Foursome from Prague return with fresh faces

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A NEW-LOOK Martinu Quartet return to play at Kelso Music Society on Friday, March 25.

Regarded as one of Prague’s finest quartets, of which there are many, the quartet produced a “sensational” appearance at Kelso three years ago, according to society president Peter Podmore.

The quartet has two changes since their last appearance, he said.

Jan Jisa, their viola player of 30 years, had to retire due to ill health, and Zbynek Padourek has stepped in.

Their second violin, Irena Herajnova, left to start a family, and has been replaced by Libor Kanka, who left the quartet some years ago but has taken the unusual step of rejoining his original partnership.

“Their first violin, Lubomir Havlak, has been there from the outset for 30 years, and their cellist, Jitka Vaslankova, for over 20 years, so they have a great deal of experience together and a mutual understanding which reflects in their playing,” Peter said.

“The last time they came the audience was the largest the society had gathered for many years and they received a triumphal ovation at the end, which is why Kelso was so keen to see them back.”

The Martinu Quartet are also scheduled to play Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany and Malta this year, and their concert will be the finale for Kelso Music Society’s 2010/11 progamme. Peter added: “Audiences have suddenly become much bigger, especially with the concerts of the Idomeneo Quartet in January and Nikolai Demidenko’s great display at the last concert this month, so it is hoped The Martinu Quartet can continue this very healthy trend.”

Their programme includes Mozart’s last great quartet K.590, and two masterpieces of the Czech repertoire, Janacek’s first quartet known as “The Kreutzer Sonata” and Dvorak’s Quartet No 13.

The concert in Kelso High School hall is at 7.45pm to allow for the society’s annual general meeting at 7pm, to which all ticket holders are admitted.

Tickets are priced at £12. Phone 01668 216550 to book.