* Notes *
Tonight Quatuor Ebène (pictured left, photograph by Julien Mignot) had a San Francisco debut at Herbst Theatre. The evening started with Mozart's String Quartet in D minor, K. 421, which was played with much personality, and what seemed to be an entirely historically uninformed manner. Somehow the confidence and rapport of the players made the latter irrelevant. Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D Major may have been better suited to the style of the ensemble, the playing was lush without being cloying. The third movement Noctturno: Andante was especially delightful.
The second half of the program consisted of Ravel's String Quartet in F Major. It was clear the quartet took the tempo markings to heart. The rhythms in the second movement were quite exhilarating and the changing meters in the last movement came off well. The encore was introduced rather coyly by cellist Raphaël Merlin as a piece by a quartet from Liverpool. The following instrumental version of Lennon and McCartney's "Come Together" was therefore all the more charming.
* Tattling *
The audience was silent and attentive until the encore.