Preview: Pavel Haas Quartet, The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh Festival

Czech quartet pays tribute to their heritage
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The Independent Culture

Pavel Haas was a gifted young composer and student of Leoš Janácek whose string quartets are deemed as good as any that have been written. However, Haas was not fated to have a long and industrious career. Deported from then-Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz in 1941, he was killed there in 1944. This young string quartet, formed of violinists Veronika Jaruskova and Maria Fuxova, violist Pavel Nikl and cellist Peter Jarusek, pay tribute to the composer in their music and nomenclature.

Since releasing their first CD in October 2006, the group has received much acclaim, dubbed "a superlative ensemble" with "impeccable technique and warm, interactive ensemble playing". They have played all of Haas's quartets in honour of the composer, but in this concert they will also turn their hand to works by Janacek and Prokofiev.

The youthful quartet has a strong connection to their heritage; they are based in Prague and are "committed to playing the Czech musical repertoire" of Haas and Janacek.

At this concert, which is the only one the group will be playing at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Pavel Haas Quartet have chosen to play their namesake's String Quartet No 3, which featured on their second CD. This recorded performance was hailed as "a masterpiece" by Gramophone magazine, which also praised the album as a whole as "a superb release that deserves not merely to bask in the reflected glory of its predecessor, but to share in it".

This quartet has been described using seemingly every superlative, and they represent a promising youth movement, which in the world of classical music is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. These youthful prodigies are all clearly keen to establish themselves in a competitive musical market, but ultimately it seems that they simply want to do justice to a composer, and fellow countryman, they respect.

22 August (0131-668 2019)