“Haas unsurpassed in musical clarity”
Just when we thought it was all over, we’ve had one last review of the Pavel Haas Quartet come in from Clive O’Connell at the Age:
“This ensemble gives you almost unmitigated pleasure from first bar to last and has the same cleansing effect on jaded ears as provided by top ensembles such as the Skampa players, with whom the Haas group has strong connections.
While you find a great deal to admire in the musicians’ technical powers, just as telling is their involvement with the task in hand, whether well-worn pages such as the Dvorak American Quartet in F or freshly minted to suit their style, such as Paul Stanhope’s second string quartet.
The Australian score speaks an individual language with an open-hearted lyricism, expertly written and loaded with passages to reveal strengths of these performers, such as the marvellous discipline of first violin Veronika Jaruskova and her husband Peter Jarusek’s cello in razor-sharp unison passages, and the character-rich output of Pavel Niki’s insistent viola.
While the score’s emotional core lies in the later variations of the third movement, Dirge, the most gripping passage came in the swirling sequence of seconds that lead up to it: chamber music magic.
The Dvorak work seemed freshly minted in this reading, free of excessive temperament and over-rich phrasing. Jaruskova has come in for some criticism on this tour for various reasons; can’t see it myself she’s an ideal top voice, accurate to a fault, ceding pre-eminence when necessary with effortless musicianship.
The middle quartet of Pavel Haas’s three may be familiar through Richard Tognetti’s beefed-up transcription for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In its original form, the score fared more successfully through the performers’ clean and ardent exposition.”