Hartlepool Music Society
27th Season 2011-12
International Recital Series

(Registered Charity No 1071293)

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Thursday 9th February 2012
Prazak String Quartet


Commences 7.30pm (Hartlepool Town Hall)

Programme:

Mozart: String Quartet in D major K499 "Hoffmeister"

Janacek: String Quartet No 2 "Intimate Letters"

Smetana: String Quartet No 1 in E 'From my Life'




Prazak String Quartet

 

Artist Information:

Like many Bohemian ensembles, the Prazak Quartet was founded whilst its members were still students at the Prague Conservatory between 1974 and 1978, and was quickly awarded the First Prize in the Evian International Competition (1978) and Prague Spring Festival Prize (1979).

The quartet embarked on a professional career whilst pursuing their studies at the Prague Academy (AMU) in the chamber music class of Antonín Kohout (Smetana Quartet), and at the University of Cincinatti with Walter Levin (LaSalle Quartet). 

Today the Prazak are recognized as one of the foremost Czech ensembles. Their extended repertoire includes works by composers of the Second Viennese School, such as Zemlinsky, Schönberg, Berg and Webern, for which they are much in demand in Europe, especially in Germany.  They also extensively perform and record the classical repertoire of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert; and like all Czech Ensembles, are experienced interpreters of Dvorak, Smetana, Suk, Novak, Janacek and Schulhoff, as well as of contemporary composers such as Pascal Dusapin.

The Prazak quartet records exclusively for Praga Digitals. They have released nearly forty CDs for which they received great critical acclaim and the highest awards in international press (Diapason, Fono Forum, Klassik Heute, Gramophone, etc). Their latest recording, released November 2010, sees them pay homage to the great Arnold Shönberg. 

The Prazak String Quartet appear regularly in the United Kingdom; for the BBC, they have performed at the Wigmore Hall (Monday lunch time series), Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham (Beethoven series) and St Luke's in London (a programme of Czech music as part of "Voice of a Nation").  The quartet also completed an Around the Country tour organised by the Sheffield-based promoter Music in the Round, directed by Peter Cropper.  They presented Janacek for a BBC Radio 3 lunchtime recital at LSO St Luke's, and have appeared at Gower and Newbury festivals; they will return to the latter next spring.  In 2009, the quartet celebrated the anniversaries of the deaths of Haydn (1732 - 1809) and Martinu (1890 - 1959), performing their String Quartets extensively.

Pavel Hula has now succeeded the founding first violinist Vaclav Remes, who was unable to continue performing due to a medical condition in his left hand.

   

Reviews:

Chamber Music San Francisco - 2009:
"The Prazak Quartet was not shy about bringing these emotions to the surface, providing a performance that not only satisfied those familiar with Janacek but also could win him more followers." - Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com - March 2009.

The Gower Festival - 2008:
"The Prazaks played his opus 106 with consummate musicianship, perfect balance and infectious joy. A triumph." - NH Reeve, Gower Festival Press Reviews - July 2008.

The Music in the Round Series - Portsmouth Cathedral, 2005:
"Renowned for their Dvorak recordings, they played the D major quartet, op 61, with a commanding assurance that brought out not only the strongly characterized tunes but also the dramatic development of the music ... Perhaps the most satisfying part of the evening came with the Haydn's 'Rider' quartet. This masterly example of the classical style was given a truly excellent performance. The balance between rhythmic vitality, lyricism and subtle textures was near ideal." - Terry Barfoot, the News - January 2006.

The Music in the Round Series - Shrewsbury School, 2005:
" ... To all these works, the Prazaks - which means citizens of Prague - brought a consummate musicianship which must be in part the result of playing together for thirty years ... From the opening notes of the Haydn it was clear that these four players listened intently to each other ... The cello and the viola were magnificent so the players gave us sounds ranging from the most profound gravitas to the lightness of whipped cream ... This was a memorable concert." - Andrew Petch, November 2005.

The Music in the Round Series - The Maidment Hall, 2005:
"The cello and the viola were magnificent so the players gave us sounds ranging from the most profound gravitas to the lightness of whipped cream ... The opening of the Haydn showed us just how finely judged were their tempi and their tonal balance which worked brilliantly to showcase Haydn's sparkling wit." - The Chronicle - 18 November 2005.

 

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