S0791. SMETANA QUARTET (Jiri Novák, Lubomír Kostecky, Milan Skampa, Antonin Kohout): 'Intimate Letters' Quartet #2 (Janácek); Quartet #13 in B-flat, Op.130 (Beethoven). (Canada) St Laurent Studio T-1152, Live Performance, 6 Sept., 1969, Besançon. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“The Smetana Quartet very quickly became one of the ensembles linking up to the tradition and legacy of the members of the Czech Quartet. Together with other ensembles – the Vlach Quartet, Janácek Quartet and Prague City Quartet – it was instrumental in the ‘Czech quartet school’ attaining its unique position, dominated by refinement of sound, stylistic purity, technical precision, sensitivity for leading the musical phrase and an extraordinary sense of interplay. The Smetana Quartet, which launched its great interpretational career by winning an award within the 1950 Prague Spring International Music Competition, was for the period of 43 years one of the world’s leading ensembles. Its superb performances were captured on more than 150 gramophone records the ensemble gave thousands of concerts in some sixty countries throughout Europe, America and Asia, and was repeatedly invited to the most prestigious festivals and recording studios. When performing quintet compositions, the Smetana Quartet was frequently joined by the pianists Jan Panenka and Josef Hála, the violinist Josef Suk and the clarinetist Vladimír Riha.”
"...a style of music-making that is – tragically – dying out, and essential for all chamber music lovers."
- Rob Pennock, CLASSICAL SOURCE, Aug., 2006