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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Supraphon a.s.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released October 20, 2017 | Supraphon a.s.

Distinctions Gramophone Award - Choc de Classica
As with Shostakovich and the Russians, there's debate over whether Czech performers bring a special quality to Dvorák's music. The Pavel Haas Quartet certainly makes Dvorák sound more Eastern than usual, bringing dramatic contrasts of light and shade in the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, in place of the usual orderly Brahmsian procession of themes. From the start, the playing of the group is both melodically evocative and intense, with tempos on the fast side. The contribution of hot Russian pianist Boris Giltburg here is substantial; in the slow movement of the Piano Quintet he establishes the little opening F sharp minor arpeggio as a kind of nervous memory rather than simply as an ornament. Sample the grand sweep of the finale for an idea of what you're getting here. The String Quintet in E flat major, Op. 97, is contrapuntally a more dense work than the Piano Quintet, and the Pavel Haas Quartet, joined by original violist Pavel Niki, differs less dramatically from other readings of the work. Yet this work also connects emotionally. Supraphon, not known for top-flight engineering, scores here with the sound environment of the Rudolfinium in Prague, giving space to the Haas Quartet's big interpretations. This recording offers a new standard for these much-played works. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released April 17, 2015 | Supraphon a.s.

The performance here of the familiar String Quartet No. 1 in E minor ("From My Life") of Smetana has everything one could ask for: adept playing and ensemble work, broad expression, sensitivity to the piece's deep autobiographical symbolism. It has everything you'd expect to hear if you went to a concert hall in Prague on a weekend afternoon for one of the city's leading chamber ensembles. It doesn't really break new ground, but that's left to the remainder of the album. The noteworthy entry here is the much-less-often-performed String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, written in 1882 and 1883 as Smetana suffered from deafness and what was probably the syphilis that killed him the following year. The work mystified Smetana's contemporaries, was not published until after his death, and was not properly edited until the middle of the 20th century. (Among its champions was Arnold Schoenberg.) It's concise and rather abrupt: compared with Beethoven's string quartet output, it might be the String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, to the String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 ("Harp") of the From My Life quartet. The piece's rather fragmentary nature has been held to be a reflection of the fits and starts in which Smetana, under doctor's orders not to compose, worked on it, but the Pavel Haas Quartet puts it together and makes of it the inward music it ought to be, its flashes of light coming through as bits of hope in a deteriorating life. The quartet is not quite like any other work of the 19th century, and the Pavel Haas Quartet succeeds in taking it on its own terms. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released September 24, 2010 | Supraphon a.s.

Second in popularity only to the Ninth Symphony "From the New World," Dvorák's Twelfth String Quartet -- which was dubbed the "American" Quartet by the public and media rather than the composer himself -- is a work nearly synonymous with the composer's tenure in the United States. These were not the only two works inspired by his cross-sea voyage, however. The Thirteenth String Quartet in G major, Op. 106, though not imbued with the same folkloric characteristics, also came about following the composer's return from the States. The popularity of the "American" Quartet has resulted in a work that is arguably overplayed, making it difficult for new ensembles to find anything new or unique to say about it. Such is the case with this Supraphon album of the Pavel Haas Quartet. Its playing in the F major quartet is solid, yes. It is technically polished and musically informed. But there is little to be found here that has not been said a dozen times before. Where the Pavel Haas Quartet really shines is in the less-frequently performed G major quartet. Here, the group really pulls out all the stops. Listen to the lush sonorities achieved in the Adagio, the hammering rhythmic ostinato and aggressive fugato in the third movement, or the fiery conclusion to the finale. The PHQ rides the line between overly aggressive playing and unbridled excitement without crossing it, resulting in a wholly thrilling performance that leaves listeners wishing they had left off the "American" Quartet in favor of another of the many neglected but equally deserving Dvorák quartets. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released January 15, 2010 | Supraphon a.s.

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Chamber Music - Released September 27, 2007 | Supraphon a.s.

The two string quartets by modernist Czech composer Pavel Haas included here are formally controlled, intensely expressive, and extremely powerful. Harmonically individualistic but nevertheless in the tonal tradition, these quartets are of their time but also transcend it through their urgent communication with the listener. As befits a group bearing his name, the Pavel Haas Quartet performs Haas' single-movement String Quartet No. 1 from 1920 and three-movement String Quartet No. 3 from 1938 with uncompromising dedication. Together, violinists Veronika Jaruskova and Marie Fuxova, violist Pavel Nikl, and cellist Peter Jarusek form a strong-willed and exciting ensemble. Their focused intonation, forceful tempos, and tight tempos are impressive, and their fervent interpretations of Haas' music are revelatory. For decades after the composer's 1944 death in Auschwitz, the vast majority of his music was rarely if ever played, and thus for most listeners, these quartets will be entirely unknown territory. But after hearing the impassioned performances here, most listeners will want to hear these works again, and perhaps even search out other works by Haas. Unfortunately, it must be added that the performance of Janácek's String Quartet No. 1 that opens this disc is less successful. The work's essential elements, its dramatic intensity, and maniacal expressivity are entirely missing, and without them, the piece is merely a pro forma exercise in tempo and texture. Still, for the superlative performances of Haas' quartets and the bright, natural Supraphon sound, this disc must be highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Supraphon a.s.

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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Supraphon a.s.

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