Sunday Gramophone - today it's the U.S. Premier of the second String Quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich as played by the NBC Symphony String Quartet (Mischa Mishakoff, Daniel Guilet, Carlton Cooley and Benar Heifetz) March 17, 1945
October 10, 2010

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Dmitri Shostakovich - the face of modern Russian music


Another cheat tonight. When I initially named this series of posts I had strictly 78's and early lp's in mind. But then I realized that would be giving short shrift to a large wall stuffed with cumbersome, heavy and fragile transcription discs which contained many one-of-a-kind performances and many premiers. They are all from the 1930's and 1940's so that would certainly entitle them to a place in the ancient artifacts category.

Such as tonight's post - the American premier of Dmitri Shostakovich's Second String Quartet - a work which was written less than a year prior to this performance and was receiving it's premier via a special NBC program on March 17, 1945.

The players are a rather stellar bunch of individuals, all culled from the NBC Symphony (hence their name The NBC Symphony String Quartet). Mischa Mischakoff, first violin, Daniel Guilet, second violin, Carlton Cooley, viola and Benar Heifetz, cello. Each of those musicians have a historic background and, as part of other performing groups, made some of the most remarkable contributions to the early recording medium. That they all wound up as part of the NBC Symphony gives you some idea the caliber of musician Toscanini had at his fingertips.

A memorable recording which, for some unexplained reason, has never been commercially available.

Well . . .now you have it.

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