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GO: CLASSICAL: Quartet's joyous Bohemian journey; REVIEW.

Byline: Patsy Fuller

Panocha Quartet, Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington, May 2.

THE Panocha String Quartet are fast becoming regular visitors to Leamington. This concert showed why they keep getting invitations and, with such an enthusiastic response from a packed hall, why they keep accepting.

Jiri Panocha and his colleagues have been a mainstay of this year's Leamington Festival, which has been celebrating Czech music and marking the centenary of the death of the country's greatest composer, Antonin Dvorak.

It was with Dvorak that Sunday's concert opened, a trio full of close harmonies and complex rhythms.

The little-known Zdenek Fibich was a close contemporary of Dvorak's. He was apparently wracked by self-doubt, so much so that he destroyed many of his works. A great shame, because his String Quartet No 2 was a light, sunny piece oozing with catchy tunes and foot-tapping beats.

The highlight, though, was Dvorak's String Quintet in E, the American, composed during the same stay in the USA which produced the American Quartet and the New World Symphony.

The Panochas were joined by Jan Jisa on a second viola, and threw everything into this thrilling piece. It's a work packed with tunes inspired directly by Bohemian folk songs and dances, full of variation from a church-like slow movement to its almost rustic finale.

The Leamington Festival comes to a close this weekend with concerts of various new works and some jazz. But anyone wanting more of the finest Czech music could think about a drive over to Monks Kirby near Rugby on June 11, when the respected Janacek Quartet will be playing works by Smetana, Janacek (the Intimate Letters Quartet) and Dvorak's delicious American Quartet.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 7, 2004
Words:278
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