Header image of page : QUATUOR ÉBÈNE
chamber music


Haydn, Bartók, Schubert

Quatuor Ébène presents a multi-coloured trio of quartets, Bartók’s vigorous, folk-inspired Third Quartet acting as the palette-cleanser between Haydn’s and Schubert’s respective battles between G minor darkness and G major light.


JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
String Quartet in G minor Hob. III:33

BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
String Quartet No. 3 Sz. 85


FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quartet No. 15 in G major D. 887

Haydn’s tautly dramatic op 20 G minor quartet of 1770 opens full of striking elements: a lop-sided, four-plus-three-bar theme, viola doubling violin, frequent pauses, flits between major and minor, lyricism and scurrying. The Minuet’s cheerful trio and the radiant Poco adagio temper the anxiety, but the finale resumes the opening mood, fading out on a whisper. Composed in 1927, Bartók’s short third quartet has equally ear-grabbing textures and special colours. Cast in three seamlessly joined sections, an initial violin solo introduces its Prima Parte’s material, after which pizzicato heralds the folky, rhythmic Seconda parte, before solo cello launches the coda. Schubert’s epic G major Quartet was his last, written over ten days in 1826. After a multi-textured opening battle between darkness and light comes an equally emotionally charged slow movement. Momentary serenity comes with the Scherzo’s waltzing trio. Then while the racing, syncopation-rich finale reintroduces major-minor tension, it closes in major-keyed triumph.