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Jessica Duchen
Saturday 3rd October 2009
Ebene Forever!

Fantastic line-up of prizewinners for the Classic FM Gramophone Awards, which were presented yesterday. Record of the Year went to the brilliant Ebene Quartet for their recording of the solitary string quartets by Debussy, Ravel and Faure. It also won a prize from the event's main competitor, the BBC Music Magazine Awards. And yes, it deserves every ounce of it.

Here's a promotional video about the disc, which I think I ran once before on my Blogger site, but it's so lovely I wanted to run it again!

There's also a hugely deserved Music in the Community Award for Streetwise Opera; The Sixteen are Artist(s) of the Year; Yuja Wang is Young Artist of the Year, and so she should be. Oh, and they gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to Nikolaus Harnoncourt ('scuse me while I dig up some wild garlic...I will suggest a fine alternative at the rather more virtual JDCMB Ginger Stripe Awards at the end of the year). In short, nice prizes for many, not forgetting the lovely Gerald Finlay and dazzling Steven Osborne. Full list of winners here.
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Jessica Duchen
October 5th, 2009
7:10 AM
Absolutely, Herman! I couldn't agree more. The Fauré SQ is notoriously difficult to pull off. I've long felt that because late Fauré is reputed to be 'obscure' and 'austere', performers sometimes feel it has to sound that way... The Ebene Quartet steers clear of that misinterpretation magnificently. Another recording I like very much is the Dante Quartet on Hyperion.

October 3rd, 2009
8:10 PM
I suspect the Ebène folks made this cd because they wanted to record Ravel and Debussy. However IMO the Fauré SQ is really the most successful piece on this disc. It's not a much recorded piece (and it is virtually never performed in concert - I have witnessed one (1) performance in thirty years of concert going). I have several recordings on the shelf, including two by the Quatuor Ysaye, who coached the Ebène. However the Ebène is by far the recording that captures the mesmerizing quality of this piece best. The way they manage to let this music quietly explode in the coda of the 1st mvt is simply breathtaking. Herman

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About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

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