Monday, April 4, 2016

Ortenberg, Foss and the Budapest Quartet

Cover design by Alex Steinweiss
For a dozen years, beginning in 1932, one half of the famed Budapest String Quartet consisted of the Schneider brothers - Alexander as second violinist and Mischa as cellist.  Then in 1944, Alexander decided to strike out on his own with other projects (for example, a fruitful partnership with harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick), and he was replaced in the Quartet by the Odessa-born Edgar Ortenberg (1900-1996).  One of the first recording projects with Ortenberg, and in fact the first Budapest Quartet recording with him to be released, was this Mozart quintet with another frequent Budapest collaborator, Milton Katims (1909-2006):

Mozart: String Quintet in C Major, K. 515
Budapest String Quartet (Roisman-Ortenberg-Kroyt-Schneider)
with Milton Katims, second viola
Recorded February 6 and April 23, 1945
Columbia Masterworks MM-586, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 80.06 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 54.29 MB)

At about the same time, Ortenberg made his only American recording as a violin soloist, this first recording of a Hindemith violin sonata:

Hindemith: Sonata in E (1935) and
Foss: Dedication (1944)
Edgar Ortenberg, violin; Lukas Foss, piano
Issued May, 1944
Hargail set MW-300, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 43.73 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 27.12 MB)

This would also appear to be Lukas Foss' first appearance on record as either pianist or composer.  He was in his early 20s at the time.


  1. Alternate links:

    Mozart -


    Hindemith/Foss -


  2. Very interesting (as in fact all your posts) - thanks again!

  3. Thank you so, so much - what a coincidence, I've just been trying to disentangle the disco data for the Hargail set, based on an auction listing, but I didn't dream I'd get to hear it! Look forward to listening to all of these uploads. So generous of you, as always! Best wishes, Nick