On Tuesday January 28, 2020 the Ehnes Quartet continued its cycle of the complete Beethoven String Quartets in Miami. Each year it has played a program of the Beethoven Quartets, with the final concert of the series to be played next year to coincide with the Beethoven Anniversary. James Ehnes formed the quartet a few years ago with violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti and violist Richard O’Neill after discussing the idea with Robert deMaine, now Principal Cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after a rehearsal. James says ,”The amazing thing is that we both had the same idea – that we wanted it to be with Amy and Richard.”
Ehnes explained that the key to their compatibility was “We share the same sound ideal. And we naturally feel pulse and pacing in basically the same way. There are always going to be places where you need to compromise when you play in any ensemble, but pulse and pacing are so crucial to the musical message that you don’t want to compromise here.”
In recent years deMaine left to devote his full time to his position with the LA Philharmonic. Tuesday’s concert presented a program of early, middle and late quartets, beginning with with the Quartet No. 6 in B-flat from Opus 18. The first half ended with the “Harp” Quartet in E-flat, Ops 74 from Beethoven’s middle period.
After intermission, the Quartet presented the Quartet No. 13, Opus 130, of the late quartets. For the last movement, the Quartet played Beethoven’s shorter fugue, saving Beethoven’s extensive Grosse Fugue, Opus 133, for next year’s concert when the quartet will conclude the cycle.
The long, standing ovation recognized the Quartet’s memorable interpretations and impeccable technical perfection that makes the
Quartet one of the greatest quartets in today’s concert world.