The great PHQ played a short concert of music by Czech-born composers at lunchtime today at Wigmore Hall. The medieval chorale on which the Meditation by Dvořák’s pupil and son-in-law Josef Suk is based is still well known in the Czech Republic. Martinů’s Second Quartet (1925) was the first of his works to garner him international attention. Brno-born Korngold’s Third Quartet dates from 1944-5.
This was one of PHQ’s first concerts with their new permanent (oh, let’s hope!) viola player. They have had troubled times in that position since their founder violist Pavel Nikl sadly had to leave the quartet in 2016 due to family illness, and have taken their time after another sudden departure to settle on a replacement. They have played a number of concerts to much acclaim with the terrific Dana Zemtsov (who is based in Amsterdam); but it is very understandable — famously intensive rehearsers that they are — that they have in the end chosen to work from now with another Slovak living the Prague, another fine player, the young Šimon Truszka, previously of the Kukal Quartet. May it work out well for all of them! We need PHQ to be back in the recording studio.