Project › The St. George Quintet in Bohemia Express

Two violins (Liesbeth Baelus and Kaja Nowak), viola (Diede Verpoest), cello (Wouter Vercruysse) and double bass (Bram Decroix) is an unconventional setting and thus a very versatile repertoire. Next to well known and loved pieces like the Dvorak quintet, the SGQ performs many rarely heard works from composers such as Janacek, Onslow, Bliss, F.S.Kelly, and more; has premiered and performed works of contemporary Belgian composers; has collaborated with other musicians, among them the world-renowned guitarist Roberto Aussel; co-created a music-theatre performance, and even presented their own arrangements of songs by The Beatles and Queen. 

An exciting journey into the heart of Bohemia

In July 2017 the members of the st. George Quintet went on a road trip to the Czech Republic. The "road trip" was, in actuality, a train trip - and we had two objectives. First, to talk to people. To get to know as much as we could about their world and the relation to their cultural heritage. The second, to board the train going between Prague and Brno, the aptly named Bohemia Express RJ77, connecting the cities of Dvorak and Janacek. Did the names of these two great Czech composers still mean anything to their compatriots nowadays?

We found out some surprising things. We created a concert programme with movie impressions from the trip, projected on a screen in between pieces. And finally, we are making a CD album... 

This project has enriched us with the knowledge of many beautiful people, places, traditions. Now it is our turn to share this - with your help! 

Bohemia Express, the music

„I have composed too much”, said Dvorak in a conversation with Sibelius towards the end of his life. While he may have had doubts about the relevance of some of his compositions, the string quintet in G major certainly wasn’t one of them. Sparkling joy and humour, with varied and colourful melodies, spirited rhythms and an exceptional sense of contrast, this work is at the same time „the first instrumental work in which he really found his voice” (in the words of Dvorak expert, musicologist David Beveridge). Well known and loved, and a staple of string quintet repertoire, it has not been often recorded despite its popularity. Possibly because it’s a very challenging work to put on tape, as we, the St. George Quintet members, found out! 

The next work that found its way onto our newest CD is Janacek’s Suite for strings. If Dvorak’s quintet was a work of a composer who found his voice, in the Suite we can hear that Janacek was still searching. The work has been described as „a ragbag of influences”, among them the Baroque suite, Beethoven, Wagner, Dvorak... As insane as this may sound, John Warrack writes in a Gramophone review: „(...) with Janácek now so firmly established as a major and very popular composer, we can approach these influences with pleasure at how interestingly and attractively he has absorbed them.”

To close the album, we have chosen the Meditation on an old Czech hymn to St. Wenceslas composed by Josef Suk. The latest of these three pieces (Janacek’s Suite, although revised and printed in 1926, was actually composed in 1877), it calls back to the medieval monophonic tradition, evoking images of ancient times when Christianity was still influenced by pagan religion, an old wooden church bathed in mist at dawn, the beginning of time... 

All the three composers knew each other: Dvorak and Janacek were good friends and went on long countryside walks together, Suk was Dvorak’s favourite pupil and son-in-law. But the relations between them went further than that: they all inspired one another artistically. And even further: Dvorak, Janacek and Suk illustrate the continuity of tradition and the development of individual talent which T.S. Eliot described in his famous essay. By adding their compositions to the existing great works of art, they not only produced something new and worthy - they also made us look at the old in a different way. They changed the existing works of art, altering and readjusting their relations, proportions and values, achieving the „conformity between the old and the new”. 

St. George Quintet – Honouring the past, embracing the future

The St. George Quintet is a laureate of Supernova 2016, a competition for young chamber music ensembles organised in cooperation with the Belgian classical music radio station Klara. December 2016 marks the release of their debut CD album, British Legends.

The quintet has toured extensively throughout Flanders and performed in festivals and venues such as Midis/Minimes (Brussels), Iedereen Klassiek (Concertgebouw Brugge), Klarafestival, AMUZ (Antwerp) and Grachtenfestival (Amsterdam) and in a commemorative concert in London organized by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders in the UK. 

CD Bohemia Express in production

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Dear fans,

Thank you very much for your support! The CD Bohemia Express is now in print and will be ready for release on our first concert in 2019. Have a look at our upcoming concerts:

03.02.2019 11:00│CC Vredeberg Lier
10.02.2019 11:30│Cultuurcentrum Merksem
12.02.2019 20:00│Miry Concertzaal Gent

Above: the artwork of the album made by Jan-Sebastiaan Degeyter.

Funders

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Anonymous

Kajaaaa! :)

Meilleurs voeux de succès pour ce magnifique projet. On se réjouit du futur moment de grâce ! Affectueusement, Hans-Christian & Marie

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Anonymous

€ 30,00
€ 60,00

ok, hopelijk lukt het deze keer want de betaling wordt telkens geweigerd... ;( … maar wat een fijn project dus we blijven proberen... zowel op ondernemersschap als op artistieke vlak bijzonder inspirerend... nog veel plezier en Wouter, op het einde van dat filmpje is het ook fijn om jou als dirigent aan het werk te zien ;) grt sx

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

€ 30,00

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Anonymous

mooi promotiefilmpje . Zal een prima productie worden . Succes !!

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Anonymous

€ 30,00

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Anonymous

Doe zo verder! Goed bezig!

€ 30,00

Ik kijk al lang uit naar de nieuwe cd en ben een grote fan. Alvast proficiat met jullie tweede baby in wording!

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