Friday, August 12, 2016

The Coolidge Quartet Completed (III)

Daniel Gregory Mason
The third and final installment of my Coolidge Quartet series is here, meaning you can now hear every one of their published Victor recordings through my uploads. All of their sets are fairly rare, but these two may be the rarest, so I have saved them for last. These two sets also share another, rather more unfortunate distinction: there are cuts in both major works presented. In the Hummel work, only the slow movement is affected, but in the work by Massachusetts-born Daniel Gregory Mason (1873-1953), all the movements are cut, the last one most seriously. Had the cuts not been taken, however, it would not have been possible to include the filler side, a quartet movement by Virginia native Mary Howe (née Carlisle, 1882-1964):

Daniel Gregory Mason: Quartet in G Minor, Op. 19 (On Negro Themes) and
Mary Howe: Allegro inevitabile
The Coolidge Quartet (Kroll-Pepper-Moldavan-Gottlieb)
Recorded September 27, 1940
Victor Musical Masterpiece set DM-891, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 70.47 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 47.45 MB)

Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 2
The Coolidge Quartet (Kroll-Berezowsky-Moldavan-Gottlieb)
Recorded March 24, 1939
Victor Musical Masterpiece set M-723, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 45.80 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 33.09 MB)

I had never heard the Hummel quartet before acquiring this set; it is charming, and its finale is particularly fun. Certain passages suggest that Hummel was familiar with Bach's "Goldberg" Variations.


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  2. Yippee! Thanks so much. This has been an extraordinary odyssey - you are our hero! Very odd, though, that they should have *cut* Mason's Quartet to make space for a filler. Do you know if the Quartet was close to Howe to in some way? Best wishes and again many thanks, Nick

    1. Aha, I've just read your interesting note - so it might have been Mason giving Howe a leg-up. Touching, if true. Thanks again, Nick

    2. Hi Nick, Mrs. Howe seems to have been very influential in the musical life of Washington, D.C., and the Coolidge Quartet was founded to give concerts at the Library of Congress there, so I would expect that there was some connection. Indeed Berezowsky's papers, at Columbia University, include three years' worth of correspondence (1937-1940) with Mrs. Howe, according to Columbia's online catalogue at Best wishes, Bryan

    3. Thank you, Bryan! If I had time and life enough for another PhD... All the best, Nick

  3. Thank you for making this available. I've been trying to get Naxos records interested in recording his music for some time now. No luck so far, but fingers crossed.

  4. Thank you for seeking out and giving us all of these Coolidge Quartet recordings.