Aeolian String Quartet
Aeolian String Quartet
At about that time the new name was adopted. Both Watson Forbes and John Moore, the violist and cellist, had been members of the Stratton Quartet. The Aeolian Quartet leader was Alfred Cave, for recordings made before 1953 of Peter Warlock's The Curlew with Leon Goossens and tenor René Soames and Purcell Fantasias which they recorded with future member Emanuel Hurwitz. It was, however, under the leadership of Sydney Humphreys that the 1950s formation of the ensemble was particularly remembered. Humphreys, a Canadian violinist, studied in Vancouver and Toronto and in Europe trained with Frederick Grinke and Georges Enesco.
He was leader of the Aeolian Quartet from 1952-1970. He was eminent both as a concertmaster and as a chamber player, notably in the St Cecilia Trio 1954-1965 and as first violin in the Purcell String Quartet 1979-1987. Emanuel Hurwitz (leader) won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in a contest adjudicated by Bronislaw Huberman. In 1937 he was a member of the Scottish National Orchestra under Georg Szell, and in 1938 joined the London Philharmonic under Thomas Beecham. After the war he formed the Hurwitz string quartet, and led the small orchestra in the Glyndebourne premiere of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia.
He was sub-leader of the Boyd Neel orchestra under Maurice Clare, and during the 1950s and 1960s leader of the Melos Ensemble and of the English Chamber Orchestra, which he led to international recognition. In 1965 won the Worshipful Company of Musicians' Gold Medal for services to chamber music. He was guest leader for two seasons of the New Philharmonia Orchestra working with Carlo Maria Giulini and Otto Klemperer. He became leader of the Aeolian Quartet in 1970. Raymond Keenlyside was also a leader of the Boyd Neel and English Chamber Orchestras.
He studied at the Trinity College of Music, London, and later taught and became a professor there. he was professionally associated with string quartet playing from his college days. Margaret Major studied at the Royal College of Music and won the Lionel Tertis Viola Competition there. She then won the IMA concert award, leading to concerts in London, Paris and Geneva.
From 1956-1960 she was principal viola for the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and then returned as principal viola of the Philo-musica of London. She was a noted soloist, and became the third wife of the cellist Derek Simpson. She became Professor at the Royal College of Music. Derek Simpson was first holder of the Suggia Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, and continued his studies in Paris.
Returning to England he won the Queen's Prize and the Moulton-Meyer Award and soon afterwards made his debut in London recital. He was Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Activities Between 1966 and 1973 the Quartet toured Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia. By 1973 they had completed 33 concerts in Central and South America and the Caribbean, including a performance of Haydn Quartets at the Colon in Buenos Aires. their schedule also included Amsterdam and Brussels, and the Far East.
In 1973-4 they were making tours of Spain, the middle East and Belgium, with other recitals in Italy and Portugal. There were important appearances at the Edinburgh Festival in 1970 and 1972. In 1977 they planned to tour Australia and New Zealand with Kenneth Essex (viola), with whom they recorded Mozart's viola quintets. They held an international summer school in northern Italy, and established a similar course for chamber music players at the 1976 York Festival. During the early 1970s they maintained a busy schedule in the UK, including appearances at Universities for concerts or master-classes.
They were awarded Honorary Degrees at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1970, and were also connected with the University of Reading and the University of East Anglia. They gave regular broadcasts on the BBC. In 1973-1976 they were engaged on a recording project for Argo Records (UK) (a limb of Decca), to record the complete Haydn quartets using a new edition by H.C. Robbins Landon.
This was the first fully complete recording. The Quartet broke new ground with a televised performance of all Beethoven's Late Quartets for BBC 2 Television channel, broadcast on five consecutive nights in March 1975, and afterwards repeated in other countries. Recordings The Quartet in its earlier manifestation, with Humphreys, Keenlyside, Forbes and Simpson, sometimes appears on vinyl under a 'Revolution Records' label (a form of the Delta Records label, made and distributed by RCA, not to be confused with the 1996 label of that name), as for instance in a recording of the Elgar piano quintet with Leonard Cassini, Revolution LP RCB.8. Since the Aeolian Quartet's predecessor the Stratton Quartet had made the 1933 recording of the Elgar quintet, this Aeolian version (through the continuity in the group of Watson Forbes) has the authority of a tradition going back to the composer. The Quartet made many recordings, but is especially noted for the complete Haydn cycle. This included the dubious op 3 series, and an account of the Seven Last Words From The Cross with poetic readings by Peter Pears (the Hurwitz-Keenlyside-Major-Simpson version, replacing a well-known Humphreys-Keenlyside-Forbes-Simpson version of the same work). In the Schubert C major quintet D956 (c1966) their collaborator is Bruno Schrecker.
In recordings of the quartet (composed 1951-52) and clarinet quintet (1968) by Robert Simpson, the clarinettist is Bernard Walton. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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