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|Prazak Quartet Review|
QUARTET FESTIVAL OF LUBERON, PRAZAK QUARTET BACK TO ITS BEST
In November 2015 at La Baule, we noted with regret that the Prazak's then first violinist, Pavel Hula, was unbalancing the quartet. Since then, his place has been taken by Jana Vonásková. Her generous sound and wide vibrato, characteristic of Czech string playing, coalesce much better with her three colleagues, with the marvellous cellist, Michal Kanka, continuing to have an obviously central role. Who else today could otherwise play Smetana's difficult Second Quartet with so much passion and lyricism and as well with such conviction and coherence in spite of the incessant charges of direction demanded by a composer beset by deafness and mental illness? Who else could bring to Dohnányi's rarely played but wonderful Serenade for String Trio Op.10 its full subtlety amid the references to Mozart and its Hungarian rhythms? And what a triumph for violist, Josef Kluson who restates the theme of the second movement Romance. The final work of the concert, the second Razumovsky quartet, provided a reminder that the recording by the Prazak's of the complete Beethoven quartets remains one of the best of recent years, together with that by the Alban Berg quartet, sadly no longer in existence. In the interval, the audience members were loud in their praise for the concert given by the Prazak's two days earlier when the performance of Dvorák's Quartet Op.105 had clearly made a strong impression on them. It is not the least of the merits of the Luberon festival that it enables the amateur to assess exactly the current state of the difficult and demanding art of string quartet performance.
"Definitive may be the most overused adjective in the critic's vocabulary, but no other single word more aptly describes the achievement by this superb foursome."
" A tone that was warm and shapely yet sufficiently crystalline to allow the textures and individual lines to be savored. It was the kind of virtuosity that does not call attention to itself, but leaves a listener feeling secure that the music is in capable hands....A hotblooded, richly textured reading."
The New York Times
" Performed with mastery and the freedom that comes with deep identification with the music....the members perform rhapsodically and flamboyantly but in absolutely effortless synchronicity with one another"
" A vivid and moving experience....an exceptional evening of music-making."
The Dallas Morning News
" Near ideal."
BBC Music Magazine
" The Prazak plays with the great tonal warmth and beauty of the Guarneri, the huge dynamic range of the Alben Berg, [and] the superb intonation of the old Quartetto Italiano."
" A warmth that recalled the proximity of coffee house and concert hall in the old Austro-Hungarian empire."
" Poetic...powerful...It was the kind of performance that grabbed you by the collar and refused to behave."
Los Angeles Times
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