Pavel Haas Quartet tour program – music close to their hearts

The Pavel Haas Quartet has a repertoire that ranges from Haydn and Mozart through to Shostakovich and Pavel Haas. On this Australian tour, they’ve chosen to focus on Czech music, and indeed they are committed to promoting the music of their homeland where possible. The group’s own teachers create a continuous lineage back to Dvorak, just as Pavel Haas was a student of Dvorak’s student Janacek.

And so on this tour the Quartet will perform two works by Dvorak and one by Haas, alongside works by Haydn and Musica Viva’s 2010 Featured Composer Paul Stanhope. The group says that while there are certain expectations that Czech musicians will perform Czech music, or that Hungarian musicians, for example, will specialize in Bartok, the music on this tour program is actually very close to their hearts.

For many in the Australian audience, Pavel Haas’ String Quartet no 2 will be one of the lesser known works on this tour. Carl Vine describes the work as “an exuberant pastoral tone poem dedicated to the hills near Brno where Haas holidayed as a child in the Czech-Moravian Highlands.” So exuberant is the work, that cellist Peter once broke 2 C strings, usually the strongest, in one performance of the Haas.

The group’s interpretations have been described as having “a huge variety of sound, sometimes from piece to piece, sometimes from phrase to phrase.” Their stated purpose is to find new riches in old works, however they don’t see their methods as being overly academic. “We just like music. We’re not intellectuals. We can’t say that we have the right version.”

Program One
Paul Stanhope: String Quartet no 2 (2009)*
Antonín Dvorák: String Quartet no 12 in F major, op 96, ‘American’
Pavel Haas: String Quartet no 2, op 7, ‘From the Monkey Mountains’

Program Two
Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in D minor op 76 no 2, ‘Fifths’
Paul Stanhope: String Quartet no 2 (2009)*
Antonín Dvorák: String Quartet no 13 in G major, op 106

*Commissioned for Musica Viva by Kim Williams AM – world premiere performances.

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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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