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date: 11 November 2019

Léner Quartetlocked

  • Robert Philip
  • , revised by Tully Potter

Extract

Hungarian string quartet. Its members all studied at the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music in Budapest. Jenö Léner, the leader, Joseph Smilovits, the second violinist, and Sandor Roth, the viola player, were pupils of Jenő Hubay; Imre Hartman, the cellist, was a pupil of David Popper. At the outbreak of revolution in 1918 the four musicians, by this time members of the Budapest Opera orchestra, retired to a remote Hungarian village to study chamber music. A year later they made their début in Budapest. In 1920 they appeared in Vienna before an international gathering of musicians, among them Ravel, who invited them to Paris the following year. Within a few years they had established themselves throughout Europe and, after their New York début in 1929, in the USA, as one of the world’s most distinguished ensembles. Their frequent recitals in London between 1922 and 1939 included complete performances of the Beethoven quartets, one of which formed part of the centenary celebrations in ...

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