartets of the three emblematic French composers of the late 19th and early 20tb centuries: Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. The Debussy and Ravel quartets represent a traditional pairing in the catalogue, but they have rarely been coupled with the Fauré, his final work, composed in his late seventies. As it happens, Ravel dedicated his own quartet to Fauré, who was his teacher.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DHL on 23 Oct. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This has been eagerly awaited after hearing the Ebene perform the Debussy and the Ravel live at this summer's Salzburg Festival. They are a young group of musicians who also appear on the European jazz scene. This brings to their playing a buzz which may be linked to their ability to improvise freely. However, when playing these pieces there is a discipline evident in their interpretation as well. Hear also their interpretation of the first three Barok Quartets and sublime live recordings of Haydn.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 2 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
I agree entirely with DHL's review of this disc. Quatuor Ébène are a fantastic quartet, and their debut disc of Haydn (String Quartets Op. 64 No. 5 'the Lark' (Quatuor Ebene)) remains a firm favourite of mine. This disc is just as good, showing that they have as much empathy with Ravel, Debussy and Fauré as Haydn and their superb technique, faultless intonation and brilliant mutual understanding are well in evidence here.

Radio 3's Building A Library reviewer recently chose this recording of the Fauré quartet as the best available, in the face of phenomenal competition form the world's best quartets of the last 80 years, which probably says a lot more than I can about the quality of this disc. It's fabulous and very warmly recommended.

(Do try their Haydn disc, too. If you already like Haydn's string quartets it will be a terrific addition to your collection, and if you're looking for a place to start on them you couldn't do better - it's absolutely terrific.)

Update - 3rd October 2009: This disc has just won "Recording of the Year" at the 2009 Gramophone Awards - just about the most prestigious award available anywhere. It's a deserved honour for a terrific recording by a very fine quartet. I'm delighted!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This disc, recorded with precision and with good internal balance in 2008, by bringing together three loosely related works makes an ideal and generous coupling. The link between the three works is that in 1903, Faure's class, which included Ravel, decided to mark the tenth anniversary of Debussy's quartet by writing a collaborative work. In the event the composition turned out to be Ravel's quartet which showed in its similarities of form, Ravel's admiration of the earlier quartet by Debussy. The musical language was, of course quite different and earned Debussy's encouragement not to change anything about the work upon its completion.

All three quartets are the only string quartets written by each of these composers. That of Faure was written at the end of his life and was not completed until 1924. As such it was the last of the three works to be written and Faure died before hearing it performed. The quartets by both Debussy and Ravel were written when the two men were still young and share a young man's energy and that energy is clearly in evidence in these immaculately played performances. The Debussy quartet dates from 1893 and the Ravel from 1903. Both of these latter two share similarities of form with a pizzicato second movement being the most distinctive similarity and it is this movement that is a good indicator of the Ebene's style of playing these three works.

The Ebene bring a remarkably clear-cut approach to these three works. All of this can be heard with ease in these two pizzicato movements. Every detail is clearly exposed for our attention. The pizzicati themselves are played with a striking precision, unanimity and power. Every hairpin accent is observed and underlined. So too with every change in tempi or dynamics.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. McBeath on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Having read the rave reviews, and though possessing a very serviceable White Label/Bartok Quartet version of the Debussy/Ravel/Dvorak quartets, I gave in to the excitement and purchased the Ebene's recording - and the Faure instead of the Dvorak was a nice touch.

On first listening, and thereafter, I detected scattered extra-musical 'boomy thumping', though largely in the Ravel & Debussy quartets. In addition there were rather too noticeable (though fortunately, very occasional) sharp intakes of breath (and the Ebenes really are too young for this affectation). However, it is the 'thumping' that worries me. I can hardly believe that it is a pressing fault, but is perhaps the result of over-close miking and poor-ish editing. However, after a time it becomes aurally uncomfortable and thereby interferes markedly with the enjoyment of an otherwise superlative performance/recording.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eclectic / clueless VINE VOICE on 1 Oct. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
You might not think you need yet another recording of the Debussy and Ravel quartets, but this is played with such feeling, energy and precision that you do, honest... I have never heard the second movement of the Debussy played with such drive, swing and snappy pizzicato ; makes the Melos Quartet version sound staid and over-polite by comparison. The unusually fine recording quality here helps a great deal, too. The recording venue, a converted granary, is clearly a magnificent setting ; there is a natural warmth and bloom to the sound which favours the viola in particular, but the overall feel and sound is indeed exceptional.
The Belcea Qt recorded the Ravel and Debussy (alongside Dutilleux, Ainsi la nuit) a few years ago now, but these Ebène versions are more cohesive, and have more drive and just as much lyricism to them. However, (having heard them live last year) I am certain that the Belceas would now be at least as good. Putting the Ravel and Debussy alongside the Dutilleux was a natural move, and it worked very well. Here, though, it's the Fauré quartet, an equally natural choice, more similar to the Ravel and Debussy in tone and in harmonic language, and presented with flawless musicianship, again with perfect natural sound. The Fauré is less well-known and less immediate in its appeal than the other two, but give it five minutes with quality headphones, and you will be drawn in. A gem.
Footnote and PS added after another week of listening, and after returning to the Belcea versions ; no, in fact the Belcea versions are every bit as good, I just hadn't played them loudly enough. I was over-dazzled initially by the glorious sound of the Ebene recordings. Neither one is full-price, so you could even go for both.
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