Between musical selections midway through this show, host Bill McGlaughlin asked the members of the Ebène Quartet how many concerts they present in a typical year. Around 120 was the response.
After a few more tunes - "Misirlou," "Libertango," the Beatles' "Come Together" - McGlaughlin inquired about the quartet's current U.S. tour, which brings the group to Weill Recital Hall for a nearly sold-out concert on Friday, April 8.
"18 days, 15 concerts," one member said. (I didn't catch which one.) "And about 25 planes," another added. General murmurs of disbelief and admiration could be heard among audience members. "Don't wear yourselves out," McGlaughlin advised the young musicians.
Mathieu Herzog, the Ebène's consistently droll violist, shrugged off concern. "We play classical music during this tour," he offered, reassuringly.
True: the group's repertoire at Weill will include Mozart's "Dissonance" Quartet, Bartók's Third Quartet and Mendelssohn's Quartet in F minor. But if you've heard the kind of intensity the Ebène Quartet brings to the standard repertoire, you know that Herzog's brush-off actually provided no reassurance at all. If you haven't, here's a bit of Beethoven, filmed at last year's Verbier Festival, to get you caught up.
In tempus praesens, the solemn, beautiful violin concerto by Sofia Gubaidulina that Anne-Sophie Mutter just performed with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New York Philharmonic, is the subject of a recent documentary film, Sophia: Biography of a Violin Concerto. The film is just out on DVD; I've not yet watched it, but plan to. Here's the official trailer: