Friday, February 9, 2018
Moravian College, Foy Concert Hall
- Mozart Divertimento in D Major, K. 136
- Smetana String Quartet no.1, E Minor, “From My Life”
- Dvořák String Quartet No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106
Founded in 1998 at the Academy of Performing Arts inPrague and praised by critics for a “fiery temperament,” performance-wise, the Bennewitz Quartet has traveled the world for nearly twenty years, appearing everywhere from London’s Wigmore Hall to the Seoul Art Center and from the Musikverein in Vienna to New York’s Frick Collection.
The Queen of Spain has presented the quartet with an award, and the group won the Osaka competition in 2005 and Premio Paolo Borciani in 2008. So the ensemble can hardly be accused of parochialism. Yet its members readily confess to a patriotic love of “ma vlast” (my country, my homeland), the title of the famous set of symphonic poems composed by Bedřich Smetana, their Czech countryman. Indeed, the ensemble is named for the Czech violinist Antonin Bennewitz and seeks to “actively promote Czech music including excellent and unjustly neglected composers.”
The Lehigh Valley audience will hear them play works by excellent and justly valued Czech composers, Dvořák as well as Smetana—with a divertimento by Mozart thrown in for good measure. The hefty Bennewitz discography features another Czech composer—Janáček—as well as Dvořák and Smetana and the Hungarian composer Bartók. The 2015 Naxos release of the quartet’s recording of Dvořák’s quartets, op. 51 and op. 106 was an editor’s choice of the magazine Harmonie.