April 09, 2014

Quatuor Ebène and Angela Gheorghiu win big at the BBC Music Magazine Awards

Best Chamber Music Release and Best DVD Performance among the major prizes.

Quatuor Ebène and Angela Gheorghiu took home gongs at the publicly voted BBC Music Magazine Awards ceremony at London’s Kings Place yesterday.

The prize for Best DVD Performance went to the Royal Opera House’s Tosca, with Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu’s impassioned turn in the title role crowning the Covent Garden dream team brought together here for the first time: Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi, Bryn Terfel’s sinister Scarpia, and Antonio Pappano bringing Puccini’s score to life. The stars truly aligned for this landmark 2011 production, the coveted golden ticket of the season for opera lovers around the world.

"A rare and explosive chemical reaction took place," said Pappano of his cast. "A big thank you to them, my wonderful orchestra and chorus and of course BBC Music Magazine for this special recognition."

The fresh, young Quatuor Ebène quartet added yet another string to its bow with the Best Chamber Music award for last year’s transcendent coupling of quartets by Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny on the Erato label, an album deemed “unforgettable” by The Guardian.

“Felix’s quartets speak with intimacy, but are not devoid of violent, stormy emotion,” says Ebène cellist Raphaël Merlin. Although Fanny’s sole contribution to the genre is lesser known and undoubtedly less accomplished than her brother’s, the group simply “fell in love with her string quartet” and with sublime, spirited playing made a compelling case for the rarely recorded work.

"We would like to express our great gratitude for the distinction you give us for our Mendelssohn recording," the Quartet told BBC Music Magazine readers. "It's probably one of the most difficult records we've ever made, and its final success not only honours our work but also motivates us."

The accolade confirms Ebène's status as the leading quartet of their generation. Their highly anticipated follow-up release Brazil, out April 28, takes a sunny detour into the world of samba and bossa nova with the seductive vocals of Stacey Kent and Bernard Lavilliers.