Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Budapest Quartet Play Dvořák

A string quartet with a Hungarian name, consisting of four Russians playing the music of a Czech composed in America - what could be more international than that?  Here is the great Budapest String Quartet with its classic lineup of Joseph Roisman and Alexander Schneider (violins), Boris Kroyt (viola) and Mischa Schneider (cello), pictured above in that order in 1940.  Here they play Dvořák's "American" Quartet in a 1940 recording, one of their last for RCA Victor before they jumped ship and moved to Columbia where they remained for the rest of their career (until 1967; in all fairness, Columbia promoted the ensemble far more extensively than RCA ever did).  This was once available on a Biddulph CD but this is now long out-of-print.  Here's a nice Frank Decker cover from my copy of the 78 set, one of the most attractive of the generic designs RCA used for its album covers in the late 1940s:

Dvořák: Quartet No. 12 (old No. 6) in F, Op. 96 ("American")
Budapest String Quartet
Recorded February 2, 1940
RCA Victor set DM-681, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 58.47 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.45 MB)

Back in 2008, I transferred another great Dvořák recording by the Budapest Quartet with assisting artists, of the String Sextet; this is still available, and I have just made new FLAC files of this recording as well:

Dvořák: Sextet in A, Op. 48
Budapest String Quartet with Watson Forbes (viola) and John Moore (cello)
Recorded May 31, 1938
Victor Musical Masterpiece set M-661, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 73.44 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 36.17 MB)


  1. Bryan,

    Thanks so much for these marvelous performances. The sextet is particularly welcome, since there have been comparatively few recordings. Your transfers are excellent as well. I have enjoyed many of your uploads, and can't thank you enough.


  2. Thanks so much. I have a much later stereo recording of the Budapest doing the American Qt., coupled with the Quntet in E-flat. It's exciting to find this earlier qt. performance for download.

  3. Beautiful recordings! The quartet is stunning, and though I'm not the biggest fan of the piece I'm completely swept away by this playing. Thank you so much.

  4. Thank you very much for these fine recordings.