I have mentioned this young Czech quartet a couple of times before in this blog, to rave about their great recording of Dvořák’s American Quartet, and about some truly wonderful radio broadcasts of them playing Beethoven and Schubert. Today we went up to the Wigmore Hall to hear their lunchtime concert playing Janáček’s Initimate Letters and Smetena’s From My Life. To say it was worth the journey from Cambridge was an understatement. This is powerful music, and it was played with intense feeling and utter conviction and control. Very difficult to stay dry-eyed in the Smetena in particular. Thanks to the BBC you can listen online for the next week.
As the Radio 3 announcer says (but forgot to tell the audience in the hall), the Quartet have a new second violin Marek Zwiebel, and this was one of their first performances with the new line up. You wouldn’t have guessed: the ensemble was still as stunning, and their sound still as remarkable. If the Pavel Haas Quartet come your way on their travels, grab tickets, whatever they are playing. String quartet playing doesn’t get better than this.