Mozart: String Quartets, K. 421, 465 "Dissonances" & Divertimento, K. 138
The very definition of musical versatility, the Ébène Quartet are as compelling in the refined Romanticism of Fanny Mendelssohn as they are in the hazy, post-Impressionistic world of Henri Dutilleux. Their Mozart overflows with character, too. The whispered question and its declamatory answer at the very opening of the String Quartet No. 15 in D Minor is typical of the Ébènes’ sense of drama throughout these wonderful performances. Alive to every one of Mozart’s nuances, their dynamic control carries the music seamlessly in and out of shade and light. There’s irrepressible wit and charm in the arrangement of the orchestral Divertimento in F Major contrasts, while their performance of Mozart’s “Dissonance” quartet, so called for its eccentric opening harmonies, makes plenty of the work’s Beethovenian blend of grace and seriousness. The recorded sound, vivid and clean, brings into relief these spontaneous and warm-hearted performances.