I am not a connoisseur of chamber music but last Friday (4th Oct) I was fortunate enough to be in Dublin staying with old friends, the McCutcheons, and so had the pleasure of seeing the Prazak Quartet playing in St Patrick’s Church, Dalkey. Gill McCutcheon is the daughter of John Ruddock (1924 – 2013) whose life mission was to bring chamber music to the people of Ireland. According to Gill, he was never very commercial but was always happy with a full house, even if no one had paid. Such concerts were known as artistic successes. John, who sadly died in May this year, would have been thrilled with the turn out on Friday.
As I said, I know little about chamber music, but watching this Quartet was fascinating. The acoustics in St Patrick’s are very good, but it was the technical brilliance of the musicians that amazed me. The flick of a wrist, the barely perceptible nod of a head… the timing was so taut. The music seemed layered and tight, but it also soared. It struck me how extraordinary it is that wood, bows and strings could be so manipulated to make such music. Watching the four men play made me realise for the first time in many years just how wonderful, skilled and clever musicians (and composers, of course) are. It is so easy to forget this in the cross fire of rock, pop, and pipe muzak that assaults us very day.
So watching and listening to the Prazak Quartet was pure pleasure. A big thank you to the McCutcheons. By the way, the Quartet played, Haydn, Beethoven, and the music of a Czech composer, Leos Janacek. The latter was new to me. It was exciting and dramatic, worth checking out.
The Prazak Quartet
Pavel Hula (Violin)
Vlastimil Holek (Violin)
Josef Kluson (Viola)
Michal Kanka (Cello)