(Bohuslav Martinu - put Czech music into the 20th century)
I've always been a big fan of the music of Bohuslav Martinu, ever since my teenage years when Manny Aron (of Aron's Records in L.A.) turned me on to an lp of his Sinfonietta Giocosa (coming up in the next few weeks). Although in the 60s Martinu was still largely obscure in the U.S., his reputation has grown steadily to the point where he is now pretty much acknowledged as one of the real beacons of 20th century Czech music.
So I thought today I'd post one of his earlier works, his String Quartet Number 2, composed in 1925. This recording, an Ultraphon set of 78s recorded in 1947 (or 1948, I don't have the exact date) is, I think the first recording made of this work. It features the String Quartet of The National Theatre of Prague. I am pretty certain this hasn't seen the light of reissue anywhere, but there are several more recent recordings if you want something without the age factor attached.
Some people just aren't crazy about 78s.