Saturday 16 December 2017





Prague-based Pavel Haas Quartet, taking its name from the Czech composer exterminated in Auschwitz in 1944, returns to the KBC Bank Music in Great Irish Houses with an exemplary reputation unsullied.

Their programme in Kilruddery House more than justifies the plethora of accolades this youthful group continues to receive.

The Quartet begins with Britten's 1936 'Three Divertimenti'.

The Haas then play his 'March', 'Waltz' and whirlwind extravaganza 'Burlesque' with an uplifting joie de vivre. The richness of their sound combined with the sharpness of their rhythmic attack remain a constant throughout the evening.

Janacek's 'Intimate Letters' Quartet, dating from 1928, is dedicated to a young lady with whom he corresponded for eleven years.

In Janacek's very personal idiom, everyday Czech speech patterns are translated into music and the Pavel Haas interpretation is phenomenal.

The composer's short and episodic phrases run a gamut of characteristics that can be fractious, abrupt and aggressive, but also civil, tender and amorous.

The visiting artists' playing is simply wonderful. Through them it is impossible to remain outside Janacek's intensely expressed emotions.

Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet might be considered a little temperate to follow such unbridled activity but the Prague musicians show the Viennese composer can be just as frank and forthright as his Moravian counterpart.

Sensitive to every individual Schubertian detail, the Pavel Haas employ tremendous forward thrust in their performance. Without doubt, here is quartet playing of the highest order.

Irish Independent

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