Griller Quartet

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The Griller String Quartet was a British musical ensemble particularly active from 1931 to c.1961 or 1963, when it was disbanded.[1] The quartet was in residence at the University of California at Berkeley from 1949 to 1961.[2] It performed a wide repertory, including works written for it by Bloch, Milhaud and Bax.

Personnel[edit]

The personnel included:

1st violin: Sidney Griller
2nd violin:Jack O'Brian
viola: Philip Burton
violoncello: Colin Hampton

Origins[edit]

Among the Quartet's first recordings was that of the oboe quintet written by Elizabeth Maconchy (a pupil of Ralph Vaughan Williams), a work which was a prize winner in the London Daily Telegraph Chamber Music Competition of 1933. They performed at Gloucester Cathedral in the Three Choirs Festival in September 1934.[3] The Quartet gave the premiere of the Arnold Cooke first string quartet in 1935. In 1944 they performed the Arnold Bax quartet no 1 in G major at the Duke's Hall in a special concert with Clifford Curzon, on behalf of Sir Henry J. Wood.[4] In performance they were sometimes joined by William Primrose, Max Gilbert or Denis Matthews.

Recordings[edit]

The Griller Quartet recorded extensively for Decca Records in the later 78rpm and early LP era. Some examples of their recorded art are as follows:

  • Beethoven: Quartet op 95 in F minor. (Decca lx 3026 and (78) AK 2185-7). (Before 1950)
  • Beethoven: Quartet op 132 in A minor. (Decca LP LXT 2573). (Before 1953)
  • Bliss: Quartet no 2 in F minor (1950). (Decca lx 3038). (Before 1953)
  • Bliss: Quintet for clarinet and strings, with Frederick Thurston. (Decca K 780-3). (1935)
  • Bloch: Quartets no 1,2,3,4. (Decca LP LXT 5071, 5072, 5073). (EMG review Dec 1955)
  • Dvořák: Quartet no 6 in F major op 96. (Decca LP LXT 2530). (Before 1950)
  • Haydn: The Seven Last Words from the Cross (with Max Gilbert). (Decca 78rpm, 17 sides, AK 2139-2147). (Before 1950)
  • Haydn: Quartet op 3 no 5 in F major. (Decca LX 3087). (Before 1953)
  • Haydn: Quartets op. 74 nos. 1-3 (recorded at Hertz Hall, Berkeley) (LP VSD-2033, 2034-B, and as Vanguard/Bach Guild HM-42 SD).
  • Maconchy: Quintet for oboe and strings, with Helen Gaskel (HMV 78rpm, B 4448-9). (Before 1936)
  • Mozart: Quartet in B flat major K 159. (Decca lx 3087). (Before 1953)
  • Mozart: Quartet in C major K 465. (Decca 78rpm, 7 sides, AK 2049-2052). (Before 1950)
  • Mozart: Quintet in G minor K 516 (with Max Gilbert). (Decca LP LXT 2515 & 78rpm AX 343-346). (15-16 Nov 1948, West Hampstead Studios)
  • Mozart: Quintet in C minor K 406 (with William Primrose). (Top Rank LP XRK 504/ Fontana BIG 430-Y/ Vanguard/Bach Guild HM-29 SD). (EMG review June 1959)
  • Mozart: Quintet in G minor K 516 (with William Primrose). (Top Rank LP XRK 504/ Fontana BIG 430-Y/ Vanguard/Bach Guild HM-29 SD). (EMG review June 1959)
  • Mozart: Quartet in d minor K.421
  • Mozart: Quartet in F major K 168. (Decca LP LXT 2728). (Before 1953)
  • Mozart: Quartet in B flat major K 458 'Hunt'. (Decca LP LXT 2728). (Before 1953)
  • Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in C minor K 546. (Decca LP LXT 2530). (Before 1953)
  • Purcell: Four-part fantasia no 3 (arr Warlock). (Decca 78rpm, 1 side, AK 2049-52 side filler). (Before 1950)
  • Rubbra: Quartet no 2 E flat major op 73. (Decca lx 3088). (Before 1953)
  • Sibelius: Quartet in D minor op 56, 'Voces intimae'. (Decca LP LXT 2575). (Before 1953)

For a virtually complete list, see DECCA CLASSICAL, 1929-2009.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Christopher Rowland, Obituary - Sidney Aaron Griller, The Independent 23 Nov 1993.
  2. ^ See article by John Whiting The Griller String Quartet - E Quatribus Unum. See also Nicholas P. Lafkas, 'Quartet in Residence' (1950).
  3. ^ Concert handbills, see Cyril Eland Collection: Provincial venues 2
  4. ^ R. Pound, Sir Heny Wood, A Biography (Cassell, London 1969), 314.
  • Decca Supplementary catalogue of 78rpm and 33rpm Long-playing Records April 1949 to September, 1950 (London 1950).
  • E. Sackville-West and D. Shawe-Taylor, The Record Year 2 (Collins, London 1953).
  • E.M.G., The Art of Record Buying 1960 (London 1960).
  • Fontana BIG 430-Y, sleevenotes (for list of personnel).
  • Nicholas P. Lafkas, 'Quartet In Residence', California Monthly LXI, No. 3, (November 1950), pp. 22–23, 43-44.