|The Primrose Quartet|
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor ("From My Life")
Primrose Quartet (Shumsky-Gingold-Primrose-Shapiro)
Recorded February 6 and 15, 1940
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set DM-675, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 65.83 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 37.15 MB)
This was the first-issued of the Primrose Quartet sets, and how fitting that it should have been of this work, with its opening theme on the viola, gloriously played by the ensemble's namesake!
The Primrose Quartet also recorded Brahms' Third Quartet and Mozart's K. 387, but these were not approved for issue. The three issued recordings, plus the Brahms, were reissued by Biddulph about twenty years ago, but this is long out-of-print, and commands hefty prices when it does appear.
My friend and fellow record-collector, David Hoehl, who provided me with this Smetana set and with the Bloch Suite for Viola with Primrose that I uploaded earlier, calls my attention to this bit about Fritz Kitzinger, the accompanist on the Bloch Suite, as found in the fifth edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1958):
"Kitzinger, Fritz, pianist and conductor; b. Munich, Jan. 27, 1904; d. New York, May 23, 1947. He studied at the Munich Cons. and the Univ. of Munich, graduating in 1924; conductor of the Dortmund Opera 1925-27), Berlin State Opera (1927-30), and Chemnitz Opera (1930); toured China and Japan as a symphonic conductor. In 1934 he came to the U.S. and subsequently settled in N.Y."