Pražské strunné duo (Prague String Duo), formed in 1970 by Czech brothers Saša and Vladimír Vectomov, was characterized by its unusual instrumentation. Their unique repertory was arranged for cello and guitar by their father, Ivan Večtomov, a composer and cellist himself. Saša has pointed out that a piano absorbs some of a cello's gentler shades of tone, which thus become superfluous; that the guitar can respond more sensitively than the harpsichord to the means of expression of solo cello; and that it can differentiate all tones and produce vibrato and glissando transitions. Moreover, the cello/guitar combination, he said, is more tender, more sensitive, and better integrated than any other, as the two instruments are also much alike in a technical respect. Pražské strunné duo not only introduced new audiences to the work of Henry Eccles and fellow Czech Leoš Janáček (e.g., Fairy Tale) but concertized prolifically with brilliance and charm.

Saša Večtomov (December 12, 1930 – December 29, 1989) was a major Czechoslovakian cellist and music pedagogue. Saša first studied piano and cello with his father, Ivan Večtomov (1902–1981), who was a soloist in the Czech Philharmonic, then at Prague Conservatory under the tutelage of his father, and later at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague alongside Mirko Škampa and Josef Chuchro under the tutelage of renowned cellist/pedagogue Ladislav Zelenka, followed by graduate studies at Moscow Conservatory alongside Mstislav Rostropovich under the tutelage of Semen Kozolupov until 1957, and master classes at Accademia Musicale Chigiana under the tutelage of French cellist André Navarra.

 

Vladimír Večtomov (February 2, 1946 – October 12, 2015) was a Czech classical guitarist. He studied at Prague Conservatory under the tutelage of Prof. Štěpán Urban, 1964–1968, and gave his first concert at the age of 17. He concluded his studies in Mexico with a concert at Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1973 he performed as a soloist in Bergen, Norway, with Slovak Chamber Orchestra. In 1974 he performed Bach's catalog in London to notable acclaim. From 1972 to 1976 he was a professor at Prague Conservatory.

 

In 1970, Saša and Vladimír formed Pražské strunné duo. The duo's many appearances outside Czechoslovakia—filling concert halls in the USSR, USA, Great Britain, Mexico, Norway, Portugal and many other countries—established them internationally. A salient feature was their focus on Iberian composers, whom they favored owing to the national character of the accompanying instrument and the fact that Vladimír had for years studied on a Mexican government scholarship under the tutelage of guitarist Prof. Manuel López Ramos in Mexico City.

 

In addition to old masters (Haydn, Eccles, Maria Theresia von Paradis), and modern and sometimes local ones (Granados, Janáček), the brothers performed music by contemporary composers including their father, Prof. Ivan Večtomov, who wrote all of their arrangements. According to Mexican journalist Isabel Farfán Cano, Janáček's Fairy Tale was a brilliant staple of the duo's concert programs. Further, writes Cano of a particular concert in 1976, "the harmony of both instruments in creating sound coloration and tones was complemented by technical security, gradual and protruding." Phonograph recordings appear on the SupraphonPanton, and Melodiya labels.