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W. A. Mozart: Divertimento in D, KV 136 13 min.
Erwin Schulhoff: String Quartet Nr.1 15 min.
Mieczyslav Weinberg: String Quartet Nr. 8 op.66 16 min.
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Antonín Dvořak: String Quartet in A flat, op.105
Lubomír Havlák, first violin
Libor Kaňka, second violin
Zbyněk Paďourek, viola
Jitka Vlašánková, violoncello
The brilliant Martinů Quartet was founded in 1967 by four students at the Prague Conservatory. Since, the group has become internationally acclaimed for their benchmark performances of works by Czech composers such as Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček, and especially the works of Bohuslav Martinů. They perform annually at the prestigious Prague Spring Festival and give concerts throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. The quartet also teaches chamber music performance at two annual chamber music workshops in the Czech Republic, which are open to both amateur and professional musicians.
The Martinů Quartet has won many of the leading international competitions, including the ARD Munich (Germany), Evian (France), Yehudi Menuhin (Portsmouth, Britain) and the Prague Spring competitions, and can be heard performing live regularly on BBC, Radio France, ARD, ORF, and Czech Radio.
The ensemble received the coveted MIDEM prize in Cannes for the best CD of the year in the chamber music/solo category for the second of their three CDs for the NAXOS label of Bohuslav Martinů’s seven quartets and other chamber compositions.
The Quartet takes pleasure in seeking out neglected works and in giving first performances of pieces by contemporary composers. Their last double CD of Taneyev Quintets received great recognition, as have their recordings of works by Sylvie Bodorová, Ronald Stevenson, Sergey Taneyev, Frantisek Skroup and Elliot Miles McKinley.
The Martinů Quartet recently finished recording of chamber works of Petr Eben, one of the foremost composers from the Czech Republic, which was released on CD by the Czech Supraphon label in August 2017, the 10th anniversary of Eben's death. The Martinu Quartet is now engaged in a long-term project of performing and recording the complete quartet output of Czech-American composer Tomáš Svoboda.
"There are many top string quartets in the world. But by far not all have such breathtaking musicality, such spiritual penetration, and the ability to disclose their musical soul in such an unrestrained way, yet with completely rounded, flawless teamwork." – Passauer Neue Presse
"The Martinu players showed their gift for finding the emotional heart of a piece. This was an exquisitely crafted and profoundly moving performance." – The Strad