Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hurrah for job lots!

Recently, I took a punt on a job lot of 78s on eBay... result!

Busoni String Quartet in C Op.19 - (ii) Andante
Mozart String Quartet in G K.387 - (iv) Molto allegro
Odeon O-6273, rec. 10 November 1924
Roth Quartet
(Feri Roth, Mauritz Stromfeld, Herman Spitz, A. Franke)

The seller had been kind enough to list all 150+ discs (other sellers, please note, you lazy so-and-sos!) - but not always with enough detail to be quite sure exactly what they contained. I feared this might be from the Roth Quartet's incomplete recording of Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet D.810, issued in Britain on Parlophone (E 10767-68) and transferred by CHARM (their only other British issue, not on CHARM, was E 10656, a snippet of Debussy's Quartet).

Yippee, it wasn't! Instead, I found this interesting acoustical rarity, in an original sleeve, as many in the job lot were: and it contains what must be one of the earliest recordings of a work of chamber music by Busoni - anyone know of an earlier one? What's more, this coupling is not listed in Hansfried Sieben's Odeon Matrizen-nummern der Serie xxB (30 cm) von 6815-9598, (1923-1953) (Düsseldorf, 1988). On the other hand, Sieben does list the players, by surnames only; I've been able to get first names for all but the ’cellist.

My fellow-collector Jolyon Hodson has kindly made this transfer (I haven't the right kit, at the mo) and the scans. By my reckoning, this is only the third ever recording of the Finale of Mozart's K.387 (the first was by the Flonzaley for Victor and the second by the Léner for Columbia) - and it goes at a heck of a lick!

Download the 2 mono FLAC files, fully tagged, in a .rar file from here.

Some ten months later, the Roth recorded the Menuetto of K.387 (xxB 7237, face no. unknown, issued on O-80283). If anyone has that, we'd love to hear it.

I must say I'm chuffed to bits with my job lot bonanza and I hope to be able to post more goodies from it soon. I have some German Parlophons and even rare Homochords (Robert Pollak, Fery Lorant - yes!).

I wish I had more Odeons like this, though. They recorded a lot of chamber music, including some twelve discs with the Roth Quartet. (By the way, why is seemingly no one in Germany posting stuff like this on the web? Is anyone collecting these discs?)

Odeon even recorded a disc of ‘Old English Dances from Shakespeare’s Time’, with the Munich Viol Quintet! That would make Grumpy exceedingly happy...


Jolyon has found a notice, in The Musical Times of November 1924, of a 'very animated performance' of Busoni's Op.19 by the Roth Quartet, 'very well received', at a Busoni commemoration organized by his pupil Edward Weiss - of course, silly me, I'd forgotten Busoni had just died (27 July 1924)!


  1. Wow, Nick, a real find! I didn't even know Busoni wrote a string quartet. Downloading now...

  2. Holy shit! I can't wait to hear the Busoni.
    (ps see my other later Roth quartet contributions featuring Janos Starker)

  3. (pps.... and also my post of Edward Weiss with Richard Burgin playing Busoni's violin and piano works:

    and ppps - your blog is terrific! thanks for all the contributions!

  4. Thank you both for your far richer & better blogs! And thanks to Jolyon for his hard work. Grumps

  5. Thank you for these tidbids. The Busoni is good, the Mozart fantastic, what playing! Certainly wish both were complete. Sad to say, I have no K387 Menuetto. I have several items from the '30s garnered here and there.