Prazak Quartet Archive

SMETANA: String Quartet No. 1 & No. 2; Piano Trio – Prazak Quartet/ Nathalia Milstein, piano – Praga Digitals

SMETANA: String Quartet No. 1 & No. 2; Piano Trio – Prazak Quartet/ Nathalia Milstein, piano – Praga Digitals

Intense and masterfully performed, these three Smetana chamber music staples enjoy fiercely passionate renderings. SMETANA: String Quartet No. 1 in e minor “From My Life”; String Quartet No. 2 in d minor; Piano Trio in g minor, Op. 15 – Prazak Quartet/ Nathalia Milstein, piano – Praga Digitals PRD/DSD 350 151, 75:53 (2/16/18) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi/PIAS] ****: Recorded in 2017, these refreshed performances of Bedrich Smetana’s famous 1876 String Quartet No. 1 and his 1855 Piano Trio, along with the lesser known d minor Quartet of 1883, can claim a visceral authority in the lexicon of stellar interpretations. The French pianist Nathalia Milstein (b. 1995) joins violinist Jana Vonaskova and cellist Michal Kanka in the spirited tribute to the Czech spirit that defines the Smetana legacy. The opening chord of “From My Life” should notify the alert listener of the fierce and passionate gravitas of the ensuing performance of this most autobiographical of chamber works. “What I set out to do was to retrace the unfolding of my life in music,” wrote Smetana, after a stroke in 1874 had begun its inexorable debilitation of his musical and mental faculties. Josef Kluson’s anguished viola serves as the emissary of Smetana’s […]

BRAHMS: Clarinet Quintet in b; Hindemith: Clarinet Quintet – Raphael Severe, clar./ Quatour Prazak – Mirare

BRAHMS: Clarinet Quintet in b; Hindemith: Clarinet Quintet – Raphael Severe, clar./ Quatour Prazak – Mirare

Two German clarinet quintets from opposed aesthetics find brilliant realization in these performances from Prague. BRAHMS: Clarinet Quintet in b, Op. 115; Hindemith: Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 – Raphael Severe, clarinet/ Quatour Prazak – Mirare MIR 282, 58:00 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****: Recorded February and May 2015, these two German clarinet quintets in diametrically opposing styles feature the young French clarinet virtuoso Raphael Severe, who has already gained prestige for his mellifluous talent. The 1891 Brahms Clarinet Quintet remains his most glorious autumnal work, the expression of a man who had already “dismissed” his creative energy, only to have found renewal in his meeting with Richard Muehfeld of the Meiningen Orchestra.  Romantic in content and classical in its form, the Brahms Quintet takes its cue from the works of Mozart and Weber in the same format. The emotional constituent remains primarily nostalgia, tinted by hints of gypsy influence and Mozart’s penchant for variations. After two idyllic movements, the third reveals – as in the Symphony No. 1 – the composer’s taste for five-bar phrases and a more spacious sonority. The fourth movement, a series of variants, allows each member of the string quartet, besides the solo clarinet, to participate […]