Paganini Quartet and the First Piano Quartet

In this blog post, we'll explore the Paganini and First Piano Quartets which were active ensembles during the 1940's. Both ensembles recorded for Victor and produced a number of recordings - in particular, the Rosoumovsky Quartets by Beethoven. The Gramophone Magazine wrote of these sets in their December 1947 edition…

"...This month's most elaborate release is Victor's three-album set of all three Beethoven Rosoumovsky Quartets (Op.59), played by the Paganini Quartet. A new organisation, it is so named because each of the members (Henri Temianka, Gustave Rosseels, Robert Lourte and Robert Mass) play Stradivari once owned by Paganini. Fortunately, the quartet belies the implications of its name by the solid attributes of musicianly playing, excellent co-ordination and enthusiasm for its work…" [Gramophone Magazine - Dec. 1947. p.95]


The Rosoumovsky Quartet recordings were featured on the following Victor sets - M-1151 (11-9733/7); DM-1151 (11-9738/42); M-1152 (11-9743/6); DM-1152 (11-9747/50); M-1153 (11-9751/4) and DM-1153 (11-9755/8).

The Guide to Recorded Music (1950 Edition) states of the performances for the 7th and 9th quartets…

Of the Quartet No.7 - "…RCA is to be congratulated both for its enterprise and its choice of personnel. The meticulous, finely detailed style of the quartet led by Henri Temianka has been of special service to the first of the series, where it matches, by finesse, what the Busch ensemble only strives for by force…" [p.53]

And of the Quartet No.9 - "…There is no want of discipline in the Paganini performance, and the recording is more kindly to its sound than Columbia has provided for the Budapests…" [p.54]


The Paganini Quartet was a virtuoso string quartet founded by its first violinist, Henri Temianka, in 1946. The quartet drew its name from the fact that all four of its instruments, made by Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737), had once been owned by the great Italian violinist and composer Niccolo Paganini (1782–1840).

The First Piano Quartet was a quartet of pianists first organized in the United States in 1941. Its founding members were Vladimir Padwa, Franz Mittler, Adam Garner, and Edward Edson. The quartet was originally conceived of as a radio group. It made its New York concert debut in 1949.

The quartet toured extensively with their four Steinway pianos during the late 1950s, and made recordings in the 1940s and 1950s. In the mid-1950s D'Attili was replaced by William Gunther (Sprecher) and the quartet renamed itself to the Original Piano Quartet.

Paganini Quartet - Victor Musical Masterpiece 78rpm Sets

  • M-1151 Beethoven: Quartet No.7 in F, Op.59, No.1 ("Rasumovsky No.1") Paganini Quartet 11-9733/7
  • DM-1151 Beethoven: Quartet No.7 in F, Op.59, No.1 ("Rasumovsky No.1") Paganini Quartet 11-9738/42
  • M-1152 Beethoven: Quartet No.8 in E minor, Op.59, No.2 ("Rasumovaky No.2") Paganini Quartet 11-9743/6
  • DM-1152 Beethoven: Quartet No.8 in E minor, Op.59, No.2 ("Rasumovaky No.2") Paganini Quartet 11-9747/50
  • M-1153 Beethoven: Quartet No.9 in C, Op.59, No.3 ("Rasumovsky No.3") Paganini Quartet 11-9751/4
  • DM-1153 Beethoven: Quartet No.9 in C, Op.59, No.3 ("Rasumovsky No.3") Paganini Quartet 11-9755/8
  • M-1213 Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op.10. Paganini Quartet 12-0259/62
  • V-DV-17 Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op.10. Paganini Quartet 12-0263/6 (vinyl 78rpm)
  • M-1213 Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op.10. Paganini Quartet (Record numbers unknown at this time…) (45 rpm, 1949)
  • M-1253 Beethoven: Quartet No.16 in F, Op.135. Paganini Quartet 12-0505/7
  • DM-1253 Beethoven: Quartet No.16 in F, Op.135. Paganini Quartet 12-0508/10
  • M-1308 Beethoven: Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18, No.4. Paganini Quartet 12-0935/7
  • DM-1308 Beethoven: Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18, No.4. Paganini Quartet 12-0938/40
  • WDM-1308 Beethoven: Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18, No.4. Paganini Quartet (Record numbers unknown at this time…) (45 rpm)
  • DM-1363 Beethoven: Quartet No.5 in A, Op.18, No.5. Paganini Quartet 12-1114/6
  • WDM-1363 Beethoven: Quartet No.5 in A, Op.18, No.5. Paganini Quartet 49-0962/4 (45 rpm)
  • DM-1419 Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-Flat, Op.44. Rubinstein (piano) & Paganini Quartet 12-1304/7
  • WDM-1419 Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-Flat, Op.44. Rubinstein (piano) & Paganini Quartet 49-1359/62
  • DM-1469 Verdi: Quartet in E minor. Paganini Quartet 12-3071/3
  • WDM-1493 Faure: Piano Quartet No.1 in C minor, Op.15. Rubinstein & Paganini Quartet members 49-3132/5 (Only available in 45rpm format - No 78rpm release)

First Piano Quartet - Victor Musical Masterpiece 78rpm Sets

  • MO-1227 Chopin Favorites. First Piano Quartet 12-0385/7
  • WMO-1227 Chopin Favorites. First Piano Quartet (Record numbers unknown at this time…) (45 rpm, 1949)
  • MO-1263 Encores. First Piano Quartet 12-0588/90
  • WMO-1263 Encores. First Piano Quartet 49-0177/0 (45 rpm, 1949)
  • MO-1310 Dances Not for Dancing. First Piano Quartet 12-0945/7
  • WMO-1310 Dances Not for Dancing. First Piano Quartet (Record numbers unknown at this time…) (45 rpm) 
  • DM-1477 Waltzes From the Classics. First Piano Quartet 12-3101/3
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