Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beethoven: Quartet No. 4 (Coolidge Quartet)

In an earlier post, I remarked that the Coolidge Quartet (in existence from 1936 to 1944) had begun about 1937 an ambitious project to record the Beethoven string quartets, which stopped short with the Second "Rasumovsky" (No. 8), in 1940.  They were released in order, which means that all the Opus 18 quartets, at least, did get recorded by the Coolidges, and here is one of those - a set that I was fortunate enough to find from an online dealer about a month ago, and at a quite reasonable price:

Beethoven: Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4
The Coolidge Quartet (Kroll-Berezowsky-Moldavan-Gottlieb)
Recorded October 24, 1939
Victor Musical Masterpiece set M-696, four ten-inch 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 55.48 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.95 MB)

The Coolidge Quartet made eighteen sets for Victor; here is a list of these in order of issue:

M-524 Hindemith: Quartet No. 3, Op. 22
M-543 Loeffler: Music for Four Stringed Instruments
M-550 Beethoven: Quartet No. 1 in F, Op. 18, No. 1
M-558 Griffes: Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes
M-622 Beethoven: Quartet No. 2 in G, Op. 18, No. 2
M-624 Nicolai Berezowsky: Quartet No. 1, Op. 16
M-641 Schubert: Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, Op. Posth.
M-650 Beethoven: Quartet No. 3 in D, Op. 18, No. 3
M-696 Beethoven: Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4
M-716 Beethoven: Quartet No. 5 in A, Op. 18, No. 5
M-719 Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge: Quartet in E Minor
M-723 Hummel: Quartet in G, Op. 30, No. 2
M-745 Beethoven: Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat, Op. 18, No. 6
M-752 Harris: Quintet for Piano and Strings (with Johana Harris)
M-782 Frederick Jacobi: Hagiographa (with Irene Jacobi, piano)
M-804 Beethoven: Quartet No. 7 in F, Op. 59, No. 1
M-891 Mason: Quartet in G Minor, on Negro Themes, Op. 19
M-919 Beethoven: Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2

All except the last two Beethoven sets had been deleted from the Victor catalogue by the end of the Second World War, and even those were dumped when the Paganini Quartet's series of all three Beethoven Op. 59 quartets appeared in 1948.

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