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Ebène Quartet

Mesmerized, Mr. Kozinn describes how the four musicians first performed Haydn and Debussy before performing their own arrangement of the music from the movie “Pulp Fiction”, improvising to Chick Corea’s “Spain”, and finally closing with an encore in which the quartet unveils the vocal talents of an excellent a capella quartet.

There is no doubt: These four French musicians have class and are perhaps the most creative ensemble on the international chamber music scene today. No other quartet moves with such ease and enthusiasm between different styles. And, even if the foursome only rarely presents live programs that combine classical music and Jazz, it nevertheless forms an integral part of the ensemble’s repertoire.

Rather unusual in today’s world of chamber music, the Quatuor Ebène’s stylistic acrobatics may at first meet defiant ears. Defiant, perhaps, because of the general misuse of the term "crossover", which so often serves to cover mediocrity and redundancy. And yet, with the Ebènes, whenever they create a new work, it is always with taste and integrity.

Nevertheless, the quartet’s traditional repertoire does not suffer in any way from its love of Jazz. On the contrary, the Ebènes’ tendency to delve into the “other side” of music inspires their work in untangling and giving new life to classical works. During its performance at the Hitzacker summer festival in 2009 for example, the quartet was heard playing a quartet by Haydn with such spontaneity, it gave the impression that this music, over 200 years old, was somehow just composed.

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