20th October 2017
James enjoys a much-anticipated new release from the Pavel Haas Quartet (and two formidable guest players): stunning performances of Dvořák's Piano Quintet op. 81 and the String Quintet op. 97.
Recorded in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, 18-19 May (Op. 97) and 26-27 June 2017 (Op. 81).
Seven years after they triumphed with Dvořák’s quartets (SU40382, op. 96 “American” and op. 106 – Gramophone Award „Recording of the Year“), Pavel Haas Quartet are back to Dvořák. For the occasion of recording his quintets, they have invited two guests: the pianist Boris Giltburg (winner of 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition), as well as one of the PHQ founding members, violist Pavel Nikl. Antonín Dvořák composed his Piano Quintet No. 2 while staying at his beloved summer house in Vysoká in the late summer of 1887. The renowned critic Eduard Hanslick responded to its performance in Vienna enthusiastically: „It is one of his most beautiful works. A genuine Dvořák.“ The String Quintet op. 97, albeit only six years younger, presents a completely „different Dvořák“. After the Symphony from the New World and the “American” quartet, the string quintet is the composer’s third work written in America.
Besides drawing inspiration from the music of the Native American tribe of the Iroquois which he heard in Spillville in the summer of 1893, he built the third movement around a theme that he had previously considered using in a proposal for a new American anthem.
And Hanslick’s testimonial? „This is probably the simplest, most natural and happiest music composed since Haydn’s times. The ear enjoys it with an easy-going attitude and the spirit is not bored for a single moment.“ Pavel Haas Quartet is at home in Dvořák’s music – to quote the Sunday Times, „In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today.“