Busch String Quartet. American Columbia recordings & EMI Brahms

For the most part, I’ve not featured recordings on this blog that have seen wide circulation, but there are few items in the discography of Adolf Busch or the Busch Quartet that are rarities. So, I may be stepping on the toes of some currently available issues by this post. I have used various Lp copies, including some really first rate Japanese Sony issues. I can’t claim to know the quality of all of the numerous issues, but Sony has generally been indifferent to the Busch legacy on cd. At first, I was not going to include the Beethoven Op. 59, No. 1 Quartet here, but the Sony Masterworks Portrait cd issue I have is disfigured by added echo which, thankfully is not present on this Japanese Lp issue (the Op. 130 is better on that cd, and is superior to a poor German lp transfer from the 70s that I own). The Brahms Quartets and Mendelssohn Capriccio are EMI recordings, but the Op. 67 Brahms is actually from a Japanese Sony Lp. I’m not sure how they ended up with rights to it. I’d love to hear from anyone who feels that some other issue sounds better than what I offer here. I have at least 4 more cds worth on the way, including a 1951 Vermont Beethoven 10th Sonata with Busch and Serkin that has not been issued outside of Japan and also a handful of acoustic recordings by Adolf Busch.

CD 1:

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 7 in F major, op. 59, no. 1
Columbia M-543, ML-4155
Recorded May 15, 1942
New York, Liederkranz Hall
Busch String Quartet
Adolf Busch, Gösta Andreasson, Violins
Paul Doktor, Viola
Hermann Busch, Cello


Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, op. 51, no. 2
Columbia LX1022/5 (matr. CAX 9871/8)
Recorded June 19, 1947
Busch String Quartet
Adolf Busch, Ernest Drucker, Violins
Hugo Gottesmann, Viola
Hermann Busch, Cello

Mendelssohn: Capriccio in E minor
Columbia LX1311 (matr. CAX 10509/10)
Recorded May 17, 1949
London, EMI Studio No. 3, Abbey Road
Busch String Quartet
Adolf Busch, Bruno Straumann, Violins
Hugo Gottesmann, Viola
Hermann Busch, Cello

CD 2:

Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 B-flat major, op. 67
Columbia LX1262/6 (matr. CAX 10511/9)
Recorded May 17 & 21, 1949
London, EMI Studio No. 3, Abbey Road
Busch String Quartet
Adolf Busch, Bruno Straumann, Violins
Hugo Gottesmann, Viola
Hermann Busch, Cello


Dvořák: String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 51
Columbia M-480
Recorded June 3, 1941
New York, Liederkranz Hall

Haydn: Menuetto in D Minor from Quartet, Op. 103
Columbia M-543 (filler to set)
Recorded May 25, 1942
New York, Liederkranz Hall

Busch String Quartet (Dvořák & Haydn)
Adolf Busch, Gösta Andreasson, Violins
Paul Doktor, Viola
Hermann Busch, Cello


CD 3:

Beethoven: Piano Trio No. 4 in D major, op. 70, no. 1 ‘Ghost’
Columbia MM-804, ML-4128
Adolf Busch, violin, Hermann Busch, cello, Rudolf Serkin, piano Recorded December 15, 1947
New York, Liederkranz Hall

Brahms: Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, op. 87
Adolf Busch, violin, Hermann Busch, cello, Rudolf Serkin, piano
Recorded October 10, 1951
Brattleboro, Vermont, Music Shed
Odyssey 32-16-0361

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, op. 44
Columbia M-533, ML-2081
Recorded May 22, 1942
New York, Liederkranz Hall
Busch String Quartet
Rudolf Serkin, piano

This entry was posted in Adolf Busch, Busch Quartet, Chamber, Rudolf Serkin. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Busch String Quartet. American Columbia recordings & EMI Brahms

  1. Chris Saunders (krokelva) says:

    Highly appreciated, Neal! 🙂

  2. Alexandre says:

    Thank you so much for this share:)

  3. Peter says:

    Thank you for these gems. Finding a reasonably-priced issue of either the Busch or Alban Berg Quartet performing the Late String Quartets has been near-impossible. I’ve heard many a great thing about both of these issued under EMI’s “Great Recordings of the Century,” both of which are hard to get and not available anywhere online. Strangely, the neither the Budapest nor Hungarian Quartet’s masterful readings of the Late String Quartets are online nor widely available either. I wonder if you’d ever be interested in posting any of these. I’d love to own (as my grandfather once did) the first Budapest reading (1940s mono recordings). From all I’ve heard, the EMI issues of both the Busch and Berg as previously mentioned are of the highest possible quality. To me, the Busch, Budapest, Berg, and Takacs are all one needs for these quartets. Anyway, thanks for this and reading! All the best, Neal.

  4. Mary Jane Doerr says:

    I grew up listening to Hugo Gottesmann and I have never been able to adjust to other groups. He was incredible as a musician, the way he attacked the music. You were captivated immediately.

  5. Mary Jane Doerr says:

    I share these reviewers opinions. I grew up listening to Hugo Gottesmann and am now fully appreciating my experience. He was a great musician whose accomplishments in Vienna have not been fully realized because of the Nazi invasion, the necessity for Hugo to leave, and the lack of available records from that city. Thank you for issuing these recordings. Mary

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