Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The London String Quartet in America

From the 1924 American Columbia catalogue
The London String Quartet, founded in 1908, first came to the USA twelve years later, and, in the words of Tully Potter, "the Americas were the LSQ's Nirvana." They found great success here, so much so that its members eventually settled here. In Britain the ensemble had begun a series of recordings for Columbia in 1914, which included a number of first recordings of "complete" quartets by Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann (complete in the sense that entire works were recorded, but with some movements abridged to fit one side). None of these sets had been issued in the USA at the time of their first tours here, so the American record buyer's introduction to the ensemble was through this disc:

Bridge: Two Old English Songs (1916)
(Sally in Our Alley; Cherry Ripe)
The London String Quartet (Levey-Petre-Warner-Evans)
Recorded March 13, 1922
Columbia A-3677, one 10-inch 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC files, 18.03 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 9.85 MB)

During the spring of 1922 and the fall of 1923, the London String Quartet made a series of recordings in New York's Columbia studios, quite separate from their British series (which had, in any case, by this time been taking place for Vocalion). This produced twelve issued sides, mostly of isolated movements from the string quartet repertory. (No complete quartets for the Americans - yet! That would have to wait for the Masterworks series two years later.) Of these, this Bridge coupling is one of the most valuable, for the arrangements were actually given their concert première by the LSQ in 1916, with Bridge himself taking the viola part.

My thanks to Nick Morgan, not only for spotting this record, but for sending it to me.


  1. Alternate links:



  2. Lovely! Thank you for your hard work and wonderful documentation! All the best, Nick

  3. thank you, very nice. and seriously well documented as always. -a.v.