Antonín Dvořák – Complete String Quartets


TRIBUTE TO A. DVOŘÁK AND HIS 180TH ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTH IN 2021


Between 2007 and 2014, the Zemlinsky Quartet recorded the complete works for string quartet by the most recognized and perhaps most beloved Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák. The ensemble appears to be only the fourth group in history to undertake such a big and demanding project.

Dvořák’s first four string quartets were composed while he was still a student. They were quite extensive in length as the composer practiced and experimented with various composition techniques and skills – for example, his first quartet in A major was about 65 minutes long. Later, Dvořák revisited his first string quartet and  thought that it contained valuable musical ideas so he revised the score. Thanks to his revisions, the duration of the first quartet was edited down to a more reasonable 32 minutes…   But Dvořák did not consider his quartets No. 2, 3, and 4 good enough, and decided to destroy them. What he did not know, was that one more copy of each of these scores existed, which thankfully, preserved these three early works so that they can be performed to this day. When Czech musicologists prepared the critical edition of these early string quartets, they presumed that if Dvořák had wanted these works to be performed, he would have revised them in the same way as he did for his first string quartet. Thus, in the critical edition of these three early string quartets, musicologists have suggested cuts in similar fashion to the ones that Dvořák made to his first quartet, so that the duration of these quartets are more reasonable and could be performed in concert.

The three previously recorded complete Dvořák cycles contain the full lengths of all the string quartets. However, the Zemlinsky Quartet decided to record all the early quartets with the cuts, to make the comparison between the long and short version available. All the string quartets in the Zemlinsky Quartet‘s recordings of the Dvořák cycle are between 25-40 minutes in length, which makes it possible to have three quartets performed in each concert over five concerts for the complete Dvořák cycle.


Suggestion of program:

1)
String Quartet no. 1 A Major, op. 2, B8
Cypresses for String Quartet, B152
String Quartet no. 14 A flat Major, op. 105, B193

2)
String Quartet no. č. 2 B flat Major, B17
String Quartet no. 8 E Major, op. 80, B57
String Quartet no. 12 F Major, op. 96, B179 "American"

3)
String Quartet no. 3 D Major, B18
String Quartet no. 6 a minor, op. 12, B40
String Quartet no. 10 E flat Major, op. 51, B92 "Slavonic"

4)
String Quartet no. 5 f minor, op. 9, B37
String Quartet no. 7 a minor, op. 16, B45
String Quartet no. 11 C major, op. 61, B121

5)
String Quartet no. 4 e minor, B19
String Quartet no. 9 d minor, op. 34, B75
String Quartet no. 13 G Major, op. 106, B192

The number of concerts could be extended to 6, adding two or three other compositions by A. Dvořák, namely Movement F major, Viola Quintet Op. 97, Piano Quintet Op. 81, String Sextet Op. 48, and/or Terzetto Op. 74.

Zemlinsky Quartet 25th anniversary in 2019


In 1994, four young musicians willing to do chamber music met to form a string quartet based mostly on good fun. Rehearsals were irregular but frequent, and on April 19, 1995, the Penguin Quartet performed three challenging pieces in its Prague debut concert. (Yes, František Souček, the first violinist, was 14 years old at that time…) After 25 years, the Zemlinsky Quartet (taking a new name in 2005, with only one personal change in 1999) developed into one of the leading ensembles of its generation. With more than 1200 concerts, more than 20 CDs, more than 250 chamber music works in the repertoire, the ensemble represents now the strong Czech string quartet tradition all over the world. In the spring of 2020, to celebrate its 25 years of existence, the Zemlinsky Quartet will repeat the same concert in Prague as it happened in April 1995. Therefore, the ensemble also offers this concert to everyone who would be willling to include the celebration of 25 years of the quartet in their concert series or festival.

Program of the concert:

Franz Schubert: Quartet Movement C minor Op. Posth.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Adagio and Polka for String Quartet
---
Alexander Borodin: String Quartet No. 1 A major

(The concert includes moderation and possibly also video recordings.)

Projects for the 2019-20 season

Czech Classics

Zemlinsky Quartet as one of the leading Czech chamber ensembles is proud to present the most precious jewels from the rich Czech chamber music treasure. Wide selection of string quartets gives the opportunity to select a balanced program of world famous, but also less known Czech works.

Program 1
L. Janáček:String Quartet from Youth
B. Smetana: String Quartet E minor From my life
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet G major Op. 106

Program 2
L. Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
J. Suk: String Quartet No. 1 B flat major Op. 11
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet F major Op. 96 American

Ludwig van Beethoven – 250th anniversary of birth in 2020


The Zemlinsky Quartet would like to pay tribute to the composer whose string quartets became the key to the deep and profound world of chamber music.

Program 1
String Quartet D major Op. 18 No. 3
String Quartet E flat major Op. 74 „Harp“
--- --- String Quartet B flat major Op. 130
(with Grosse Fuge as last movement

Program 2
String Quartet B flat major Op. 18 No. 6
String Quartet F minor Op. 95 „Serioso“
---
String Quartet E flat major Op. 127

Zemlinsky Quartet – 25 years!!!

In 1994, four young musicians willing to do chamber music met to form a string quartet based mostly on good fun. Rehearsals were irregular but frequent, and on April 19, 1995, the Penguin Quartet performed three challenging pieces in its Prague debut concert. After 25 years, the Zemlinsky Quartet (taking a new name in 2005, with only one personal change in 1999) developed into one of the leading ensembles of its generation. With more than 1200 concerts, more than 20 CDs, more than 250 chamber music works in the repertoire, the ensemble represents now the strong Czech string quartet tradition all over the world. In the spring of 2020, to celebrate its 25 years of existence, the Zemlinsky Quartet will repeat the same concert in Prague as it happened in April 1995. Therefore, the ensemble offers this concert to everyone who would be willling to include the celebration of such 25 years in their concert series or festival.

Franz Schubert: Quartet Movement C minor Op. Posth.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Adagio and Polka for String Quartet
---
Alexander Borodin: String Quartet No. 1 A major

(The concert includes moderation and possibly also video recordings.)

Austrian Jewels of Classical Music

The Zemlinsky Quartet is proud of bearing the name of Alexander Zemlinsky, an important Austrian personality, that also influenced significantly the cultural life in Czech Republic during his 16-years stay in Prague. Therefore, the ensemble offers well balanced program by famous Austrian composers.

W. A. Mozart: Adagio and Fugue C minor K. 546
A. Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 1 A major Op. 4
---
F. Schubert: Quartet G major D.

Czech Classics and Contemporary

Contemporary pieces belong to the repertoire of the Zemlinsky Quartet; the ensemble premiered many works by important Czech composers as J. Gemrot or K. Mařatka. In 2015, new Janáček piece for string quartet was created, when K. Mařatka transcribed Janáček´s wind sextet for the Zemlinsky Quartet.

Program 1
B. Martinů:String Quartet No. 3
L. Janáček:String Quartet from Youth
J. Gemrot (*1957):String Quartet No. 3
---
A. Dvořák:String Quartet A flat major Op. 105

Program 2
B. Martinů:Serenata II for Two Violins and Viola
L. Janáček:String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
K. Mařatka (*1972): Clarinet Quintet
---
A. Dvořák:String Quartet E flat major Op. 51

Zemlinsky Quartet also offers master classes and concerts for students in local schools.

Zemlinsky Quartet also offers to perform quintets with local artists (viola, cello, clarinet, piano).

Quintets and sextets to be performed in the 2019-20 season:

A. Dvořák: Viola Quintet E flat major Op. 97
J. Brahms: Viola Quintet G major Op. 111
F. Schubert:Cello Quintet C major op. 163
W. A. Mozart: Clarinet Quintet A major K. 581
J. Brahms: Clarinet Quintet B minor Op. 115
R. Schumann:Piano Quintet E flat Major Op. 44
A. Dvořák: Piano Quintet A major Op. 81
C. Franck: Piano Quintet F minor
A. Dvořák: String Sextet A major Op. 48
E. Schulhoff: String Sextet
A. Schönberg: Transfigured Night Op. 4

Projects for the 2018-19 season

Czech Classics

Zemlinsky Quartet as one of the leading Czech chamber ensembles is proud to present the most precious jewels from the rich Czech chamber music treasure. Wide selection of string quartets gives the opportunity to select a balanced program of world famous, but also less known Czech works.

Program 1
L. Janáček: String Quartet from Youth
B. Smetana: String Quartet E minor From my life
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet G major Op. 106

Program 2
L. Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
J. Suk: String Quartet No. 1 B flat major Op. 11
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet F major Op. 96 American

Czech Classics and Contemporary

Contemporary pieces belong to the repertoire of the Zemlinsky Quartet; the ensemble premiered many works by important Czech composers as J. Gemrot or K. Mařatka. In 2015, new Janáček piece for string quartet was created, when K. Mařatka transcribed Janáček´s wind sextet for the Zemlinsky Quartet.

Program 1
B. Martinů: String Quartet No. 3
L. Janáček: String Quartet from Youth
J. Gemrot (*1957): String Quartet No. 3
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet A flat major Op. 105

Program 2
B. Martinů: Serenata II for Two Violins and Viola
L. Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
K. Mařatka (*1972): Clarinet Quintet
---
A. Dvořák: String Quartet E flat major Op. 51

Celebrating anniversaries

The Zemlinsky Quartet would like to pay tribute to the composers that celebrate their anniversary in 2018 or 2019. Programs that contain only pieces by the jubilees, present lovely combination of well known and less played pieces that show the beauty and infinite variability of the string quartet music.

Program 1
F. Mendelssohn: String Quartet E flat major Op. 12
L. Janáček: String Quartet from Youth
---
F. Schubert: String Quartet Death and the Maiden

Program 2
F. X. Richter: String Quartet C major Op. 5/1
J. Turina: Oracion del torero
J. Haydn: String Quartet G minor op. 74/3 Rider
---
L. Janáček: String Quartet No. 2 Intimate Letters



…and other program to discuss.

Zemlinsky Quartet also offers to perform quintets with local artists (viola, cello, clarinet, piano), master classes and concerts for students at local schools.