Amar Quartet

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Amar Quartet (1922)
f.l.t.r.: Maurits Frank, Licco Amar, Walter Caspar and Paul Hindemith

The Amar Quartet, also known as the Amar-Hindemith Quartet, was a musical ensemble founded by the composer Paul Hindemith in 1921 in Germany, and was extremely active in both classical and modern repertoire until being disbanded in 1929. It made several recordings and many broadcasts.

A string quartet founded in 1987 by the sisters Anna Brunner and Maja Weber adopted the same name in 1995 in tribute to Hindemith and is increasingly active at the present time. It plays on four Stradivarius instruments. See external links.

Personnel[edit]

1st violin

2nd violin

viola

  • Paul Hindemith (1921-1929)

violoncello

Origins[edit]

From c1914 Paul Hindemith, a graduate of Hoch Conservatory at Frankfort-am-Main, had taken the second violin desk in the Rebner Quartet of Frankfort, led by his violin teacher Adolf Rebner. He continued to play in quartets during the war while in military service, and after the war took up the viola and asked to be moved to that desk. He had written string quartets in 1915 (op 2) and 1918 (op 10), and in 1920 produced another (op 16) which was accepted for performance in the new 1921 Donaueschingen Festival. However Gustav Havemann, leader of the Havemann Quartet engaged for it, refused to perform the work, and therefore Hindemith was obliged to form a group to give his own premiere. He chose his younger brother Rudolf (dedicatee of the work) as cellist, and recruited Licco Amar, a Budapest Conservatory graduate and 1915-1920 concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and then of Mannheim Nationaltheater, as first violin and Walter Caspar as second.

The performance was duly given, and in 1922 the Quartet became permanent and began giving recitals, specialising in modern music, and was soon extremely busy. Rudolf Hindemith, who found working under his brother's authority irksome, left and was replaced, but returned for a period during which the quartet's recordings were made and the London (BBC sponsored) debut was given (December 1926). Soon afterwards he left again permanently. The group was disbanded in 1929.

Recordings[edit]

The Amar Quartet made recordings for the Polydor Records label, including the following:

  • Beethoven: Quartet in F minor op 95 'Serious' (Polydor)
  • Mozart: Quartet in E flat major K 428 (Polydor)
  • Bartók: Quartet no 2 (Polydor 66425-8)

(These three items above are reissued on CD as Arbiter 139.)

  • Hindemith: Quartet no 3 op 22 (atonal) (Polydor 66422-4) (deleted by 1936).
  • Hindemith: String Trio no 1 op 34, 1st & 3rd movts. (Amar-Hindemith Trio) (Polydor 66573-4). (deleted by 1936)
  • Mozart: Quartet in D minor K 421, 2nd & 3rd movts. (Polydor 9351).
  • Mozart: Quartet in F major. (Polydor 66416-8).

Sources[edit]

  • A. Eaglefield-Hull, A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians (Dent, London 1924).
  • R.D. Darrell, The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (New York 1936).
  • T. Potter, Amar Quartet recordings re-issue (Arbiter Records 139), sleevenotes.

See also[edit]