Monday, February 8, 2016

Two "Firsts" from the Coolidge Quartet

Nicolai Berezowsky
With these two sets, I am now about two-thirds of the way through completing what Nick, of Grumpy's Classics Cave, has quaintly called my "heroic quest" - my effort to possess a complete run of the Coolidge Quartet's recordings of 1938-40. (Every time I hear the word "quest" I, perhaps inevitably, think of Don Quixote - thanks to that little ditty by Mitch Leigh, "The Impossible Dream.") Today's installment contains something I am quite thrilled to be able to offer, a work by the Coolidges' own second violinist, Nicolai Berezowsky (1900-1953):

Berezowsky: Quartet No. 1, Op. 16
The Coolidge Quartet (Kroll-Berezowsky-Moldavan-Gottlieb)
Recorded May 31, 1938
Victor Musical Masterpiece set DM-624, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 46.71 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 33.06 MB)

This piece, published in 1931, is hardly profound but is highly enjoyable, its four movements squarely in the neo-classical tradition with strong echoes of Stravinsky and Hindemith. Berezowsky enjoyed a certain amount of success as a composer during his lifetime, with four symphonies and several concertos to his credit. (His Fourth Symphony can be heard here on YouTube.) Sadly, he committed suicide at the age of 53, and his work has since fallen into oblivion.

The other item today is the first installment of the Coolidges' ill-fated Beethoven cycle:

Beethoven: Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18, No. 1
The Coolidge Quartet (Kroll-Berezowsky-Moldavan-Gottlieb)
Recorded March 17, 1939
Victor Musical Masterpiece set AM-550, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 60.00 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 43.33 MB)

Both downloads contain PDF files of the original program booklets, that of the Berezowsky offering his own analysis of his quartet.


  1. Alternate links:





  2. I retract not a word - you are heroic, and heroically generous! Thank you so much for this. We can now hear all commercial 78s of poor Berezowsky's work (I didn't know he'd ended his own life): two movements from the Suite for Woodwinds Op.11, issued by New Music Quarterly Recordings, are in Symposium's survey (, which I can highly recommend. All the very best, as ever, G

    1. Hi Nick, naturally I am delighted that you think so, but Stern Modesty (a close relative to Gilbert & Sullivan's Stern Duty) requires that I couch this delight in such flippant terms as above! Thanks for the Symposium tip; I've sent off for it. I wasn't aware of Berezowsky's suicide myself until I saw it here:

    2. Great, I hope you enjoy the Symposium disc. Symposium got a couple of the items mixed up - I must dig out my correction for you. Thanks for that other link, too - useful site, I only came across it recently. All the best, Nick

  3. @Bryan:
    Thanks a lot for all your treasures!

    There is also a recording of his 4th symphony on YouTube ( I would really like to hear a recording of his violin concerto.

  4. Danke schön für diesen exzellenten Beitrag!