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Haydn Haba Janacek.

Haba Quartett

Zuk Records

2002

The saying that no man is a prophet in his own land is one that certainly applies to Alois Haba. While we don't often hear his music in this country, abroad his legacy attracts great attention, and his reputation goes beyond that of pioneer of microtonal music.

The Haba Quartett was formed in 1984 in Germany, on the initiative of the violinist Dusan Pandula, a former member of the Prague Haba Quartet.

This recording contains Haba's Quartet no.9, op. 79 of 1952, the First String Quartet, "Kreutzer Sonata" by Leos Janacek and the String Quartet in C major by Joseph Haydn. What Janacek and Haba had in common was first their insistence on finding their own paths and resulting isolation on the music scene, and second their deep love of Moravian folk music. This recording provides us with a unique opportunity to appreciate how two composers could use similar sources of inspiration to go in quite different directions. In Haba's case, his piece is also affected by the time at which it was written, since in 1952 a Stalinist dictatorship that wanted to dictate even the form of music was still in power. Haba's music was branded formalist and so prohibited. Here the folk music tones create a counterweight to darker places, but the work is still glows with the composer's optimism and faith in a better future.

At first sight the Haydn Quartet seems an odd companion for the music of Haba and Janacek but in fact it was Haydn, who made the quartet into the genre with which his successors worked.

The musicians of the Haba Quartett acquit themselves with honour in their performance of the the difficult works by Haba and Leos Janacek and also manage to loosen up sufficiently in their rendering of the Haydn.
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Author:Kratochvil, Matej
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:305
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