THE JUBILEE String Quartet will return to Coventry with A Meditation by Vilem Tausky next Friday, November 12.
The performance at 12.30pm in the recently reopened Drapers’ Hall will be part of the Leamington Music Autumn Season and the spa town’s contribution to Coventry’s UK City of Culture Year.
The programme includes Tausky and Mendelsohn’s Quartet in A minor Op 13.
The Jubilee String Quartet will also perform the two same works at 7.30pm at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington, along with Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ Quartet.
Czech conductor and composer Vilem Tausky came to Leamington in the autumn of 1940 with the Czech Free Army and went with a Czech Free Army ambulance into Coventry the day after the blitz which destroyed the cathedral on November 14.
He quickly wrote Coventry – A Meditation for string quartet as a response and it was premiered at the National Gallery in London by the Menges Quartet in the lunchtime series organised by Dame Myra Hess.
In November 2000 on the 60th anniversary of the destruction of Coventry cathedral, there was a performance of Coventry in Drapers’ Hall played by the Martinu String Quartet. The composer was present, as well as the bishops of Dresden and Coventry.
Jewish Vilem Tausky, born in Prerov in 1910, was lucky to be able to escape to Paris just before the Second World War broke out and many of his family perished in the holocaust.
He stayed in Britain after the war, married a teacher from Leamington and became particularly famous for conducting the broadcasts on the BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night.
He introduced many Czech operas into Britain and performed all of the symphonies of Martinu – most being UK premieres.