THE PRAZAK Quartet bring a programme of music by Czech composers to Leamington’s Royal Pump Rooms on Friday February 25.
Ending with Dvořák’s last Quartet Opus 106, the concert starts with the Meditation by his son-in-law Josef Suk. This is followed by the first of Janáček’s two quartets, ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’, a work inspired by Tolstoy’s novella of that name.
The other work in the programme is a UK première, Quartet No 4 by Karel Janovický. Born in Pilsen, Mr Janovický came to Britain in 1950 to escape the Communist regime, having spent his formative years under the German occupation.
In 1964 he started to work for the BBC and he managed the Czech department of the BBC World Service during the 1980s. He continued life as a composer and was also involved in coaching singers, especially for opera, in the Czech language.
Mr Janovický is now in his 90s and is sadly unable to travel to Leamington to hear the Pražák Quartet play his work but he has in the past attended festivals of Czech music in in Leamington. The Assembly Hall there was used during 1940-42 by the Czech Free Army Choir for rehearsals and in the last 30 years a strong musical link with Czech music and musicians has become a feature of the local arts scene.
Festival Director Richard Phillips said: “Both Karel Janovický and I are Patrons of the Dvořák Society which does more than any other similar organization in promoting Czech composers.
“So, it is a great shame that Karel cannot be in Leamington for this première. Members of the Dvořák Society from all over the UK will be attending the concert and we have plans for the 2024 Leamington Music Festival to have a big Czech music content.”
“Taking many of the rehearsals of the Czech Free Army Choir in the Assembly Hall was Vilém Tauský, best known now for the period he was with the BBC Concert Orchestra giving weekly concerts for the programme Friday Night is Music Night.
“His Meditation on Coventry, written after he had visited the ruined cathedral in Coventry following the Blitz of November 1940, was given in this series of concerts last November by the Jubilee Quartet.
The final concert will take place on March 25 when the Heath Quartet includes the second quartet of Janáček in its programme with quartets by Haydn and Fanny Mendelssohn.”
Visit www.leamingtonmusic.org for tickets and further details.