Releasing a new CD in the field of classical music is a challenge even for a top artistic ensemble like the Bennewitz Quartet. Today, Supraphon releases chamber music in editions of several hundred, because only a few connoisseurs will buy classical music on CD. And that doesn’t cover the cost of the release.
Quality music needs supporters and patrons, just as it did hundreds of years ago. We are proud that a great new recording of Terezín composers performed by the Bennewitz Quartet saw the light of day in April 2019 with our support!
The release of the new CD is an opportunity for the ensemble to present itself to the world and to get exposure to exciting music venues and festivals. But the CD itself is not only a recording of high-quality interwar music at a world-class level. It is also a document of the story of the Terezín ghetto, where, for example, the Ullman String Quartet was created.
Excerpts from the CD on Supraphon online will tell you that the composers did not succumb to the tragedy of their times. Their music is serious and playful, dreamy and dramatic. It carries a charge of freedom, joy and hope. We are happy to have been able to help create a quality work that has already won several awards within a few weeks of its release.
Bennewitz Quartet and Venture Club meeting
We first heard the Terezin composers performed by the Bennewitz Quartet at our first anniversary concert. At that time, the Bennewitz Quartet put on a special live performance to accompany a screening of the 1927 silent film Symphony of the Big City. This performance generated a wave of enthusiasm among club members, including a proposal to record a CD of this music.
However, the club’s first introduction to the musical quartet was in June 2017 in the form of a talk with musical demonstrations. This was followed by our participation in a number of concerts by the Bennewitz Quartet at the Rudolfinum. Later, we sponsored the travel of a videographer who traveled with the quartet as part of their tour of the USA and Germany and is preparing a film about their 20 years of activity.
Finally, last December, the now legendary performance took place at the Museum of Arts and Industry. Members of the Bennewitz Quartet played there exclusively for our members. The repertoire drew largely from the already recorded CD, which we christened on 29 May in the Arthouse Hejtmánek gallery. However, we are far from stopping there.
The fruitful collaboration between the Venture Club and the Bennewitz Quartet began, as it usually does, quite “by accident”. Their violist Jiří Pinkas was my neighbour for some time and thanks to that I started following the quartet’s career and performances. I am very glad that the other members of the club share my enthusiasm and that the club and the quartet have managed to develop – one could say – a friendship.
Life of the Bennewitz Quartet
As the name suggests, the Bennewitz Quartet consists of four players, Jakub Fišer – first violin, Štěpán Ježek – second violin, Jiří Pinkas – viola and Štěpán Doležal – cello. The ensemble was founded in 1998 and since then has made a long and very interesting journey from studies at the Academy in Prague, through foreign internships in Madrid and Basel to winning two international competitions of the highest level.
As professional musicians, they had to get used to considerable flexibility. Their life schedule is irregular, not only due to frequent travelling, but also due to switching between the roles of parent, husband, artist, driver, promoter, sound engineer – simply between whatever needs to be dealt with at any given moment.
As quartet players they are completely free, but at the same time completely dependent on the income from the concerts they arrange themselves. With the fact that concerts and fees in the Czech Republic are very limited, the quartet is heading out into the world, which is what the release of the new CD and its positive reviews help them to do.
Become a patron of the arts
One of the strengths of the Terezin works that the Bennewitz Quartet has released with the support of the Venture Club is its appeal to a wide range of listeners. For connoisseurs of the traditional chamber repertoire, this music represents an interesting rarity that brilliantly combines unlistenability and quality.
If you are not used to chamber music or classical music in general, you may enjoy Terezín’s music for its exuberance and jazzy titles. We hope you will enjoy the CD. We would like to invite you to support its release.
In return for its sponsorship, the Venture Club has received several CDs that can go to you. You can order the CD using the form below, or contact the Venture Club Secretariat. We recommend a donation of 500 – 5.000 CZK. If you make a donation in excess of 2,000 CZK you will receive a CD signed by members of the Bennewitz Quartet.