Academic journal article ARSC Journal

West Hill Radio Associates

Academic journal article ARSC Journal

West Hill Radio Associates

Article excerpt

From West Hill Radio Associates, the Canadian division of Music & Arts, we have an important box set of early recordings of the Juilliard String Quartet, recorded by Columbia 1949-1952, The Juilliard String Quartet Plays Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg and Webern (WHRA-6040, 6 CDs priced as 3). These recordings contributed in large measure to the quartet's staking out their reputation as experts in 20th Century repertoire. This set presents Bartok's Six String Quartets recorded March-August, 1949, the four Schonberg String Quartets, recorded in 1951-1952, Berg's Lyric Suite and String Quartet, Op. 3, recorded 1950 and 1952, respectively, and Webern's Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5. recorded 1952. The fine restorations are by Lani Spahr (Bartok) and Philippe Devereux (remainder), with notes taken from Wikipedia. The quartet was created at The Juilliard School in 1946 to be the resident quartet and to teach, by Juilliard's President, the American composer William Schuman, and first violinist Robert Mann. Joining were Robert Koff, second violin, Raphael Hillyer to play viola and Arthur Winograd, cello, and through various personnel changes the quartet has remained in residence in Juilliard ever since. The original line-up remained until 1955, so all of these recordings are by the original group. Amazingly, Robert Mann persisted as first violinist for fifty-one years, not retiring until 1997.

Heard from the vantage point of seventy years later, these recordings do not seem to be "for the ages" but rather a definite artifact of their own time, a time of short crewcuts, mid-Century cold-war modernism, and construction featuring the hardness of glass and steel. …

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