The Montreal String Quartette (fl ca 1925-8) was composed of Florence Hood and Mary Izard, violins, Robert H. Bryson, viola, and Yvette Lamontagne, cello, succeeded by Jean Belland in 1928. Works by Mendelssohn and Schumann were among those performed in 1926 in Windsor Hall.
The Montreal String Quartet (1934-40)/Le Quatuor à cordes de Montréal (1934-40) consisted of Lucien Sicotte and Annette Lasalle-Leduc, violins, Lucien Robert, viola, and Roland Leduc, cello. It gave its first concert 24 Nov 1934 in Tudor Hall and was greeted by the critic Henri Letondal as a 'young and enthusiastic ensemble [which] made a most favourable impression.' The quartet performed frequently on CBC radio, at the Ladies' Morning Musical Club, and as the guest of several other concert-giving societies. Sicotte was absent in 1937 and the quartet reduced its activity that year to a single concert, but it performed as usual in 1938, its programs including the premiere of a string-quartet version of Champagne's Danse villageoise. In April 1939, after a farewell concert, the quartet left for Europe for intensive training under André Tourret, subsidized by the Quebec government and the patron Jean-C. Lallemand. The quartet's stay in France was cut short by the declaration of war; after a hasty return to Canada the ensemble performed at the École supérieure de musique d'Outremont (École Vincent-d'Indy). Not long afterwards internal problems caused the group to disband.
The Montreal String Quartet (1955-63)/Le Quatuor à cordes de Montréal (1955-63) was composed of Hyman Bress and Mildred Goodman, violins, Otto Joachim, viola, and Walter Joachim, cello. Its first performance, 2 Mar 1955 at the Ermitage under the auspices of the CLComp, was devoted to works of Canadian composers: Vallerand, Papineau-Couture, Betts, Morel, Archer, Freedman, and Turner. Over the years the CBC IS and the CBC French and English networks often called upon the ensemble to perform or record Canadian works as well as the classical repertoire. It premiered Glenn Gould's Quartet (1956), Otto Joachim's Quartet (1957), and Clermont Pépin's Quartet No. 2 (1956) and Quartet No. 4 (1960). The ensemble frequently performed for the Pro Musica Society, the Ladies' Morning Musical Club, and the Montreal Festivals (1957, the Brahms Quintet with Glenn Gould, piano), and it also played in Toronto and other Canadian cities. In February 1958 it made its New York debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall; 'Characteristics of [the players'] interpretations were their good rhythmic sense and their obvious love for the music,' reported Musical America (Mar 1958). During the 1959-60 season the quartet presented two series of six concerts in the Ermitage sponsored by the Canada Council. For these concerts, in addition to works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy, Bloch, and Bartók, the quartet performed music by Pépin, Joachim, Papineau-Couture, and Weinzweig. When it disbanded during the 1962-3 season the quartet was considered one of the finest in Canada.
Author Isabelle Papineau-Couture, Nadia Turbide
Brahms Quintet, Opus 34. Gould piano. 1957. RCI 140/RCI 614/Music and Arts CD-285
Champagne String Quartet. 1956. RCI 143/4-ACM 30
Gould String Quartet. 1956. RCI 142
O. Joachim String Quartet - Haydn String Quartet, Opus 103. (1963). RCI 190/(Joachim) 6-ACM 14
K. Jones Suite for flute and strings - Tomkins Fantaisie - Ferrabosco Allemande. Duschenes fl, N. Clair oboe. (1963). RCI 191/(Jones) 5-ACM 24
Pentland String Quartet No. 1 - Vallerand String Quartet. (1958). RCI 141/(Pentland) 6-ACM 25/(Vallerand) 3-ACM 19
M. Perrault Sextet for strings, clarinet, and harp. Rafael Masella clarinet, Weldon harp. 1955. RCI 125
Also the Schumann Quintet, Opus 44. Recorded in 1953 by the members of the quartet and John Newmark (RCI 96). Another recording of the Quintet by R. Mathieu (RCI 123) was made in 1956 with Calvin Sieb violin, Charles Reiner piano.
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.