Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beethoven: Piano Quartet

I realize that I have been neglecting chamber music lately, so for my first post of the new year I offer this recording of Beethoven's Piano Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 16 (the one that's arranged from a Quintet for piano and woodwinds).  It features the French pianist E. Robert Schmitz (1889-1949), better known as a Debussy specialist, with Feri Roth, Ferenc Molnar and Janos Scholz of the Roth String Quartet.  This was from the group's pre-1940 lineup; about that time, Roth reorganized the ensemble with three completely different players.  Both groups recorded extensively for Columbia from about 1934-42 and their discography includes works by Dohnányi, Roy Harris, and Roussel in additional to more standard Classical repertoire.  Six works played by them are available on the CHARM website; if you haven't explored this site's available sound files, you really owe it to yourself to do so - only, do so when you have plenty of time to spare!  Among the files there is the filler to this set, a Haydn minuet (from Op. 76, No. 5), which I didn't include in this download since my copy has a fairly noticeable lamination crack that would require a lot of work to tame.  Just search on "LX610" (the British issue of this filler) in the "Free text search" and it should come up.  Anyway, here are the details for my Beethoven download:

Beethoven: Piano Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 16
E. Robert Schmitz (piano) with members of the Roth String Quartet
Recorded May 20, 1938
Columbia Masterworks Set 348, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 55.69 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 23.87 MB)


  1. Thanks a lot, Bryan! And my best wishes for 2011.
    Greetz, Satyr

  2. Yes, thank you, for this and everthing else you've so generously shared, and all the best in this new year! Nick

  3. Bryan,

    I'm not familiar with Schmitz so I look forward to making a new acquaintance!



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  5. Hi Brian - as always a pleasure.
    BTW - set is 348 not 346...

  6. Satyr, Nick - thanks as always for the kind words, and have a Happy New Year, too!

    Fred - Schmitz was pitifully under-represented on records, so it's no wonder you're not familiar with him. A handful of Edison Diamond Discs, two sets with the Roth Quartet on Columbia (the other was the Franck Quintet), and two sets of Debussy Preludes on Victor is about all we have. He died just as the LP era was beginning.

    S. West - You're right, 346 is the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata with Feuermann. I was operating on only 3 hours' sleep when I typed this entry!

  7. Thanks, as always, for the post.

    Very fine playing - the Roth SQ ranks up there with the best. Schmitz fits right in with his fine, sensitive playing. Listened to the Haydn Op. 20 #5 and listening to the Beethoven right now - fantastic!

    Wonder why you can download recordings from CHARM and not the Library of Congress Ntl "Jukebox" (another reason to be ashamed to be from the US these days)?

    A belated Happy Halloween - celebrate the bit of pagan in all of us.

  8. Many thanks, Bryan. I finally got round to this today! I have some recordings of the Roth Quartet, a fine ensemble.

    Best wishes,