Friday, 1 March 2019

7.30pm, Kelso Old Parish Church, TD5 7BH

Zemlinsky Quartet


Quartet No 1


Mladi ('Youth' - arrangement from Janacek’s Wind Sextet)


Quartet Op.106  

Apart from Janacek’s 2nd Quartet it is some years since we have heard Czech quartets played in Kelso and they are some of the finest, packed with beautiful melodies and with an ear to the folk music of the Balkans.  To play us some of this wonderful music we have invited the Zemlinsky Quartet, one of the Czech Republic’s finest, founded 24 years ago in 1994.  

The Zemlinskys  have been winners in some of the world’s most prestigious quartet competitions such as the London competition, the Prague Spring, Banff and Bordeaux.

An intriguing arrangement of Janáček’s wind sextet Mládí (Youth), the four movements of which represent memories from the composer’s childhood. Despite its general light-heartedness, this music is fiendishly difficult, written one might imagine to test the technical expertise of the original woodwind players…., from the opening bars of the Andante it was clear that Kryštof Mařatka had ‘re-produced’ the idiomatic sound-world of Janáček’s writing for strings with astonishing credibility – the arrangement is practically a third string quartet for the composer’s canon. Here are the chuntering and driving ostinato motifs, the vigorous folk snatches, the wistful interjections, the insistent yearning which underpins the surface energy which are so familiar.
Claire Seymour, Wigmore Hall 2017

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