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Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $100.00



Autographed 6” x 8.25” photograph of the great Czech string quartet in their configuration after 1936 and before 1946.  Each instrumentalist has signed, Jaroslav Pekelsky 1st violinist, Richard Zika 2nd violinist, Vincenc Zahradnik viola and Bedrich Janos cellist.  As Zika is posed in the front, it can be reasonably assumed he was the leader at the time the image was taken.


The ensemble was founded in 1921 by three students of violinist Franz Ondricek at the Prague Conservatory, who brought along Bedrich Janos the principal cellist of the Czech Philharmonic at the time to the ensemble.  Originally they were called the Artistic String Quartet, but after their teacher and mentor Franz Ondricek passed away in 1922, they changed the name to the Ondricek Quartet in his memory. The initial configuration consisted of Jaroslav Pekelsky (1898-1978) who played first violin from 1921-1936 and then reverted to second violin from 1936-1958, Kamil Vyskocil (1894-1932) who played 2nd violin until his early death, Vincenc Zahradnik (1899-1967) who played viola from 1921-1958 and Bedrich Janos (1896-1977) who played cello from 1921 to 1958.  After the death of Vysocil in 1932, they brought in a ringer, Richard Zika (1897-1947) who was the founder and first violinist of the Prague Quartet as second violinist.  Zika assumed the 1st violinist chair in 1936 and played with the ensemble until 1946, a year before his death.  Josef Holub joined the quartet to play 1st violin until they disbanded in 1958.


The Quartet was very important to Czech music of the period.  Each member of the original quartet at one time, or another had played as a member of the Czech Philharmonic.  From 1927-1955 they were the official string quartet of Czechoslovak Radio.  Whilst they were steeped in the Romantic tradition, they also performed 20th Century works, however, their main focus was on the string chamber music of Antonin Dvorak.  They also played two posthumous World Premiers of Dvorak string quartets, the 2nd string quartet was reconstructed from discovered parts Dvorak through he had destroyed.  They gave the World Premiere on the 16th of November, 1932.  The second Dvorak string quartet they prepared was a fragment which has come to be known as the Quartet Movement in F Major, which was given its’ world premiere on Czech radio on April 29th, 1945.  They also gave a number of other world premiere performances including Frantisek Bartos’s 2nd string quartet, Dragutin Colic’s Concertino for Quartet Tone Piano and String Sextet (conductor Karel Ancerl was one of the additional violinists), Karel Jirak’s 3rd string quartet, Bohuslav Martinu’s String Trio no. 1, Erwin Schulhoff’s Concerto for String Quartet and Winds. A small sampling of works written for the ensemble.


As recording artists their recordings are many, most made in Czechoslovakia and only released there.  However, they did make at least one recording of the Mozart E flat major string quartet for German Odeon.  A partial list of composers whose work they recorded either in session, or in live radio broadcasts include: Beethoven, Dvorak, Fibich, Janacek, Mozart, Novak, Resphighi, Smetana, Suk.


Central crease as seen, but a rare autograph!